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The Goofs of Julian Fellowes's Titanic

With thanks to Matthew Chapman, Chris Puttemans and Matthew Bowyer

Widely touted as the big TV event of the Titanic's centennial year, and written by the prime pen-pusher of the much loved "Downton Abbey", we were promised a drama in which the sinking was spread over four hour-long episodes, each one showing a different facet of the crew's lives, from the lowliest crew to the glitterati of the 1st class. Made for £11 million, and produced by Deep Indigo, ITV Studios, Lookout Point, Mid-Atlantic Films and Sienna Films, the sales spiel informs us that it "is a highly researched [and] detailed portrayal" of the disaster. How could it fail with such an impressive writer at the helm (sorry about the pun)?

Well, it did. I'm not going to comment on the fictitous characters, but if pressed for an opinion, I would say that they were introduced so quickly that I frequently had to rewind the show on my DVR just to remind myself who these people were. Part 2 was better, IMHO.

Fellowes had set himself up for quite a monumental fall beforehand by saying that his depiction of the sinking is accurate and will "set the record straight", and attacking James Cameron's version for his liberties with the truth. How ironic! I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed at Fellowes's version and it is only through an act of supreme tolerance that I sat through it. Now, I realise that any drama that lacks the budget of a Hollywood spectacular will not be able to compete on several fronts. So, no digitally included "condensed breath" for instance. Another example: the sets. There is no 1st class Grand Staircase and no fabulous glass dome; the 1st class dining saloon is a tiny shadow of the massive room on the real Titanic, and its layout is different; the 1st class lounge, smoking room and library have been amalgamated into one hybrid 1st class "general room." But the decks are another matter. It seems that some expense was expended in creating a portion of the boat deck, and the deck directly below it ("A" deck), but the layout does not match the arrangement on the real ship. Why make such a collosal blunder when deck plans are readily and freely available? It's almost as if the film makers thought, "Oh, its almost good enough, no-one will notice."

And they would be right. Only the most dedicated of historians would notice any deviations from truth. But when it comes to attributing fictitious words and deeds to real people, then it is important. As I have said, many of those who see these travesties, and propound the "its accurate" fable (such as the sycophants in the press and TV) will think not of the truth, but will be left with mental images of falsehoods and lies. As with Cameron's film, it will be impossible to destroy the disinformation...and the falsehoods will override history. The pompous protestations of the producers et al. implore us to believe that it is "inaccurate," but this is simply a way of hiding shoddy research. Fellowes tell us that he spent five years researching the Titanic, but given the demonstrable errors, this would not seem to be true (said the author in as diplomatic a manner as possible). Is this really the way that history should be presented to the masses? In my opinion, no.

One final point: I have tried to be fair in my criticism of the series and I have rejected some points. For instance, it would have been easy to pounce on the comment from Mr.Rushton in part 1 while waiting for the boats that his wife couldn't go back for their dog as she was probably drowned already. Some say that the dog kennels were on the boat deck, and I could have said that, "The Rushton's sense of direction was so impaired that they couldn't find the kennels, just a few hundred few away." But then, other authorities place the kennels way down in the ganglia of the ship, on F deck, near the 3rd class galley. There is no consensus, only debate and argument.
Then, some people will decry that the hybrid 1st class general room should be almost devoid of passengers as those rooms were due to be closed between 11 and 11.30pm, which is just before the iceberg strike. Some other rooms stayed open later, such as the 1st class smoking room, the Cafe Parisien and the lounge (the latter two remaining open, ironically, to allow card games to conclude). But we don't know exactly what room the card games on Fellowes's Titanic actually took place in. At any rate, the room should not be depicted as full of people, and stewards should have been in evidence, gently reminding passengers to finish up so that the room could be closed for tidying, ready for the next day.

Update: 1st April
Appropriately, on April Fool's Day, The UK Sunday Telegraph, to whom I assisted during their research on an article on Fellowes's goofs managed to elicit a comment from the Conservative Peer:
"This is indicative of when a show gets noticed. Nobody nitpicks over something no one wateches. Good luck to these people. I like the fact they are watching and are checking every detail. There are whole departments dedicated to ensuring we get things right and often these observations are incorrect. We know that musicians on the Titanic played waltzes. I find it unlikely there was no dancing."

The online version of the newspaper gives us a few more comments: "Having been irritated at these sorts of observations of Downton Abbey, I now find them rather a compliment."

These comments deserve to be assessed. Facts should be checked before filming even starts; these "whole departments" alluded to obviously let the director down, but who is ultimately to blame? Fellowes wrote the script; he should have ensured that what he created on the page was accurate to history. The director then has responsibility for overseeing the look and feel of the show, ensuring that the sets are correct etc. From the myriad of errors, its almost as if neither of these two could be bothered; and Fellowes is trying to pass the buck for his own failings. Why was he irritated at people making observations about Downton Abbey? Was he merely irritated this his own lack of research had been found out? Certainly, his last comment about the dancing is illuminating. He obviously has a mental image of this happening on the ship, but didn't bother to check whether it really happened. I'm sorry, Lord Fellowes, a belief is not a fact.

Fellowes's hubris is evident in his foreword to the recent reissue of Walter Lord's "A Night To Remember"; of course, Julian can't help but crow about his series and talks of the "incredible replicas" of the boat deck. A boat deck that is a crude approximation of the real Titanic, Lord Fellowes? A boat deck that only show three lifeboat stations when there should be four? Incredibly inaccurate I think you mean?

One final irony: the tagline for the series if "The Truth Will Surface." I wonder what "truth" that will be? It certainly won't be historical truth.

