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History's Greatest Mysteries: Episodes

Episode 1: Titanic’s Lost Evidence – Tuesday 5 January 9pm

When RMS Titanic sank in April 1912, the catastrophic demise of the most awe-inspiring, man-made object in history and the deaths of so many passengers and crew was the single most devastating event of its time.

Well-known and highly respected British jurist and politician - John Charles Bigham, 1st Viscount Mersey - was charged with investigating the disaster. Many feared his close ties to those in officialdom would slant the inquiry. Proven negligence might pave the way for millions of dollars in damage claims and lawsuits, the collapse of the White Star Line and the loss of much of Britain’s lucrative shipping traffic.

When the final report was published on July 30th, 1912, it was a whitewash, failing to condemn the hubris of the British Board of Trade, the recklessness of White Star Line (and Joseph Bruce Ismay) or the failings of Titanic’s captain, Edward Smith.

Since the accident, historians have sought to unseal Lord Mersey’s personal papers. They believe that his sealed opinions and judgments were part of a conspiracy to hide the truth about what really happened. Now, for the first time, Lord Mersey’s papers and private reflections on the tragedy of RMS Titanic, can finally be revealed and with them, the truth about the sinking of RMS Titanic.

Episode 2: Endurance, The Hunt For Shackleton’s Ice Ship – Tuesday 12 January 9pm

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to Antarctica is one of the greatest stories of leadership and survival in history. After his ship gets trapped in pack ice, Shackleton leads 27 men in an epic rescue mission. His battle against the odds and unfailing commitment to bring all his men out alive turns Shackleton into an historic figure, whose legend still inspires today.

Now, Sky HISTORY follows a new ground-breaking expedition heading back into the frozen seas to hunt down the last piece of the story – Shackleton’s lost ship.

Over a century on, it’s a mission fraught with many of the same dangers Shackleton faced. The site is so remote and the freezing conditions so brutal that no mission before has even tried to hunt for the wreck. Now, a new team finally have the technology and the tools to challenge Mother Nature. Armed with a 14,000-tonne icebreaker and millions of dollars of technology, they plan to send cutting-edge underwater robots 10,000ft below the ice.

Can the team of explorers and experts now break through the ice, reach the wreck site and be the first ever to locate and survey the wreck of Endurance?

Episode 3: Escape of John Wilkes Booth – Tuesday 19 January 9pm

He was the actor whose most famous role was assassinating one of America’s greatest presidents. But was John Wilkes Booth also one of the world’s greatest escape artists?

Rather than being cornered and killed after a desperate shoot-out in a barn in northern Virginia, did Booth in fact evade justice and live for decades undetected following his murder of Abraham Lincoln? For the first time, Booth family members share family lore, and what they believe is evidence of the assassin's escape, passed down through generations. Their theories and others' will be put to the test, including, for the first time, Booth family DNA analysis from the autopsy table.

Episode 4: The Final Hunt For D.B. Cooper – Tuesday 26 January 9pm

D. B. Cooper is the pseudonym of an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in United States airspace between Portland and Seattle on the afternoon of 24th November 1971 and extorted $200,000 in ransom money (equivalent to approximately $1,260,000 today) and parachuted to an uncertain fate, never to be seen again. It remains the only unsolved case of air piracy in commercial aviation history.

The Final Hunt for D.B. Cooper follows D.B. Cooper expert Eric Ulis, who has spent over 7,500 hours investigating the mystery including analysing evidence, interviewing witnesses, evaluating new DNA, reading over 20,000 pages of FBI case files, in his exhaustive attempt to prove what really happened to the infamous D.B. Cooper as well as revealing his true identity.