Fellowes' Titanic film fantasy
Julian Fellowes said he has a "fantasy" that his new show about the sinking of the Titanic would lead to the discovery of a bit of long-lost cinema history.
Peep Show star Sophie Winkleman plays American actress Dorothy Gibson in the forthcoming ITV1 series. Gibson is one of several real-life passengers on board the doomed ship who have been re-imagined by Fellowes for the show.
He said: "She came off the Titanic and immediately made a film called Rescued From The Titanic and she wore the dress she wore in the lifeboat.
"She was a real goer and in fact the great tragedy is that film is lost, the last copies went in a warehouse fire in the 1940s and I have this fantasy that someone is ... somebody in Montana is going through an attic and will see a box labelled film and find it again because she must have tried to replicate some of the events and the kind of atmosphere that she witnessed so it's a real loss to the Titanic-anoraks, of which I'm certainly one."
Downton Abbey creator Fellowes also admitted there was "a slight temptation" to put some of the characters from his country house drama on board his new show.
The very first episode of the hit ITV1 show began with the news that the doomed ship had sunk with the heir to Downton, James Crawley, and his son Patrick among the dead.
Speaking at a press conference to launch the show, Fellowes said he used the Titanic in the first episode of Downton so the audience would "grasp when and where" the story was set.
He said: "Of course there was a slight temptation to have someone say 'Do you know Patrick Crawley?' in the background but since I knew various links would be made from me I resisted."