Rather than try to explain the layout of the Titanic, I have incorporated a few simple plans:

In the above sketch, the salient physical elements of the ship are described. There are four banks of lifeboats, two on either side of the ship. On each side, and between the forward and aft boats is a solid metal railing (on this plan, it is between boat 7 and boat 9). All boats could be swung freely from the boat deck out to the side of the ship, with the exception of the two forward boats, which had another bulwark in place; these were located at boat station 1 (on the starboard side as shown) and station 2 (on the port side). In board of these two boats, lying on the deck were collapsible boats "C" and "D". To lower these, one would have to wait until the davits had been vacated by boats 1 and 2, the collapsible hooked up and then hoisted over the bulwark.
Below the boat deck was "A" deck, and this was fitted with screens equipped with retractable glass windows - ostensibly because passengers complained of being hit by water spray issuing from the bow during Atlantic crossings. Also indicated on the diagram is the approximate extent of the iceberg damage.

This slightly more psychedelic view shows where the various passenger promenades were: red for 1st class; green for second and blue for third. I have also indicated the names of the damaged compartments, with the "peak tank" being the closest to the bow.

For larger versions of the thumbnail screengrabs, just click on the image.

Part 1 (25th March, 2012)

The first goof appears within seconds of the opening titles finishing, showing the ship at Belfast. The placement of buildings and gantries bears no resemblance to the real Harland and Wolff shipyard. It's also very sloppy of the film-makers to show the same type of buildings at Southampton and Belfast, leading to ambiguities and which made me think that the scene was set at Southampton.

Seconds later, we are shown an officer dressing. This is 2nd Officer Lightoller. The problem is that the gold braids on his cuffs denote that of a 2nd Officer. Until Chief Officer Wilde came aboard a few days later resulting in a temporary demotion of the (then) Chief Officer Murdoch and 1st Officer Lightoller to 1st and 2nd Officer respectively, Lightoller should have been wearing a braid that showed one unbroken gold band, and another braid surmounted by a loop.

Even while in port, the Titanic should still have been flying her Ensign from the aft flag staff. Interestingly, the Titanic was fitted with three red and white warning signs on the stern, advising passing vessels that she had three propellors. These signs were not fitted in time for her sea trials on April 2nd, but were in place by April 8th. Did the film get it right, based on research, or did they simply not know about the signs?

A truly remarkable conversation. The Titanic has davits for 32 lifeboats (she actually had 16 davits which could handle 4 boats apiece), and Ismay, the Chairman of the White Star Line says he doesn't want "the ladies terrified out of their wits." The Titanic's sister, the Olympic, had been in service since June 1911, and the lifeboat capacity applied to that ship too. Why mention it now?
Incidentally, Thomas Andrews should have an Irish accent. And while Andrews did go to Southampton on the Titanic after her sea trials (April 2nd), Ismay stayed in Liverpool and didn't arrive at the Titanic until April 10th. Are we expected to believe that either Ismay or Andrews galavanted between Southampton and Liverpool for this conversation?

Lord and Lady Manton are seen on a train on April 10th; we know this as he mentions that they wouldn't be allowed to go ashore the next day in Ireland (April 11th). Since the Titanic sailed at noon on April 10th, aren't the Manton's leaving it a bit late to get down to Southampton? I am also informed (but haven't confirmed) that the train in this sequence is from the 1950s.

Presumably the car carrying Mr and Mrs Batley got on to the quayside from a different entry to the one that we know about. Perhaps the Batleys wanted a scenic tour of the dock before heading in the wrong direction to the Titanic? A colleague also tells me that the car is a post-World War 1 Model T Ford; in fact, he says that Henry Ford's comment that the buyer could have any colour for his/her car "as long as it was black" dates the car in this sequence to 1926 or 1927, as the Batley's vehicle is green.

The gangways into the Titanic are of the wrong design; they didn't have covered sides. The gangway many decks above these two that allowed 2nd class to enter the ship is also missing. The funnels also present problems. The colour seems to be that of a bronze-orange colour; and while we do not know the exact colours of the funnels, we are sure that they were predmonantly yellow, with a hint of grey, or perhaps pink. Incidentally, the funnels seems to be criss-crossed with a lattice of bands that go vertically, and around them. The real Titanic's funnels, apart from steam pipes, ladders and so on, were smooth and plain.

Also, is that cargo that is being loaded on board? If so its in the wrong place. The holds at the aft end of the ship held provisions for the ship's journey. Those holds towards the front held cargo, baggage and so on.

As stated above, the docks bear no resemblance to the real quay at Southampton.

The Chief Stoker seems surprised that there is fire burning in one of the coal furnaces. It had actually been burning since leaving Belfast many days before!

The valet's and servant's dining room seems to be located close to either the bow or stern judging by the curvature of the walls. Their mess room was actually an interior room (so, no portholes) on "C" deck, close to the aft Grand Staircase.

Don't people believe in turning off the lights in cabins they are not currently occupying? And what about the vacant cabins? Did someone go along and turn the lights on in those rooms too? And the second mast light on the main mast (the one towards the rear) is wrong too.

There were two bands on the Titanic; this is obviously the quintet led by Wallace Hartley. The location in this drama is a hybrid of several 1st class rooms, but we do know that between 8 and 9.15pm they played in the reception room outside the dining saloon. From 9.15 to 10.15, they played in the 2nd class staircase foyer. They certainly weren't playing in any other public room, and there certainly was no dancing on the Titanic. Their attire seems to be wrong too. The should have been wearing dark suits with green lapels, on which should be pinned a lyre insignia.

The stokers were actually berthed in "dormitories"; the one on "F" deck could hold 53 people. Scott Andrews, a noted Titanic researcher, says this; "What's with all of the rivet heads in the firemen and trimmers' quarters?Their quarters were enclosed by wood joinery just as were the quarters of the rest of the crew. The doors especially - in all of the accommodation, crew and passengers alike - were all made of wood. Where were the men in this image supposedly bunking - inside a coal bunker?"

No officer would ever, ever fraternise with passengers, let alone dance with them. And when is this supposed to happen? Lightoller was on duty from 6-10pm. He would never leave the bridge to go for a quick serenade; this would be gross dereliction of duty. And it isn't likely that he would go below for a dance afterwards as he would have retired to bed, ready for his next shift at 6am. Even off duty, no officer would ever do this.

