ABC’s ‘Titanic’ Mini-Series to Premiere April 14

From the creative minds of Julian Fellowes, Academy Award (Gosford Park), Emmy and Golden Globe winner (“Downton Abbey”), and BAFTA-winning producer Nigel Stafford Clark (“Bleak House”) comes the highly anticipated ABC Premiere Event, “Titanic,” a four-part miniseries that will premiere Saturday, April 14 at 8:00 pm – 11 pm ET on the ABC Television Network. Parts One-Three will air on April 14, and the miniseries will conclude with Part Four on Sunday, April 15 at 9:00 pm ET to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912.

“Titanic” is an extraordinary re-telling of the doomed voyage that cleverly weaves action, mystery and romance over four hours and two nights of programming. Shot in Budapest, Hungary, it features both fictional and historical characters, ranging from steerage passengers and crew to upper class guests and staff, who all come together in an explosive and unforgettable finale. Each hour follows similar events from different points of view, culminating in a cliff-hanger, as the ship begins to founder, and building to an explosive conclusion in the final hour that draws together all the stories. Viewers will be taken on a heart-wrenching journey through Titanic’s last moments, as it’s revealed who among the characters they’ve come to know so well will survive, and who will not.

On Night One, Part One (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET), we meet First Class passengers Hugh, Earl of Manton (Linus Roache, “Law & Order”), his imperious wife, Louisa (Geraldine Somerville, the “Harry Potter” films), and their reluctant daughter, Georgianna (Perdita Weeks, “The Tudors”) — a suffragette who’s recently been arrested in a demonstration. Also on board, in Second Class, are Irish lawyer John Batley, who works for Hugh, and his wife Muriel. The Mantons’ servants, Barnes and Watson, have a brush with their American counterparts, while Georgiana is attracted, despite herself, to young American Harry Widener. Life on board is comfortable for the wealthy British and American passengers in First Class, despite a disastrous tea party with the Mantons and the Batleys which highlights the tensions between Louisa and Muriel. But everything changes after the ship encounters an iceberg and the realization dawns that the unsinkable Titanic is going down. Infuriated by Louisa’s air of effortless superiority, Muriel launches a violent verbal attack on her, hinting at a dark secret in Hugh’s past. Chaos and panic grow on deck, as Officer Lightoller insists on women and children only and lifeboats go down that are not even full. And Louisa finds herself faced with an impossible dilemma, as she has to choose between her husband and her daughter.

Part Two (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) opens with political tensions in Belfast interfering with the construction of new liner Titanic, but White Star Line chairman Bruce Ismay is dismissive of designer Thomas Andrews’ concerns. Catholic engineer Jim Maloney longs to leave Belfast, and when offered the opportunity of a new life via the Titanic, he accepts. As cabin steward Annie Desmond prepares for the first passengers to board, she encounters cheeky Italian waiter Paolo Sandrini, who is instantly smitten with her. Jim meets a mysterious steerage passenger, Peter Lubov, who unsettles Jim’s wife, Mary, while in the First Class dining room tensions bubble as new and old money collide. In Second Class, Muriel Batley bitterly resents her husband John’s subservience and reveals she knows the secret of Hugh Manton, a secret that threatens to destroy his marriage. But John’s worries are over-shadowed by a looming iceberg. Captain Smith and Thomas Andrews are horrified to learn the full cost of the collision. The ship has only a couple of hours to live. Chaos erupts in the rush for lifeboats, but there are just too few. Facing death, John and Muriel reconcile, but then John spies a glimmer of hope.

