Sunday Life

| 13.6°C Belfast

Comic Alan Carr thankful ancestors were refused entry on Titanic  





Comic Alan Carr has revealed his ancestors had a lucky escape when they were refused entry on the Titanic.

The telly presenter said that if they had not missed the Belfast-built boat, he wouldn’t be here today.

He said he made the discovery when he filmed with Amanda Holden on ITV series DNA Journey.

Their episode aired three months ago — but amazingly the Titanic story was left on the cutting room floor.

Alan (45) said: “A story that they didn’t keep in which I found really fascinating — proper goosebumps — was my family left Erith, one of them did, to go to Canada and invited the others over.

“They had 12 kids and they told them, ‘Come over, have a brand new life here in Canada.’

“So in 1912 they booked themselves on a boat, and because there were so many children they weren’t allowed on — and that boat was the Titanic.”

Revealing the story on his podcast, Alan said he shrieked when he was told the news and added that he went “cold”.

More than 1,500 people died when the ill-fated ship hit an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage.

Built in Belfast, the city celebrates the craftsmanship that created the famous liner as well as commemorating the tragedy.

But the wreckage of the boat itself is slowly disappearing because of metal-eating bacteria that consumes hundreds of pounds of iron a day — the crow’s nest is already gone and the railing of the ship’s iconic bow could collapse at any time.

An undersea exploration company’s expedition to the site of the wreckage could start this week, beginning what’s expected to be an annual chronicling of the ship’s deterioration.

With the help of wealthy tourists, experts hope to learn more about the vessel as well as the underwater ecosystem that shipwrecks spawn.

Stockton Rush, president of OceanGate Expeditions, is currently on a ship headed to the North Atlantic wreck site.

He said: “The ocean is taking this thing, and we need to document it before it all disappears or becomes unrecognisable.”

Since the ship’s 1985 discovery, the 100-foot forward mast has collapsed. The crow’s nest from which a lookout shouted, "Iceberg, right ahead!" disappeared. And the poop deck, where passengers crowded as the ship sank, folded under itself.

The gymnasium near the grand staircase has fallen in. And a 2019 expedition discovered that the captain’s haunting bathtub, which became visible after the outer wall of the captain’s cabin fell away, is gone.

Mr Rush added: "At some point you would expect the railing on the bow, which is very iconic, to have collapsed."

Another focus will be the debris field and its artefacts. David Concannon, an OceanGate adviser, said he once followed a trail "of light debris and small personal effects like shoes and luggage" for two kilometres.

Top Videos