The forward half of "A" deck had retractable glass windows, and these can be seen here. Therefore we are looking at the starboard (right hand) side of the deck looking forward. But look at the water curling off the ship. It is moving away from the camera. To do this the Titanic had to have been moving backwards.
The front of the "A" deck promenade also had doors to prevent wind (caused by the ship's motion) from cascading down its length, causing discomfort to passengers taking a stroll.

Again, Lightoller would not be communicating with a passenger. The deck configuration behind him is wrong too, and there is no expansion joint running along the wall, ceiling or floor (the joint is a gap in the superstructure, covered in rubber, that is allowed to freely flex at sea to prevent the build-up of stresses.)

I wonder what Lightoller was doing here? He had two shifts that day, 6-10am and 6-10pm. He would have reported promptly to the bridge at 6pm, and indeed he had dinner from 7.05-7.35pm. At about 7pm, the sun would have set but it would have still been light enough to perform navigational duties for the next half hour or so. It was mentioned earlier that Lord Manton wanted to get the Batleys for "afternoon tea" (strangely everyone should be indoors by this time dressing for dinner), and with the sun low in the sky, the shadows on the deck would be longer, and the deck darker. There was no reason for Lightoller to be on "A" deck either; the officer's mess was on the boat deck, next to the 3rd funnel, and I'm sure that his superior (Murdoch) who had been filling in while the 2nd Officer was at dinner would have been thrilled at his junior loitering on deck, talking to passengers and showing them down to 2nd class.

I assume that this is the 2nd class staircase? It doesn't look like any 1st class companionways that I know of. Both the 1st class and 2nd class had purser's offices on the landings of their staircases, but the more modest one here is reminiscent of 2nd class. The 2nd class purser's offices had three separate windows, while the 1st class counterpart had one long counter.

Similar to the goof above, the ship is going the wrong way.

Look at how the bulkhead to the left of the American guy is curving upwards. This is the tail end of the glassed-in portion of "A" deck...but only seconds before we had seen the couple walk past this curved terminus, which would be to the right of them.

Look at the background. You can see Captain Smith mingling. He should have been in his quarters, near the bridge just before the collision.

So many errors in this one scene, its hard to know where to start. First; they are in the wrong location. The man at the wheel (Hichens) and the officer who answers the telephone (Moody) should be in the wheelhouse; this is the room behind the telephone cubicle. In the wheelhouse, the screens would seal off the windows (so, no venetian blinds) to prevent light spillage from damaging the watch officer's eyesight. The bridge would be in total darkness, so no little desk light here. The phone (whose design is wrong) would not be in a cubicle either. Moody would be standing behind, and to the left of Hichens, supervising his actions at the wheel.

Then, who are the people on the bridge? As the camera pans to follow Moody, we pass Hichens at the wheel and one other crewman. Who is this? The only other man it could have been was Quartermaster Olliver...except that he was between the 2nd and 3rd funnels when the crow's nest warning bell was rung. Then Murdoch rushes on to the bridge and orders evasive action. Where had he come from? He should have been on duty there at all time. And who is the other officer? The most likely candidate is 4th Officer Boxhall, but he was walking along the deck and hadn't reached the bridge yet.

Then, when we see the iceberg through the forward windows, at the bottom of the screen is a helm indicator. It is hard to see but seems to show three digits of which I can make out the last two: 6 and 6. If the first one was 2, then it would be 266 - and it just so happened that the Titanic's course was 266 degrees, measured clockwise from north. More correctly, it was S 86 W, or 86 degrees moving clockwise towards west from due south. However, this is the course with respect to true north. The ship would be steering by compass with respect to magnetic north, and the course was (I think) 289, or in Titanic's parlance, N 71 W (71 degrees counter-clockwise heading towards west from north). However, it is very hard to read the numbers.

Thanks to Bob Read of the Titanic Research and Modelling Association for confirming this: the handle for the engine room telegraph is at the 4 o'clock position, and the ship is running full ahead. However, on the real Titanic, this location indicated full speed ASTERN. The telegraphs have been positioned backwards!

Blink and you'd miss it. A nice touch, and not an error; the bright white light is the mysterious ship (the Californian) that was located to the north of the Titanic, although there is no indication that she was seen until much later.

This is obviously boiler room 6, and the only one immediately subject to immediate catastrophic flooding. Except...the water is described as coming in "two feet" above the stokehold floor plates. And before this happened, the warning bell for the watertight doors rang. And where the hell is everyone else? Did the Titanic have one person on night shift in the boiler room? Leading fireman Frederick Barrett was near the starboard side of the hull when water rushed in. He was talking to an engineer named Hesketh. These two should have been mere feet from where the sole stoker was working, and yet we see no-one else; no one staring in disbelief in the background, no-one rushing for the watertight doors, no else climbing up the escape ladders. There were 4 firemen (stokers) and 2 trimmers (who transported coal from the bunkers in wheelbarrows) in this section of the boiler room. Where the hell were they?

This is Mr.Batley; what on earth is a 2nd class passenger doing in first class territory?

Colonel John Jacob and Mrs. Madeleine Astor are shown playing a card game in the hybrid common room. They were actually in their cabin at the time, and Colonel Astor went out to investigate when they felt the iceberg strike. As Mr.W.H.Dobbyn wrote to Robert Ferguson (both being employees of the Astors), Madeleine told him that she had not been feeling well on the afternoon of the 14th and had retired early, only being awakened by the collision.

The Captain informs Andrews of the collision. This exchange seems to happen below decks. In actuality, it probably happened in, or near the bridge; indeed a night watchman named Johnson saw Andrews and Smith descend the Grand Staircase heading towards the engine room shortly after midnight.

