Julian Fellowes, who of course created hit ITV drama Downton Abbey, has claimed that unlike director James Cameron’s blockbuster movie about the sinking of the Titanic, his TV version “tells the whole story” of the doomed liner.
He said that Cameron’s movie had focused on the love story between the characters played by Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, whereas the ITV adaptation would feature the stories of a number of characters.
Speaking at the press launch of the new drama, he said, “This is a portrait of a ship in a way that other versions haven’t been.
“Right from the start we set out to tell the story of the whole ship. It’s a great tragedy, obviously, but I was thrilled by the idea of having a chance to shape another version of it.”
The four part series – imaginatively entitled, Titanic – will air later this month, timed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragedy which saw 1,500 people lose their lives after the ship struck and iceberg and slowly sank…
Dubbed “Downton at sea” Fellowes remarked that there are similarities in the format of both Titanic and Downton, not least the marked differences in how the upper and lower class passengers were treated on the night the ship sank.
Fellowes said, “Yes, it has a multi-story arc. It is a structure I like, it suits me. I like the pace and all the stories happening at once.”
And of why he decided to re-write the epic tale, he said, “There are certain disasters that seem to latch on to our psyche.
“The Titanic is the perfect disaster — it has everything in a compact form.
“There are rich aristocrats, movie stars, bankers… In steerage, there are all of these desperate people heading for new lives.
“They took their whole families and they were wiped out.
“It is all tragic. You almost can’t bear to think about it. They weren’t tragic people, they were people who got caught up in a tragedy. I find that very moving.”
The Sun adds, “The drama follows the stories of characters from steerage and second and first class, as well as servants and officers. Each episode features a different set of characters — and ends with the ship hitting the iceberg.”
And in a nail-biting twist, we only find out who lives or dies in the final episode.
The drama boasts an all star cast including Sophie Winkleman, Linus Roache and Celia Imrie as well as Maria Doyle Kennedy, who Downton fans will recall played Vera Bates.
The drama has already been sold to 86 countries.