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The tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic shocked the world. The ship itself and the tales of those involved in it's passing have enthralled and chilled generations since.

In this series of five programmes Jeanette Winterson will lead us through from the fixing of the first rivet, the spectacular launch, arrival in Queenstown and on to the vessels eventual grave.

This is much more than a diary of events however. This is a powerful narrative by one of today's leading writers. It will follow the mood of the time, explore the myths and controversies, delve into the romanticism of the tragedy and consider the resulting epic quest for the submerged hulk. The Titanic is a snapshot of a generation, driven by a quest for profit and a desire to open up the world - a world dominated by class division.

We will hear first hand audio archive accounts from survivors, an exploration of the intrigue which surrounds her design, manufacture and demise and consideration of the wonder and mystery of the symbolic artefacts which have been raised from the deep.

In the first part of the series we hear of the arrival of passengers, her launch and the factors which led to her being such an enormous ship.

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4.

. The arrival of passengers, her launch and the reason for the Titanic's enormous size.