Lord Manton meets Lightoller near his cabin. But Lightoller never ventured below decks. The Lightoller of Fellowes's universe says that the collision was about half an hour previously. Lightoller was in bed during the collision, and after a brief and fruitless excursion on deck, he was ultimately told by 4th Officer Boxhall that water was entering the ship. Lightoller dressed and went out on deck to help with the boats; this would be about 20 minutes or so after the collision. He never ventured into any passenger areas at all. His comment as to whether the ship would sink ("I certainly hope not") conflicts with his later writings and testimony were he said he had confidence in the ship.

I hope there weren't any thieves on the Titanic. No-one seems to lock their doors at night. And the behaviour of the steward - knocking on doors, throwing them open and telling the occupants to get on deck, isn't true either. The stewards were more polite in informing the passengers, a gentle knock on the door, the mention of lifejackets and so on, so as not to arouse anyone's fears.

The Allison family are shown being awakened by a steward; Bess Allison tells one of her maids, Sarah Daniels to get her cloths, and asks the other, Alice Cleaver, to get the baby (Trevor). What really happened was that Daniels went to find out what had happened, but couldn't initially convince Mr.Hudson Allison or Cleaver to come up on deck. Indeed, Mr.Allison was angry at her awakening the family and Daniels made her own way up to the boats, leaving Cleaver and her employers behind.

We are shown a big crowd in 1st class, which never happened. Then we are told that another route can be taken through 2nd class to the boat deck. This is bunkum. The staircase that we seen the Mantons and Lad Georgiana (?) head up through is close to the purser's office. We are obviously in 2nd class territory. But to get there, we have to head down from B deck to E deck (so down 4 decks), and heading aft, so moving in completely in wrong direction. The 1st class never experienced any hinderance in getting to the boat deck. Also, 2nd class passenger Lawrence Beesley passed the 2nd class purser's office on the way to the boat deck, and he saw no such crowding that we see in Fellowes's vision. Beesley heard the safe door clang shut and the hasty step of someone heading towards first class while he was ascending nearby stairs. This was well before the first boat departed from the Titanic.

The only gates depicted on the Titanic that segregated 3rd class were waist high gates on the upper, open decks, to prevent them getting into 1st and 2nd class areas. The only other gates similar to this on the real Titanic were ones that prevented people from falling down elevator shafts leading to the provisions holds and so on. In third class, the Titanic's plans show only two "Bostwick" gates - one towards the front of the ship, in an area that would have been flooded within the first hour, and one further aft to prevent steerage from ascending a flight of stairs that led to the 1st class galley. It is speculated that there may have been other gates which are not shown on the ships plans and some steerage accounts do point to gates being locked, but the notion of wholesale segregation agains the 3rd class is arguably very dubious.

So the Mantons manage to get to the boat deck. However, they emerge not in 2nd class space, but through a door to 1st class and which roughly matches the location of the boat deck Grand Staircase lobby doorway on the real Titanic. It seems that having headed all the way aft, they now wandered forward again!

Out on deck, we can see that boat 1 (closest to the bow of the Titanic) is in the process of being lowered. However, in reality, it wasn't launched till after boats 7, 5 and 3 had gone, as the crew started off at the aft end of the quadrant of boats and moved forwards. We look down into boat 1, and see it has 11 people in it. Boat 1 actually left with 12 people in it. Then we are told by the superintending officer that they "can't bring [the boats] back." There were actually electrically operated winches on the boat deck that could raise lifeboats from the water. Then...who is this officer? It isn't Murdoch (the Scottish man who ordered "hard a starboard" when the iceberg was seen) and it isn't Lowe (as he doesn't have a Welsh accent [sic]), and these are the only two officer who had charge of boat 1's lowering. Also, look at the water swirling around boat 1. It's almost as if the Titanic was still moving. The sea that night was as smooth as glass, and besides the Titanic was stopped for good when the boats were being lowered.

The lifeboat should have 4 thwarts; it looks like it only has 3. There are only 5 crewmen on board; there should be 7, and 5 of these were not wearing sailor's outfits, but "thin flannels" as they stokers who had just come from the heat of the boiler rooms. Boat 1 also came equipped with 5 oars and a mast; in the screen grab above, we see just two oars.

[Incidentally, it is this boat in which Sir Cosmo and Lady Lucille Duff Gordon found their way into: they were later accused of bribing the crew not to return to rescue those in the water. They will be introduced in Fellowes's version in part 3.]

The rockets should have exploded with an almost deafening bang. They also started to be fired after boat 5, but before boat 3, so in the real Titanic's timeline, we have boat 7, 5, rockets, 3, 1. On the Fellowes's Titanic, we have boat 1, rockets, 3, 5. I can't tell if boat 7 has already gone, but it looks like it has before boat 3 is lowered.

Lightoller was never issuing orders on the starboard side, let alone "women and children only." In fact, on the starboard side forward, men were allowed into the boats, space permitting, but even so the boats still left half full. The reason for this is as follows: unlike the Fellowes's version which shows the boat deck crammed with people, there was a dearth of passengers on the starboard side. Lightoller must be blind, as well. He is asked how many more this boat can take, and the 2nd Officer replies that this one is full but there is another one being loaded on the other side of the ship. What about boat 5, right next door to him which is still admitting people?

And I really do doubt that Lightoller would be wearing a tunic saying "WHITE STAR LINE" under his jacket. And he doesn't stay to superintend the lowering of the boat. This is vital when two seamen were paying out ropes at different ends of the boat. Not being able to see what they were doing, the seamen were reliant on a third party (an officer) to instruct the crew to make sure that the boat is lowered on an even keel.

