Julian Fellowes, creator of the hit British series “Downton Abbey,” provides a fresh look at the great Titanic disaster with a special focus on the ship’s rigid class system, from the upper decks to the depth of steerage.
The four-part mini-series will portray the ship “in a way that other versions haven’t been,” Fellowes told London’s Daily Mail newspaper. Fascination with the disaster has only intensified since the wreck was found on the sea floor in 1985.
Director James Cameron used the ship as a backdrop for a love story between an upper class passenger and a brash young immigrant. “We, right from the start, set out to tell the story of the whole ship,” Fellowes said.
In sort of an “Upstairs, Downstairs” on the high seas, the series will examine what life was like for the upper crust passengers, second and third class passengers and the ship’s officers and crew.
Judging from newly released promo clips, there will be lots of staring down noses as the well-to-do rub shoulders with the downtrodden seeking a better life in America.
The ship was declared unsinkable when it was built, one of two colossal passenger vessels. On its maiden voyage to New York in 1912, its captain tried to set a trans-Atlantic speed record.
The ship sailed into a North Atlantic ice field and struck an iceberg shortly before midnight on Apr. 14. There were 1320 passengers and 907 crew on board, and only 705 survived.
The ship did not have enough lifeboats for all aboard and in the ensuing panic many sailed off half empty. The rigid class system kept hundreds of passengers locked below deck until it was too late.
The mini-series will premiere on the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking on Apr. 15, 1912. The first episode will premiere Sat., Apr. 14 at 8:00 p.m. EST on ABC. The first three parts will air followed by the conclusion on Sundy Apr. 15.
Check out the promo spots below: