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Titanic: Minute by Minute – BBC Radio 2
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The team at TBI are delighted with the fantastic reaction to our live programme which went out on Saturday night on BBC Radio 2.  It started at 11.35pm just before the iceberg hits and ended at 2.20am when the ship disappears.

The programme is presented by Jeremy Vine, Dermot O’Leary and Penny Smith, who together with experts take us through minute by minute what’s happening to the passengers and crew, the structure of the ship and the musicians who made up the ship’s band.  We have actors reading the accounts of over 30 eye-witnesses – from First Class aristocracy to steerage passengers.  By sticking to the facts the programme gives you a better idea of what really happened than any drama…

Music is at the heart of the programme. We have our own Titanic orchestra recreating the music that was played on the ship – a mixture of classical pieces, ragtime (the rock ‘n roll of the age) and stirring anthems.  We have special musical performances from Billy Bragg (who has written a song especially for us) Paul Carrack, Hue and Cry, Hal Fowler, Jacqui Dankworth, Charlie Wood and BBC2 Folk Awards winner Bella Hardy.

As the Titanic sank it was to a surreal soundtrack. The ship’s band played foxtrots, show songs and extracts from operas such as Madam Butterfly and Aida.   It seems strange now and must have seemed strange then, that as the boats were lowered Alexander’s Ragtime Band echoed around the decks and over the water. This was surely one of the most poignant performances in history.

They performed as the water rose around them, some still smoking.  One eye-witness wrote ‘Only the engulfing ocean had the power to drown them into silence.’

Photo: Jonathan Smith Collection