Sarah Daniels is shown being put in a boat, with Mrs.Bessie Allison telling her that she will go when she finds Alice and the baby. Little Lorraine, the only 1st class child lost, will not release her hold on Mrs.Allison's, and she steps back on deck with her daughter. In reality, it is hard to know what happened. Major Peuchen is claimed to have said that he had sighted Bess and Lorraine in a boat, but someone told Mrs.Allison that her husbands was on the other side of the ship. She left, and the boat (No.6) departed. Peuchen did not mention this in his testimony at the US Senate Inquiry. Another account, given by Mrs.Cassebeer is that Mrs.Allison refused to enter a boat unless her husband was with her. This was indeed "on the other side of the ship" to Peuchen, as Cassebeer left in boat 5, the second to depart. What seems certain is that Sarah Daniels, having being chastised by Hudson Allison, went to the boat deck and departed in one of the very first boats. Neither the Allisons nor Cleaver would have been nearby at this time.

5th Officer Lowe did not have a Welsh accent. We are also shown Colonel Astor putting his wife into boat 5; in reality, she did not leave the Titanic until about an hour later, on the other side of the ship, and on the deck below from the boat deck (she and others were helped in through the glassed windows, which had been opened). It was also Lightoller who refused Astor permission to be with his wife.

Pierre Marechal mentioned that the band were playing "between the decks" before boat 7 was launched (this was the first one lowered, and the one he found himself in). His account seems to indicate that the band were on "A" deck, but the customary location for the band is on the boat deck. The band shows four people; three violinists and one on cello. I wonder where the fifth member of the band was? I also wonder why there are so many people on "A" deck? Did they not know the boats were being lowered about 10 feet above their heads?

Lady Manton refuses to get into the boat with "a drunken prostitute." She was referring to Dorothy Gibson, whose American accent comes and goes like a politician's promise. In Fellowes's version, Gibson and her mother get into a boat on the bort side, after many have departed. In reality, Gibson left in the very first boat on the starboard side.

I may be wrong on this, as we never see any boats being launched from the port side (probably because that part of the set was never built). When we see Gibson entering the boat, she looks up and to her right as the rocket explodes, which indicates that she is on the port side. But - from the screen grab and accompanying description below - the rockets seem to be fired from the stern, which is not correct. So, Gibson may indeed have been on the starboard side looking towards the rear, which is right, but the rockets are wrong.

More turbulent water, in complete contrast to the survivor's accounts.

Lightoller tells us that he planned for the men to swim to the boats from the hatches. But this plan was unilateral; Lightoller never told anyone else of his plan (except for crewman to whom he gave instructions to open the doors, and were never seen again), or got instructions or permission to do so. And his idea was not for people to swim to the boats. As he said later, he claimed that he wanted to half fill the boats and get them into the water, and then fill them up from the gangway hatches.

The Countess (not Lady) of Rothes was in boat 8, Mrs Widener was in boat 4, launched with Mrs Astor and others nearly an hour later.

From the falling embers of the rockets, it looks like they were fired from the stern. They were actually launched from the front of the boat deck. Also, the Titanic's bow should be deeper in the water, with the stern rising up. It looks like the ship is sinking gradually and evenly. Oh, and the lights didn't flicker brighter and darker. Towards the end, they were glowing "a devilish red" colour, but they didn't flicker on and off.

The graphic also shows steam venting from discharge pipes from the funnels. The historical ship released the now superfluous steam, lest a build up causes an explosion from pipes running up the funnels. This venting started very soon after the ship had stopped following the collision and continued for at least 45 minutes. The resultant cacophany was so loud that it prevented spoken communication on the boat deck, and could be heard as far as down as "C" deck, 4 decks below the boat deck. And yet everyone on the boat deck is audible. The steam venting had certainly finished by the time the boats were being lowered.

Matthew Bowyer tells us that this officer is Lowe, but he was nowhere near boat "C"; indeed he had already left the ship over half an hour beforehand. And yes, I know that Lady Manton and Georgiana are fictitious, but no 1st class ladies were in this boat.

Part 2 (1st April, 2012)

Alright, we are deinitenly in Belfast this time, but many of the criticisms from last week still stand. The Titanic looks as if its docked just inside the shipyard gates, whereas it was moored well inside Harland and Wolff. The layout - the warehouses, the water channels, the constructions gantries - everything is wrong about this scene. Even the location of the Titanic is wrong; she is shown housed in a dock although I cannot say for certain whether there was water in this dock or not. However, on March 8th, the real Titanic was taken out of her dry dock (the Thompson Graving Dock) and put back in the fitting out-quay, which only had one "shore" and therefore did not surround the ship as shown above.

It is odd that Andrews expresses reservations about the Titanic, when her sister, the Olympic, which had been operating near successfully since June last year, obviously elicited no such concern. Obviously the Olympic was designed and built with problems in her design and yet Andrews did nothing to rectify these deficiencies on the Titanic. It is disgusting to think that Julian Fellowes is foisting his own theory that the ship yard was "cutting corners" without any proof. For instance, Andrews talks of not being allowed to take the bulkheads "up to the deck." Which deck? All the bulkheads went up higher than the waterline, and the ship was designed to float with any two watertight compartments flooded, or any three of the first four flooded (calculations post disaster showed that the ship could actually float with the first four admitting water). The design of the ship was sound and it is only the unique nature of the wound inflicted by the iceberg that caused the Titanic to founder.
Although 21st century analysis of the rivets has elicited some speculation as to their role in the disaster, I am sure that no-one in 1912 really knew about the problem. Quality control was in its infancy in those days, we are told. The British Board of Trade had an office in the shipyard and the Titanic was subjected to many tests and inspections before her hand over to the White Star Line, and yet there is not one word in the inquiry about the quality of the rivets. If there had been any doubt, the ship's seaworthiness certificate would not have been issued.
Amusingly, Andrews dismissively talks about those charged with installing the rivets;" for the rivetters..." he says with a chuckle. The rivetters were staff who worked for his uncle Lord Pirrie (sans moustache and beard, curiously) and himself, and if he didn't like the work they did, he could have said something about it. Why didn't he?
This meeting is set on March 20th, 1912. Ismay timed his meeting most curiously; he was present at his daughter's wedding in London the very next day. I doubt he would have made it in time. Also, Pirrie had had a prostate operation on 22nd February and was recuperating at Witley Court in Surrey. He was too weak to participate in the maiden voyage, and he certainly wasn't well enough to attend this meeting with his nephew, Andrews and Ismay, 4 weeks after his operation.

