Belfast Telegraph

For he's a jolly good Fellowes

By Gail Walker

With four one-hour episodes to fill, I reckoned Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes might have to drag out his Titanic story for at least two nights before the iceberg would make her appearance.

At the same time it was hard to see how he could manage to defer all the action for as long as that and still keep viewers.

Which is one reason why I'm not a spectacularly successful screenwriter for television drama.

Though there's no doubt there was no more anxious household gathered round the TV on Sunday night than that of Mr Fellowes himself, I suspect he needn't have worried.

No matter that there have been numerous movies, including the hugely successful Titanic, or that the stories of many of the real-life victims have been told so many times, it's clear we're all aboard another ratings winner.

The iceberg duly hit with 15 minutes to go in episode one and it was already clear that there would be more than enough action and more than enough cast members with interesting stories to take the great ship once again safely to the bottom of the Atlantic.

'Who will join it?' is the question which Mr Fellowes will tease us with over the next three weeks. The test of a story is not just what it's about but how many ways it can be told.

And once again Belfast's big ship has managed to have us all huddled round Mr Fellowes' knees, breathless with suspense.

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