Reviewed by Monica Hall
Sorry this is late, if anyone is still interested. I, myself, found it hard to sustain attention.
Well, as tearful Z-list celebrities so often gasp, “It’s been a journey!” The only trouble is that I’m not sure where I’ve been. I’ve said quite enough already about the dialogue, characterisation and – most of all – the les-than-successful structure of this series, so we won’t go there again, save to say that, sadly, it did not work. Others, more qualified than me, have picked up on factual Titanic inaccuracies but, without wishing to abnegate their powers of observation, some of that would not have mattered in a television drama designed to entertain - had it actually done so. Without reducing me to lurching around on the sofa, upsetting my glass of white wine, and shouting at the screen (to the sorrow of my normal and adult children)
“Who the hell’s that? What’s s(he) doing now?”
“You are a geek, Mum.”
This week someone informed me that one Titanic author is apparently convinced that Mr. Murdoch was slumped comatose on the bridge thanks to the demon drink when the iceberg struck (!?). All I can say is thank goodness nobody told Julian about that before he began writing.
Mind you, having just said that factual inaccuracies might not have mattered so much, I must stress that that was a general comment upon the series overall. Sunday night, it has to be said, Mr. Fellowes surpassed himself with dramatic licence. The occupants of the lifeboats were entirely re-arranged, Mr. Lowe apparently ending up in a collapsible, and haughty toffs were giving orders which were cravenly obeyed by the sailors in charge. I don’t think so. Someone’s pet was saved. Peter the Painter died after redeeming himself heroically, but denying he was “a good man”, but poor Mary was left alone without either of her men as they both perished, plus a daughter. Lady Manton seemed to have recanted her snobbishness and came good in the end. Italian steward, Paulo, was “Jack” and Lady Georgiana was a “Rose”. Mr. Lightoller had mislaid his cap again, and stewards were worried about 3rd class looting - at a time like that. I don’t think so.
And then there were the locked gates – again. I know it’s a heartstring-tugger, but it is really time that this was laid to rest. Nobody locked the gates between 3rd class and the rest of the ship after the collision - they were always locked - American health regulations. The issue was unlocking them.
Give or take a few details, and a bit of understandable bewilderment, I flatter myself that I saw from Episodes 1/2 how things were going to work out with the various characters (at least, those I could recall), though I got the Batley’s fate first right and then wrong. It was the only sad bit.
Why do these producers pay huge money to professional writers when I’d do it for much less? I’m also willing to wreck major public companies for a mere fraction of the emoluments (directors like that word) paid to some of our biggest, knighted captains of industry – serial company-wreckers, all. But I digress, and am beginning to sound as though I want a job.
The 100th Anniversary has come and gone; the documentaries and dramatisations are over and, I’m told, the Balmoral did make it to the wreck site in time. I’m glad I wasn’t on board, and I expect the passengers are too, if any of them have read these reviews. I have read the National Geographic and looked at their reconstructed pictures of the wreck, which are impressive. I’m still wondering about the April Titanic artefact auctions which were predicted to make so much money.
Will the Titanic industry now just rest in peace? Or will ET continue as a forum which is so much greater than just the Titanic, embracing as it does so many aspects of a fascinating time in our history devolving from that tragic ship - from rivet controversies to corsets for men. I do hope so.
Anyone want to talk about great hats?