The Great Liners (Episode 35)


The Great Ships

With the use of more rare archive film never made public before, we once again step back in time to those wonderful days when every ship was designed by highly skilled people, who, instead of using computer technology, relied on their skills and pencil and paper to create some of the most beautiful ship designs in maritime history, and in this unique programme we feature three of those ships: White Star’s “Olympic”, French Line’s “Normandie” and Cunard’s magnificent QE2.

Not so very many years ago it was possible to tell the identity of a ship even when on a distant horizon, because they all had their own distinctive shape, design and personality, but not so today, for modern built ships all seem to look so similar.

Years ago ship designs were created by people armed only with a pencil, paper and sliderule, all of which has now been replaced by computer technology, hence designs looking as though they have all been created in the same school of computer designing.

There’s no denying that many modern ships are absolute marvels of design and technology, but they will never compare with those hand drawn designs of yesteryear and the sheer excitement those designs created as companies competed to build ships that would capture the hearts, minds and imaginations of the whole world.

This programme will, with the help of very rare archive film, bring to you three of those all time great ocean liners, ships that really did capture the eyes, ears and minds of just about everyone on the planet.

Those three ships are: White Star Line’s majestic “Olympic”, with rare film allowing us to do a complete crossing of the Atlantic aboard her during the early part of the last century.

I know so many of you would have nominated the “Titanic” as being one of the great three, but as you know, there wasn’t any film shot aboard her and the only onboard images we have ever seen have been ones recreated by Hollywood and other film studios; but the “Olympic” was her twin sister and so, with this amazing, authentic film we are able to show you for the very first time, exactly what it would have been like to have sailed aboard the Titanic. It is nothing short of being amazing!

Our second ship is French Line’s magnificent “Normandie”, which back in the 1930s was without equal in revolutionary elegance, and design. She made every other ocean liner in the world look dated as her magnificence powered across the Atlantic, taking the whole world by storm.

It was perhaps the wish of everyone to one day be able to sail aboard this maritime wonder, whose design and interior beauty would, despite her premature death, live forever. We are therefore only too thrilled to be able in this programme to take you on a complete crossing of the Atlantic so you can also experience just what it would have been like to have sailed aboard one of the most famous and beautifully designed ships of all time… and all in colour!

Our final ship is the “QE2”, a ship that with her perfect design became the most famous ocean liner in the world. For my money it is doubtful if anyone will ever create such a perfect maritime masterpiece ever again, for she was as close to perfection as any ship design has ever been.

When she was launched in 1968, the whole world watched as she gracefully slipped from her John Brown’s Yard, down into the waters of the Clyde, where she would start a career in which thousands of lucky people sailed aboard her, and millions more came to see, admire and enjoy her wonder, as her fame ruled the maritime world.

With more rare archive film we follow the whole of her career from her launch right through to her final years, and then to that cold October evening in 2008 when, to a magnificent VIP send-off, she sailed from Southampton for the very last time.

This is a very moving, emotional programme, but one you will thoroughly enjoy and an absolute must to add to your collection.

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