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New Titanic epic 'Downton Abbey on water'

IT'S being dubbed the floating version of Downton Abbey - and TV3 bosses have vowed its biggest show to date won't be a wash out.

A major four-part drama series charting the inner tales beneath the decks of the Titanic will be aired this weekend.

TV3 has admitted that it has invested heavily in the €13m series - screened to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the "unsinkable ship".

Despite an Oscar-winning film already produced on the compelling story, TV3 boss Ben Frow today said viewers will forget the James Cameron classic "within four minutes" of watching the new series.

In an exclusive interview with the Herald, TV3's outspoken director of programming described Titanic as like "Downton Abbey on water".

"For the first time, I'm actually seeing story lines about people who work in the boiler room. And staff -- the servants on the Titanic which you never saw in Cameron's movie."


He added: "It's like Downton Abbey on water but instead of it being a linear story that has a beginning, a middle and end -- each episode concentrates on certain characters and different classes and it is only at the final episode that all the story lines come together like a jigsaw puzzle.

"You suddenly understand how everyone relates to each other and why people behave like they do and as the ship goes down you don't find out who lives and who dies."

TV3's Titanic was written by Julian Fellowes - Downton Abbey's Oscar-winning screenwriter. Frow described Fellowes as the "master of his genre", adding: "Could we be in better hands when we're looking at a period drama which is essentially about class, society, and probably one of the most famous incidents in that period of history?"

The cast also has a strong Irish touch - with Love/Hate's Ruth Bradley and Maria Doyle Kennedy in leading roles.

It airs on Sunday at 9pm and will be run for four weeks.