Part Three (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) begins in London, 1911. Winston Churchill is infuriated when Russian anarchist Peter the Painter escapes after a bloody street battle with the army. Cut to April 1912 and Italian ship stoker Mario, who is thrilled when he connives to get his brother, Paolo, a job on the new liner Titanic. The squabbling Mantons’ maid, Watson, is seen inexplicably loitering in steerage, and Barnes is shocked to discover the reasons why, while Paolo startles kindly steward Annie with an impulsive gesture. Mary Maloney finally lets her guard down with the mysterious passenger, Lubov, in a manner that enrages her husband, Jim. Their argument is set aside when the ship strikes the iceberg and word spreads that it’s sinking. White Star Line chairman Bruce Ismay is concerned that the anxious Italian waiters will contribute to the rising panic, and fear builds in steerage as passengers and crew find themselves behind locked gates. Lubov helps Mary Maloney, the Irish mother, and her children escape to the decks, but when his secret identity is uncovered by ex-policeman Evans, Lubov reacts ruthlessly. Passengers scramble for lifeboats, but the Maloneys’ terrified daughter, Theresa, bolts back inside the sinking ship. Paolo searches for his brother as freezing waters surge through the corridors.

The initial celebratory mood on the boat is intercut with a closer look at relationships — upstairs and down. Throughout the ship, secrets and resentments are revealed, love and fury are sparked, but when the unthinkable happens and one of the biggest maritime disasters levels the playing the field for everyone on board, each person’s life will change.

“Titanic” stars Linus Roache (“Law & Order,” “Batman Begins”) as the Earl of Manton, Geraldine Somerville (the “Harry Potter” films) as Louisa, Countess of Manton, Perdita Weeks (“The Tudors”) as Lady Georgiana Grex, Lyndsey Marshal (“Rome”) as Watson, Lee Ross (“EastEnders”) as Barnes, Glen Blackhall as Paolo Sandrini, Antonio Magro (“Little Dorrit”) as Mario Sandrini, Jenna-Louise Coleman (“Waterloo Road”) as Annie Desmond, David Calder (“The World is Not Enough”) as Captain Smith, Steven Waddington (“The Tudors”) as Second Officer Lightoller, Brian McCardie as First Officer Murdoch, Toby Jones (“My Week with Marilyn”) as John Batley, Maria Doyle Kennedy as Muriel Batley, Dragos Bucur (“The Way Back”) as Peter Lubov, Peter McDonald (“The Damned United”) as Jim McDonald, Ruth Bradley (“Primeval”) as Mary Maloney, Georgia McCutcheon as Theresa Maloney, Stephen Campbell Moore (“Ben Hur”) as Thomas Andrews, James Wilby (“Gosford Park”) as Bruce Ismay, Noah Reid (“Three Inches,”) as Harry Widener, Diana Kent as Eleanor Widener, Celia Imrie (“Bridget Jones’ Diary”) as Grace Rushton, Simon Paisley Day as Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, Linda Kash (“Cinderella Man”) as Margaret “Molly” Brown, David Eisner (“Flashpoint”) as Benjamin Guggenheim, Sophie Winkleman (“Peep Show”) as Dorothy Gibson, Mark Lewis Jones (“Robin Hood”) as David Evans, Sylvestra Le Touzel (“Amazing Grace”) as Lady Duff Gordon and Josephine de la Baume (“One Day”) as Madame Aubart.

Nigel Stafford Clark (“Bleak House”) created “Titanic.” Julian Fellowes (2011 Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries and Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries; 2012 Golden Globe for Outstanding Miniseries for “Downton Abbey”; 2001 Academy Award, Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for “Gosford Park”) wrote the screenplay. Jon Jones (“Going Postal,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “Northanger Abbey”) directs. Nigel Stafford-Clark and Chris Thompson (“Love Actually,” “No 1 Ladies Detective Agency”) serve as the producers for this miniseries.

Produced in association with ITV Studios and Shaw Media, who are partnered with Deep Indigo Productions and Lookout Point in the UK, Sienna Films Inc in Canada, and Hungary-based Mid Atlantic Films to produce this UK-Hungary-Canada co-production.

“Titanic” is executive-produced by Lookout Point’s Simon Vaughan (“Ben Hur,” “Coco Chanel,” “The Hot Zone [working title]”) together with ITV’s Kate Bartlett (“Marchlands,” “Identity,” Vera”), Sienna Films’ Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny (“Diamonds,” “The Hot Zone [working title]”) and Mid Atlantic Films’ Howard Ellis and Adam Goodman (“The Borgias,” “Pillars of The Earth”) and David Collins of Samson Films, Ireland.

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