A new documentary made by STV Productions will mark the 80th anniversary of the legendary ocean liner the RMS Queen Mary’s maiden voyage, in a co-production for BBC Scotland, BBC Four and Smithsonian Channel.
With exclusive access to the magnificent ocean liner and an extensive archive of film and photographs, the documentary will explore the action-packed life of the Clyde-built ship that was an art-deco playground for America’s Hollywood elite, a troop carrier that brought an Army to Europe, and used by Churchill frequently during the Second World War as he travelled to meet with Allied forces. Viewers will learn that the liner played such a key role during the Second World War that Adolf Hitler offered a bonus of £250,000 and the Iron Cross to any U-boat captain who could sink the Queen Mary.
Built in Clydebank, the liner was an engineering marvel which, during her wartime service safely transported more than 800,000 Allied personnel to Europe, followed by thousands of war brides and families. Viewers will hear from some of the Queen Mary’s very first passengers, troops who travelled on the ship, and past crew members who tell about the glories of this wonder of the seas.
The documentary will also explore the ship’s darkest day when, on 2 October 1942, she accidentally collided with the HMS Curacoa, her escort vessel, slicing her in two. Ordered not to stop under any circumstances, the captain of the Queen Mary had no choice but to steam on leaving 338 men to drown.
After the war, the liner continued in service up until 1967 and is now a floating luxury hotel and museum docked in a custom made lagoon in Long Beach, California.
Michael McAvoy, Head of Documentaries at STV Productions, said: “The Queen Mary is not only an engineering marvel and one of the most beautiful liners to ever have been launched on the River Clyde, it’s also a ship that changed history and the lives of tens of thousands of people who sailed aboard her. We are very excited to be producing a documentary that will tell the amazing story of this legendary liner.”
“The Queen Mary takes us on a journey from the frontiers of technology to the glamour of Hollywood and onto the horrors of war.” said David Royle, Executive Vice President of Programming and Production, Smithsonian Channel. ”She has always captured the imagination, from being known as ‘The Grey Ghost’ in wartime, to her record breaking and glamorous Atlantic crossings. Her story will amaze our audience.”
Ewan Angus, Commissioning Editor, TV, BBC Scotland, said: “The Queen Mary is an icon of Clyde shipbuilding and I’m sure our audiences will enjoy this fascinating journey through its remarkable story.”
John Jenkins, General Manager of The Queen Mary, said: “The Queen Mary soon celebrates 80 years in the public spotlight and is as relevant today as on her maiden voyage; over 1.5 million visit each year and all are touched by the majesty of this iconic vessel. We can think of no more fitting documentary partners to share her story than BBC and Smithsonian Channel. That Glasgow based STV Productions will be at the production helm is appropriate for this newest tribute to Scotland’s most famous ship.”
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