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Vol 38  No 1
August 11, 2005


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British television crew draws on Memorial’s ice expertise

By Michelle Osmond

Dr. Claude Daley examining ice blocks as part of a documentary about the Titanic. (Photo submitted)

The legacy of the Titanic is once again drawing media attention to this province, this time from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Cluny South is the BBC producer of The Titanic Iceberg and recently spent nearly four weeks in the province with cameraperson Justin Maguire. The Titanic Iceberg traced back the origins of this famous iceberg, recreating its life from Greenland’s ice cap to its end, melting in the North Atlantic.

Dr. Claude Daley, professor and chair of Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering at Memorial, was interviewed by the BBC crew. They were interested in Dr. Daley’s description of what would have happened to the ice and to the hull when the Titanic struck the iceberg and to explain in general terms how icebergs get to the Grand Banks. They also had Dr. Daley recreate a high school science fair project his daughter did in Grade 11 that examined the changing shapes and instabilities of melting ice blocks (mimicking icebergs). The crew filmed a reconstruction of those tests, with a Plexiglas tank.

Ms. South said they came to Newfoundland because of its history with icebergs. “This is where the icebergs come after Greenland. We could have gone to Labrador, I guess, but we were also keen to interview Claude and the IIP (International Ice Patrol), and Newfoundland being the last bit of land that the Titanic iceberg may have sighted convinced us this was the place for the last stages of our journey.

“Unfortunately we came on a particularly bad year for icebergs,” added Ms. South. “But our interviews here have been excellent ­ so much so that we are even considering coming back to do some more. Claude is a great storyteller and his enormous enthusiasm for his subject matter makes for a great contribution to the program.”

Filming took place in the S.J. Carew Building in the Fluids Laboratory, the Thermo Laboratory and in the welding shop in that lab where they reconstructed ice block tests. The crew and Dr. Daley also boarded a tour boat in Bay Bulls for a shoot that started around 5 p.m. and did not wrap up until 1:30 a.m. Dr. Daley didn’t seem to mind the long schedule. “I was impressed by the whole process of making nature films; professional films in general,” he said. “They are trying to tell a story in a way that will make difficult topics accessible to the public, and fun to watch. It is very different from academic/technical communication, but it has a similar rigour. They are very concerned about the integrity and logic of the work.”

It’s expected the story will air on BBC2 on a show called Natural World and on Discovery Channel sometime this winter.

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