TITANIC: BLOOD AND STEEL

By Ciaran DONNELLY

TANDEM COMMUNICATIONS GMBH - as PROD

Drama - Completed 2012

This is the story of the men and women who built, ran and owned The Titanic... their loves, their lives and their losses.

    • Year of production
    • 2012
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • ITALY
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Budget
    • 25 - 50 M$
    • Director(s)
    • Ciaran DONNELLY
    • Writer(s)
    • Mark SKEET, Matthew FAULK, Alan WHITING
    • Producer(s)
    • Paul MYLER, Andrea ZOSO, Justin THORNSON-GLOVER
    • Synopsis
    • She is without question the world’s most famous ship. Everybody around the world knows her name and the tale of her tragic voyage.
      They called her unsinkable. They were wrong. But who was to blame: the captain and his crew, the forces of nature… or those who built the ship? It was the most ambitious project of its age. Did commercial concerns override safety? Were corners cut to save money?”
      Titanic – Blood and Steel focuses on an aspect of this epic story that has never been explored before on screen - the story of the birth of the ship; the planning and the construction of the doomed luxury liner.
      It is also a passionate love story set against the backdrop of this turbulent age, facing love, loss, triumph and disaster.
      Our central character is MARK MUIR. Mark is a brilliant and ambitious English metallurgist, who has come to the HARLAND & WOLFF dockyards in Belfast. He wants to work on Titanic, the biggest, most ambitious project of its age, and comes with the personal recommendation of the ship’s owner - legendary American financier, J.P. MORGAN. He is hired immediately by the idealistic and visionary LORD PIRRIE, chairman of the shipyard.
      At the yard, Mark meets SOFIA SILVESTRI, an intelligent and beautiful young woman from an Italian immigrant family, who live among the poor working class of Belfast. Sparks fly immediately but their relationship appears doomed from the start. They come from opposite sides of the tracks - Mark an educated English Protestant, and Sofia a poor working class Catholic.
      However the enigmatic and volatile Mark is not all he seems. Although claiming to be an Englishman from the mainland, he seems to know Belfast better than he should and is clearly looking for someone. Mark is living a lie. He is not in fact English, but a Belfast Catholic, working-class boy who has escaped his roots and reinvented himself: he changed his name, his religion and went to university as an upper-class Englishman, graduating with honors. The man he seeks is his father - SEAN - now an old drunk.
      At first, Mark mixes mainly with the Protestant ruling class - friends of Pirrie, the aristocratic CARLTONS and the newly rich STOKES. If revealed as a Catholic he would lose his job in Protestant dominated Belfast. He even forms a brief and superficial sexual liaison with KITTY CARLTON, an outrageous rich-kid and witty flirt.
      But Mark’s true feelings for Sofia cannot be suppressed for
      long, and despite the difficulties involved, they soon embark on a clandestine and passionate love affair.
      Their budding relationship is filled with challenges. Firstly, Sofia is being courted by a young Italian, ANDREA, who works with her father, PIETRO. Secondly, she is a Catholic and Mark is claiming to be a Protestant – a relationship that would be taboo in bigoted Belfast. Furthermore, Sofia is closely associated with the MCCANN family - Catholic working class activists heavily involved in the rising Labor Movement.
      Mark and Sofia are the Romeo and Juliet of the yard and the twists and turns of their relationship are tortuous and passionate. Their affair becomes even more complicated when Mark discovers a deeper and darker secret about his past that will further threaten his future.
      When Mark left Belfast to study in England, he left behind a sweetheart - SIOBHAN. He didn’t know Siobhan was pregnant when he left. This fact was deliberately hidden from Mark by his father, who didn’t want Mark to interrupt his studies and the
      chance of a better life. Mark is furious with his father and they become estranged.
      Mark learns that Siobhan was sent to a ‘Magdalen Laundry’ - an infamous convent for ‘fallen women’ run by sadistic nuns. There, she died in childbirth. But after a visit to the convent, Mark discovers that the child, a girl, still lives. Secretly, he tries to track his daughter down, while keeping this hidden from Sofia.
      These complications in his personal and romantic life
      are matched by the difficulties Mark faces with his work. Mark’s immediate boss is THOMAS ANDREWS, Pirrie’s nephew and chief designer. Andrews is immediately suspicious of Mark, instinctively knowing that Mark is not all he seems.
      Further, Mark is constantly questioning the integrity
      of the ship, worried about the materials used and the
      strength of the metal. He realizes that commercial
      concerns are overriding safety. He fears that the ambition of the project is outpacing the available technology.
      At first he thinks Andrews is on the side of the “management” - especially White Star’s chairman, the egregious J BRUCE ISMAY, a showman and salesman who wants the ship to look impressive, but is prepared to cut corners to save money. But Mark comes to realize that Andrews is an honest man just trying to hold everything together in the ruthless world of commercial pressure and business
      deadlines.
      The tensions at work put further stress on Mark’s
      relationship with Sofia who has learned some of his secrets -
      including the fact he has a daughter. Moreover, Mark’s preoccupations with work limit the time and attention he can give to Sofia and she becomes frustrated with the inconsistency of their relationship.
      Sofia’s dream is to escape Belfast with Mark and start a new life
      somewhere free from prejudice and division. Mark is torn. On the one hand, he wants to go with her. On the other, he is still searching for his daughter. As well, he feels a passionate responsibility for the ship, especially as he fears corners are being cut and the passengers’ lives being put in danger.
      The tension between Mark and Sofia stretches to the breaking point. Bold and ambitious, Sofia applies for a scholarship to study in London. But her plans are thwarted when her father injures himself and she has to stay in Belfast to provide for the family.
      Meanwhile, further problems stalk the shipyard, Belfast and Mark. Mark’s backstory is exposed by jealous rivals, and only the personal intervention of J.P. Morgan saves his job. But Mark is still forced to live under a cloud of prejudice and ostracism.
      More seriously for the city, the Union and Labor movement
      are growing ever more active. Simultaneously, increasingly violent divisions between Protestants and Catholics are polarizing the population. Moderates like Lord Pirrie are caught between the warring factions and classes. He senses a city falling apart and he departs for London - a defeated and broken man.
      It now falls on Mark’s and Andrews’s heads to keep the project rolling. Despite ongoing concerns with the construction and the safety precautions, such as the number of lifeboats, and the quality of the ship’s steel, but they feel honor bound to serve Titanic as best they can.
      In an unexpected turn of events, Sofia’s dream of escaping Belfast
      materializes. Thanks to the intervention of the independent minded American divorcee, JOANNA YAEGER, a journalist who is working for J.P. Morgan as his principal P.R. agent, Sofia gets a job in New York.
      By now, Sofia realizes that the hold Titanic has over Mark
      is like a vice. Tragically, they realize their love cannot outweigh the circumstances surrounding them. Mark cannot leave Belfast -
      but Sofia has to. Sadly, she books a passage to America on
      Titanic to begin a new life alone.
      But Sofia is not the only character who will board the doomed ship. Thomas Andrews, Kitty Carlton and several other characters we’ve met will be joining her. Unbeknownst to Mark - his own long, lost
      daughter will also be aboard.
      Just when it seems Sofia will sail away from Mark forever, he is given a place on board the liner as head of the “Guarantor Squad” - the elite group of technicians responsible for the ship while on the voyage.
      The series ends with Titanic sailing to its icy doom, with Mark and Sofia reunited for the fateful voyage - unaware of the drama that lies ahead.
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