BBC sets sail for Titanic struggle against Julian Fellowes


Downton Abbey’s ratings victory over Upstairs Downstairs has, clearly, not put the BBC off commissioning similar costume dramas to compete with Julian Fellowes’s creations for ITV.

Lord Fellowes, who wrote Downton, has created a series about the Titanic which will be screened on ITV next year. Now, the BBC has ordered its own drama about the doomed liner for 2012.

“It’s a 12-part drama called Titanic: Blood and Steel,” says Ophelia Lovibond, who has been cast in the series.

The 25-year-old actress insists that the BBC’s series will cover different ground from Fellowes’s ITV drama, which, he told me last year, would tell the tales “of the people on board, from the perspective of the different classes and the crew”.

Speaking at the private view of The Beatles: Revolutionary 1965exhibition at Proud Camden gallery in London, she says: “Obviously, they are coming out at a similar time, because next year is the centenary of the Titanic’s voyage, but they are quite different.