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Titanic: Underwhelming reviews for television drama

A scene from ITV1's Titanic The first outing of ITV1's Titanic beat the conclusion of period rival Upstairs Downstairs in the ratings

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Julian Fellowes' Titanic drama has received largely lukewarm reviews from critics after Sunday's first episode aired on ITV1.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Sarah Crompton said: "There was both too much and too little to concentrate on, and no-one to care about.

"If I were forced to judge Titanic on this one episode alone, I'd call it a damp squib," she continued.

The four-part drama coincides with the centenary of the liner's sinking.

Ms Crompton added: "But having seen part two, I can assure you it gets better."

It stars Linus Roache, Celia Imrie, Geraldine Somerville, Toby Jones and the newly announced Doctor Who companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman.

'Over-hyped'

The mini-series has been generating huge interest following the success of Fellowes' Downton Abbey on both sides of the Atlantic.

And it attracted a strong audience, beating the final episode of 1930s drama Upstairs Downstairs on BBC One, which aired at the same time.

Upstairs Downstairs had an average audience of 4.4 million, while Titanic's average was 7.4 million, according to overnight figures.

Times critic Andrew Billen said that he struggled with the speed of the opening episode.

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New Titanic Mini-Series from Downton Abbey Creators

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has finished production on a four-part miniseries called Titanic, which will premiere on ABC this April.

Let heaven and angels sing Hallelujah.

Along with virtually every other thing that is happening in April, the series' debut is set to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

This review of the show in the Guardian comes as close to saying the program is straight up exactly like Downton Abbey as one can come without actually saying that. In other words: look for it to be alternately frustrating and amazing and expecting you to fawn all over it when it shows up to tea wearing ugly hammer pants.

Oh, there is one twist:

In an innovative, but not entirely successful move, viewers will watch the boat begin to sink at the end of each episode, as Fellowes retells the story from different characters' viewpoints. Who survives the tragedy, however, is not revealed until the final episode.

The Guardian review notes that this effect is "sometimes confusing," but that is definitely not going to stop everyone you know from watching.