Andrews tells the electician, Maloney, that he and his family can go to New York with free tickets courtesy of the White Star Line. When Maloney objects, he is told that he can surely put up with "five days" of a little discomfort in steerage. Andrews does not seem to realise that it would actually take the Titanic seven days to reach New York from Southampton. It also seems mean minded that the White Star Line did not allow him and his family free passage to Southampton from Belfast on the Titanic; the family board at Southampton. It would even have been easier if they'd travelled south from Belfast to join the Titanic at Queenstown on April 11th rather than a long and expensive journey by sea and rail to get all the way to Southampton.

Watch Lightoller when he boards the Titanic on April 9th. The braids on his uniform show that he is the 2nd officer. But when he and his colleague Murdoch are temporarily demoted and Blair bumped out a few minutes later, he is now wearing 1st officer's stripes. Incidentally, it was not the White Star Line that put Wilde on the Titanic, but Captain Smith himself. Blair himself knew that he would be leaving the ship days before the voyage. He sent a postcard dated 11pm April 4th, 1912 and said that the ship had arrived from Belfast "today" and that he would have to "step out to make room for chief officer of the Olympic." Wilde himself signed onto the Titanic on April 9th and reported for duty at 6am the next day.

Another goof: there is another gangway behind the one that Lightoller uses. There wasn't on the real Titanic- they were much further aft.

Murdoch tells Annie Desmond that 1st class will be full; in fact it wasn't, and none of the three classes were 100% occupied. The ship could carry 3547 people, but there were only about 2200 on the maiden voyage.

The 6 berth steerage cabin for Maloney and his brood is far too small, and like the stoker's "cabin" it seems to have an iron door complete with rivets. Each room was fitted with a wash basin and a wall seat, but these are not shown in this cabin, which seems to be inordinately tiny.

Like the steerage cabin, the room for the stewards is tiny and does not resemble any crew quarters to be found on the real Titanic. The stewards were housed, like the stokers, in large dormitories, capable of accommodating dozens of people.

We are told that "a good many Italians" had boarded the ship, which included stokers and waiters for Signor Gatti's restaurant. While the latter comment is true, no Italian stokers were on board. I admit that I haven't been through the remainder of the crew and passengers list in detail, but I am not aware of any Italian people on board, other than two steerage men mentioned by researcher David Gleischer. The word "Italian" was a term used in 1912 to describe undesirable people, which forced 5th Officer Lowe to give a written apology to the Italian Ambassador to the U.S. after he described "Italians" in uncomplimentary terms at the American Inquiry into the loss of the Titanic.
Similar to the comment above, there was no "waiting list" for 1st class.
Its hard to see in this scene, but Lightoller is wearing 2nd officer's stripes on his sleeve. A photograph taken while docked at Queenstown on April 11th showed that he was still wearing his 1st officer's stripes. Evidently, he had had no opportunity to find a replacement jacket, or perhaps he didn't feel it worthwhile for just the one voyage, after which he and Murdoch would resume their correct ranks? It is speculated, but not 100% proven that Murdoch was also still wearing his "Chief Officer's" jacket during the crossing, as many survivors refer to him "as the Chief" during the evacuation.

The lighting in this scene makes it hard to be 100% certain, but it looks like there are only three lifeboats. One is swung out, and closest to the camera; the two behind it are still on the deck, but in-board (in fact, a fourth boat is behind the solid metal railing, or bulwark, next to the swung out boat). There is a lifeboat missing. There should be another one, in-board on davits.

The boat deck of the Titanic was configured as follows: on each side of the Titanic, there were 8 lifeboats under davits; four at the front, and four at the rear. Separating these two banks of 4 boats was a long metal bulwark. On Fellowes's Titanic, we have two boats and then the metal bulwark.

Oh, and the navigation light should be green not turquoise.

Crew members would not be idly chatting on deck. If they were on duty, they should be attending to their tasks. If not, they had their own areas and mess rooms below in which they could find some form of meagre entertainment, like playing cards or reading. As for the deck....behind these two is a door leading to a staircase, and there is a door in this little lobby. Not on the real Titanic, there wasn't. I also find it hard to understand how these two can make their way to their work stations (deep inside the ship) by going up the stairs to the boat deck. Just mere feet from where these two were chatting should be a door, to seal off the promenade from the wind that would course down it.
And the windows behind these two are 1st class cabins. Does no-one believe in closing their curtains for privacy?

It looks like only the two forward-most boiler rooms are working as smoke is coming from the first funnel only.

Lightoller is seen issuing pamphlets for the order of ceremony at the Titanic's Sunday Service. In fact, he was probably in bed, as his shift had just finished (at 10am) - the Service did not start until 10.30am. Stewards would have handed out the pamphlets. Then we have Lightoller allowing a steerage man into the service; as he says, "Everyone's welcome to the service." Sorry, but no. For quarantine reasons, steerage were strictly segregated into the own quarters and would never be allowed into 1st class space, except for emergencies. And the 2nd class had their own Sunday Service too, so there was no need for them to gain admittance to 1st class.

Lord Manton tells the Batleys that he'll come looking for them at 4pm, and we know from part 1 that Lightoller shows him the way down to 2nd class....except Lightoller didn't come on duty until 6pm.

I wonder where this 3rd class room is supposed to be? The layout of the room shows benches and tables and doesn't match any room on the real Titanic. The staircase is also fitted with Bostwick gates, which of course is a fiction. This room shall be returned to later.

