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Ridley Scott's 'The Terror', about ill-fated Franklin Expedition from Kent to Canada, starring Jared Harris plays on BBC iPlayer and BBC2


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A horror-thriller about an Arctic expedition which set off from Kent but ended in tragedy has aired on BBC2.

Ridley Scott's 'The Terror' delves into the doomed journeys of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror which set sail from Greenhithe in 1845 on a mission to discover the allusive Northwest passage.

The HMS Terror and HMS Erebus. Picture: BBC Pictures
The HMS Terror and HMS Erebus. Picture: BBC Pictures

The show features BAFTA winner and Golden Globe nominee Jared Harris, who plays the role of polar explorer Francis Crozier.

It follows the story of Sir John Franklin, a decorated Arctic explorer and Royal Navy officer, portrayed by Ciarán Hinds, who led a team of 133 men on what was meant to be a straight forward endeavour.

The mission was simple: find the passage and establish a key trading route between Europe and Asia, which in today's terms would have been worth billions of pounds.

The iron-clad vessels were kitted out with state-of-the-art tools after being overhauled at Chatham Dockyard and had enough provisions to last three years.

Crossing the northern Atlantic had gone well – but disaster lay ahead when they entered the Victoria Strait when the ships are thought to have become trapped in the ice.

BAFTA winner Jared Harris plays Arctic explorer Francis Crozier. Picture: Aidan Monaghan / BBC Pictures
BAFTA winner Jared Harris plays Arctic explorer Francis Crozier. Picture: Aidan Monaghan / BBC Pictures

In 1854, remains of the sailors' bones – including knife marks – were found, sparking rumours they had resorted to cannibalism in their final days.

Amongst the doomed-crew was sailor John Hartnell, from Medway, played by Jack Hirst in the series.

His body was exhumed in near-perfect condition in 1986 as part of an expedition to delve into the mystery of the tragedy by anthropologist Owen Beattie.

Experts have been left baffled by many questions surrounding the disaster: how did the two ships sink? Why were they so far apart from each other when they went down?

There isn't a definitive answer as to why the HMS Terror sank – no evidence was found to suggest it was crushed by ice and upon first inspection the hull was still intact.

All episodes of the ten-part series are available on BBC iPlayer with each episode being shown on BBC2 on Wednesdays at 9pm.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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