Into the deep
CONTINUE the afloat theme this weekend on ABC1 on Sunday night. At 7.30pm, Penguinsof theAntarctic is a beautifully filmed BBC doco focusing on these cute dinner-suited denizens of one of the world’s fastest-growing cruise destinations. The black-and-white birds can do cold, ice and wind (and even the prospect of inflatable Zodiacs filled with padded parka-clad tourists) with alacrity but how are they coping with global warming and ice-melt?
According to the producers, king penguins and chinstraps (named for the dark line of feathers that runs under their chin; it looks as if they have sleek little hats tied in place) are actually benefiting from warmer temperatures. But the emperors are adapting less successfully to the thaw that could threaten their colonies.
At 8.30pm, that sinking feeling continues. Lusitania:Murderonthe Atlantic recreates the torpedoing of the Cunard flagship liner by a German U-boat off the Irish coast on May 17, 1915. Theories abound as to why the British admiralty, which knew of enemy U-boat activity in the region, didn’t provide an escort for the doomed passenger liner. What appears likely is that the Lusitania was carrying
Ice cool: From PenguinsoftheAntarctic explosives and, with its high proportion of American civilians on board, was deliberately sacrificed to bring the US into World War I.
The dramatisation of the sinking (which took less than 20 minutes) is brilliantly accomplished and the small-scale human element comes courtesy of narrator John Hannah’s character, professor Ian Holbourn, a passenger who befriends 12-year-old Avis Dolphin. That the two were among the 761 survivors and formed a lifelong friendship is known fact, but otherwise be prepared for oceans of creative licence, hypotheses galore and a touch of the melodrama of James Cameron’s Titanic . Susan Kurosawa