Lightoller allows someone into 3rd class to look for Lady Manton's maid. What on earth was Lightoller doing here? He should have been on the bridge. It looks as if doing any work pertaining to the safe navigation of the ship was the last thing on the 2nd Officer's mind.

Mr. Maloney finds his wife in a pensive mood on deck. I wonder where this is supposed to be? Looking above and behind Mrs.Maloney we see a curved section of deck, and below her, we see a crane. There is only one place this could be - in 1st class, directly below the bridge. How did a 3rd class passenger get here?
Also, note the two ventilators with cowled hoods. There were no such vents on 1st or 2nd class promenades. And if this is 1st class space (and I can think of no other location it could be), the promenade should extend under the bridge, to the other side of the ship. We see it terminate at a bulkhead containing windows.

Evidentally with too much time on his hands, Lightoller has a chat with Mrs.Rushton in the hybrid 1st class room. Lightoller would never have been in here. I am also somewhat alarmed at the continued portrayal of Madame Aubart as a hussy and a strumpet. She wouldn't be spinning in her grave, but whirling like a Dervish. But, you cannot libel the dead.

The bridge is miniscule, and should have nine windows. As suspected in part 1, the first digit of the helm indicator panel is "2", confirming that the ship's heading is wrong.
Ismay is shown on the bridge; believe him or not, he says that he never went there until just after the iceberg collision. I see no reason why he should not be believed; on April 14th, there was no reason for him to be there. Then, Smith himself decides to "make up a little time...make a little headway" in their crossing. Why "time" was he making up? The ship had been delayed for an hour upon leaving Southampton due to a near collision with another ship in the harbour, and a further minute delay occurred to ferry off the workmen who had been left on board accidentally. But the Titanic was making excellent time after this, was speeding up, and gave every indication that she would actually arrive in New York early. This "speeding up" occurred many hours before this fictitious talk by Smith.
There is some evidence to suggest that it was Ismay who was pressuring Smith to speed up but in the Fellowes version, Ismay is blameless, and the Captain is at fault. In reality, there are stories of Ismay being overheard telling the Captain that they were to beat the Olympic's maiden voyage crossing time from the previous June, that extra boilers were being put on, that the speed was increasing and so on. None of this registers in the research of creators of the ITV fairy tale.
Murdoch mentions that they had received ice warnings, but Smith dismisses this, saying that their course was well to the south. In fact, the warnings put ice both north and south of the Titanic's course. While on duty, Lightoller and Moody both calculated the time that they would reach the ice region. So, the officers certainly did expect to see ice that night.
And is that Wilde on the bridge? What was he doing there? His shift wasn't due to start until 2am the next morning, having gone off duty at 6pm when it was still light outside.

Lightoller comes on deck and tells the bridge crew that he can't find the binoculars. Later Smith blames Blair for omitting them because the ship is packed to the seams. Without relying on expletives, all I can say is that is wrong. The senior officers (Smith, Wilde, Murdoch and Lightoller) all had their own binoculars. The crows nest lookouts used Blair's binoculars from Belfast to Southampton, and when they arrived in Southampton he asked for them to be locked up in his cabin (and why not? He didn't want them stolen and they wouldn't have been needed until sailing day). It is highly likely that Lightoller used Blair's own set when the latter left the ship following the re-shuffle of officers in Southampton.
And Lightoller had retired for the night when Murdoch was on the bridge. Apart from a brief hint by 4th Officer Boxhall at the inquiries, Captain Smith had retired to his own quarters after speaking to the 2nd Officer on the bridge c.9.30pm. Lightoller went off duty at 10pm. Yet in Fellowes's version the Captain tells his senior staff that he was going to do a tour and then turn in himself.

One last point; the fact that there wasn't enough storage space anywhere on the ship for a small pair of binoculars is ridiculous.

Andrews certainly was not playing cards in any public room just before the collision....

...and as suspected in last week installment, we see Captain Smith chatting with passengers in the hybrid room, which is a fantasy.

Minutes before the iceberg strike, Smith has time to chat to Mr.Batley, who is placed incorrectly in 1st class. But we have testimony from the bridge that mere moments after the strike, Smith rushed on to the bridge from his quarters. In the Fellowes version, he is seen walking in the opposite direction to the bridge.

Its nice to see the iceberg resembling crewman Scarrott's testimony that the ship looked like the rock of Gibraltar (although his sketch showed two peaks rather than the one here); this iceberg was perhaps seen a few days later and photographed by Stephen Rehorek on the steamship Bremen. Most people think that the iceberg was the one seen by the "Prinz Adalbert" the day afterwards with a streak of red at the base (paint? algae?) and it has three peaks. Anyway, take a look at this page if you're interested.
Away from this faint praise, where is lifeboat 1, left swung out at all times for emergencies? It should have been visible as we look along the hull.

The night sky seems to be murky, with stray clouds. On the night the ship sank, the night sky was described as perfectly clear; so clear that one could see the stars as they set below the horizon as the earth revolved beneath them.

Smith and Andrews survey the damage. Since this isn't one of the boiler rooms, it must be one of the forward cargo holds...except that they see the damage from an impossible vantage point. Without climbing ladders into the hold, the only way to see what was going on down there was to peel back the tarpaulins or solid hatchcovers and look down into the room. There was no observation gallery in the cargo hold. Also, note that the cargo holds were forward of the boiler rooms.

So, having seen water flooding in, the duo see boiler room 6. They have obviously come from towards the rear of the ship, but the damage in the screengrab above is from a watertight compartment in front of the boiler room. And yet they are coming from behind it. Andrews tells us "this is as far as it goes" - but there was small damage to the coal bunker of boiler room 5 (behind room 6) which later on swamped that room. And one wonders how Smith'n'Andrews got to the boiler room. In real life, they'd have to climb, or look down escape ladders. Now, they enter the room through a convenient door. On the real Titanic, this wasn't there. Even if it was, it would have meant passing through a coal bunker.

