Julian Fellowes’s Titanic embarks on an ambitious voyage

Shooting begins on a new period drama from the creator of Downton Abbey

Filming has begun on ITV miniseries Titanic.

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The period drama is a collaboration between a number of international broadcast partners, including ABC in the US and ITV in this country, and is penned by Gosford Park and Downton Abbey’s Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes.

In contrast to James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster movie, which centres around a single romance aboard the doomed ocean liner, Fellowes’s script takes a broader view of the tragedy.

His trademark ensemble cast – including Linus Roache, Celia Imrie, Toby Jones, Geraldine Somerville and Timothy West – trace the stories of a range of characters, both real and fictionalised, with the aim of evoking the “bravery, courage and sometimes bad behaviour” of those on board the ship.

And while Titanic will be character-driven, it promises not to shirk the action responsibilities that come with one of the most infamous disasters in history.

The production boasts a huge two-tiered set, the biggest water tank in mainland Europe and the obligatory CGI scenes – although whether they can hit the heights of Cameron’s Oscar-winning effects remains to be seen.

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Executive producer Simon Vaughan said: “The goal is to mount a global co-production that does not look or feel like one. The material itself straddles the world… but we are producing a miniseries with a clear creative voice: an authored piece from a wonderful creative team.”