Fellowes introduces new Titanic drama

Published Friday, 02 March 2012
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A new four-part drama about the Titanic, penned by Julian Fellowes, the man behind Downton Abbey, is due to start on UTV at the end of the month.

The series follows the lives of those on board the doomed ship, from first class passengers to officers and those working in the engine rooms, with a mix of real and fictional characters.

Julian Fellowes said he had hoped to film the show in Belfast however delays in funding meant it had to be based in Hungary.

But cast member Linus Roache, who plays fictional first class character the Earl of Manton, was able to draw on previous experience while filming the drama.

"There's something haunting about this story," he told UTV.

It's one of the big draws of the story - how would you have coped? What would you have done? Would you have been a coward or a hero?

Linus Roache

"I do remember we were filming Blind Flight we were shooting in the Drawing Rooms and it felt creepy.

"There was a sense of something ominous around and you don't know if you're projecting it onto the place or if it was just there. It was such a tragedy," he said of filming in Belfast in the past.

Actor Steve Waddington had big boots to fill, as he portrayed real life Titanic crewmember Charles Lightoller, who he describes as "a real survivor".

"He was decorated in World War One and Two. He survived a bout of malaria that nearly killed him, and he survived the sinking of the Titanic."

Steve said the role was also physically demanding and described the real sinking as a "huge tragedy on a huge scale".

"I had to swim a lot and swimming's fine but when you're wearing a full-on costume and having to do it again and again. But it's not a big deal really. Nothing compared to... it wasn't cold water, we were acting," he added.

Julian Fellowes said the drama is a "portrait of the ship and who was on it that night" which is full of "twisted-up stories" of those caught up in the sinking.

"I think you do get a sense of what it was like to be aboard," he added.

And while Julian's previous writing efforts have earned him an Oscar and 14 nominations for various different projects, he said he is ready to face criticism over the Titanic series.

"We had one guy when we were researching who said it was ridiculous, it was hopeless.

"I asked why and he said when we saw the ship sailing, they had lights on in some of the cabins that weren't occupied!"

© UTV News
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1 Comments
Seán in Ireland wrote (777 days ago):
Since when did UTV restrict content from people in the Republic?!
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