Is Julian Fellowes’ ‘Titanic’ a ‘Downton Abbey’ at sea?

You’ve just written one of the most successful drama series in the history of ITV in the critically-acclaimed, award-winning, Downton Abbey. You’ve had a second season commissioned almost instantly with shooting completed and a Fall 2011 target date sent for UK transmission (January 8, 2012 premiere set in the U.S. on PBS stations nationwide in America). How do you top this?

If you’re Julian Fellowes, you immediately start to work on Titanic . The Oscar-winning screenwriter will tell the story of the doomed voyage, as only he can, incorporating his usual large stable of actors and actresses including the great Timothy West (Mr. Prunella Scales), Celia Imrie, Linus Roache and Geraldine Somerville (Harry Potter).

With filming already underway in Budapest, the four-part series will premiere in April 2012 which will mark the 100th anniversary of the maiden voyage sinking of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic. Thankfully, for my money, Fellowes’ concept will be decidedly different that the James Cameron 1996 epic, which is also being re-released in 3-D to coincide with the anniversary, in that Fellowes will come at it from a much more humanized approach as to life on board the ship including passengers and crew as opposed to centering on two central characters. Fellowes promises multiple, multi-class, story lines which will allow viewers to get to know the untold stories that unfolded during the voyage.

Actually, come to think of it, it’s Downton Abbey at sea. Can’t wait.

In: Action/Drama