Laconia coming to BBC Two


On 12 September 1942, the armed British vessel RMS Laconia was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat 156.

Six hundred miles from the coast of Africa, a mixture of English civilians, Allied soldiers and Italian prisoners of war faced certain death until U-Boat commander Werner Hartenstein, played by Ken Duken (Inglorious Basterds) made a decision that went beyond all protocol. The U-boat surfaced and Hartenstein instructed his men to save as many of the shipwrecked survivors as they could.

Over the next few days the U-156 saved 400 people. With 200 crammed on board the surfaced submarine and another 200 in lifeboats, Hartenstein gave orders for messages to be sent to the Allies to organise a rescue of the survivors but, in an unbelievable twist, they were spotted by an American B-24 bomber which moved in to attack.

This powerful two-part drama for BBC Two tells the true story of the amazing heroism shown by ordinary people in the face of extraordinary adversity during the Second World War and the human side of the remarkable events that took place. Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy) plays Captain Sharp of the Laconia and Andrew Buchan (Party Animals) plays 3rd officer Thomas Mortimer, who heroically risked his life to help the passengers reach the lifeboats.

Franka Potente (Bourne Supremacy) and Lindsay Duncan (Longford, Rome) also star in this work by acclaimed writer Alan Bleasdale (Boys From The Blackstuff, GBH, Jake’s Progress).


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