Julian Fellowes lambasts James Cameron’s “unfair” Titanic

Downton creator says his Titanic TV series will "set the record straight" about ship's first officer

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Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has hit out at James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, accusing the movie of containing factual inaccuracies.

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Speaking to Radio Times, Fellowes said that his TV dramatisation of the Titanic disaster will “set the record straight”.

The 62-year-old reserved particular condemnation for Cameron’s depiction of the ship’s first officer, William Murdoch, who was painted in the film as a coward.

Fellowes said: “That was very unfair how Murdoch was depicted. He wasn’t cowardly. He fired the pistol to just stop a potential riot. It was suddenly getting out of hand, and he fired it in the air. That’s not being cowardly.”

Murdoch, who was seen in the 1997 film shooting passengers before taking his own life, was credited with saving the lives of 75 passengers and unfairly “villainised”, according to Fellowes.

“I don’t think you can just say, ‘Well, we’ll make this guy a villain – he’ll do,'” he said.

“I think with real people you have a kind of imperative to be true to who they were. I don’t think you can take someone who was moral and decent and make them do something immoral and indecent. I would feel uncomfortable doing that. So we do have Murdoch, and we have him firing a pistol, [but] there is a little bit of setting the record straight.”

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Read the full interview with Fellowes in this week’s Radio Times.