Lightoller is shown being awakened by, presumably, Boxhall, the 4th Officer. But Lightoller was never asleep. Despite turning in at 10pm, he was still awake when the collision occurred, and he felt the impact and the engines come to a halt. He even went on deck to see what was wrong, but he was too late to see the iceberg. He retired back to his room and covered himself up, but was still awake when Boxhall came to his cabin soon afterwards.

Wilde is shown delivering the message that the Carpathia was 4 hours away. In truth, it was junior wireless operator Harold Bride who relayed the message. Lightoller is shown as a maverick who decides to lower the boats on his own behalf; in fact, he did seek out the Captain and got approval. Then Lightoller tells them that the men can swim to the empty places in the boats. No-one cares to mention that the water is lethally cold. In fact, there is some evidence to support the notion that Captain Smith was so concerned as to how few people had been placed in the boats that he hailed them while in the water to return to the Titanic...but the boats never returned. All we get is Smith being unsure as to whether the boats were tested full in Belfast or not. In fact, they were; weights equivalent to 66 men were placed in the boats and they proved themselves adequate. Lightoller himself may have been present during these tests. It would be surprising if Smith wasn't aware of the boat tests.

And Lightoller is shown coming from the starboard side; he was almost exclusively on the port side that night.

Is this supposed to be 5th Officer Lowe, the man with the Welsh [sic] accent? If so, what was he doing here? After coming on deck after awakening, he never went below decks but assisted on the boat deck. (Incidentally, I am now certain that this is the 2nd class purser's office as a sign next to the stairs points up to D deck. The 2nd class office was on E deck, while the 1st class equivalent was on C deck.)

The 3rd class had free reign of their territory on the ship. A few minutes after the collision, 3rd class men were seen heading from their quarters at the bow towards to the stern, along a long wide corridor that allowed crew - and steerage - easy access to the extremes of the ship. No one stopped them, and in fact, some stewards were guiding them. From there, the men joined the single ladies and families at the stern and headed up to their own promenade space on the ship. Again, there were no gates along the corridor to stop them. The only gates that we know of were waist high ones that prevented unauthorised access to the decks above them. Again, these were on the open, upper decks, and not below decks. It is at these decks where some scuffles did take place. Recent research points to a few isolated cases of gates being locked below decks (these gates are not shown on the ship's plans however) but, like Cameron's film, it seems dubious to include such the notion of gross determination by the crew to keep the less desirable passengers below decks.

In this scene, the steward who did led some 3rd class through is later named as "Hart". There was indeed a 3rd class steward by this name on the Titanic. Although some aspects of his story present problems, his tale is as follows: immediately after the crash, he was instructed to waken his passengers and make sure they had lifebelts on. His charges, families and single women at the aft end of the ship, were all awake when he got there and he congregated them in the corridors on E deck. When orders came, it was for "women and children only." He took 30 of them up to the boat deck via a circuitous route and dropped them off by lifeboat 8. He headed down and collected a further 25, passing another lot (including men) who were being escorted up by a colleague named Cox. When Hart got down to his passengers, the men wanted to be brought up too, but some passengers didn't want to leave "their apartments" [luggage?] despite Hart now telling them of the danger. He collected his second bunch together and they entered boat 15.

Compare that to what we saw in Fellowes's fantasy.

The second class are told to make their way to "A" deck. The problem with this is that no 2nd class stairways opened up on to "A" deck. The boat deck and "B" deck, yes, but not the "A" deck promenade. There is some indication that the 2nd class stairway to the boat deck was locked, and 2nd class trapped on "B" deck had to climb ladders to get to the boats (some of the 3rd class who had later transgressed into the 2nd class space on this deck also had to use these ladders).

Lightoller, obviously not having enough to do with being everywhere at once, tries to persuade Dorothy Gibson's mother to put on a lifejacket. He was out on deck at this time, only pausing briefly to head into the officer's quarters to fetch a revolver. And while Miss Gibson appears quite calm here, she was actually in a state of deep anxiety and nervousness, according to passenger William Sloper.

My jaw hit the ground when I heard this line, spoken by Boxhall (identified by Matthew Bowyer - I thought this was Moody); "we are only loading the ladies from 1st class." No woman who wanted to enter a boat was debarred based on her class, and no officer or crewman ever said these words. Admittedly, the later line that the 2nd class "ought" to be on the boat deck is partially correct as there was no way for the 2nd class to get to "A" deck unless one meandered into 1st class, but if a woman was nearby and wanted entrance, regardless of class - she was let in the boat. There were no exceptions. If it was Boxhall who spoke this line, it follows the mini series' predilection of misplacing the crew - the 4th Officer was exclusively at the bridge, helping to fire rockets and using the morse lamp. He definitely wasn't on "A" deck!

1st Officer Murdoch was never on "A" deck that night.

At first, I thought this scene showed boat 4, which was loaded from "A" deck on the forward port side, but then I saw this exterior shot. I am perplexed by it. It seems to be either on the forward port side of the aft starboard side given that we can see three funnels.
But then, we see another boat nearby which is also being lowered to "A" deck - but boat 4 was the only one in this region loaded from this location and all the boats aft of "4" [?] in this area had already gone. This second boat also seems to be lowered from davits held behind a bulwark. The only boats that had davits in such a way were right at the very front of the ship. All other boats had a "gap" between the davit arms, allowing the boats to be freely swung out, rather than being lowered from behind a solid railing. Its almost as if the set for the forward half of the boat deck was re-used, and the rest of the Titanic fading into the distance was digitally added later.
I suspect that this is the aft starboard boat deck and we are seeing boats 9 and 13, but this is a perfect example of sloppy film-making and poor research. The problem is those large windows, which only extended half along the forward end of "A" deck. On this fictitious version, they seem to extend much further forward and aft, much further than they really did. It also looks like "B" deck is an open promenade. In fact, it was comprised of staterooms, and a cafe parisian at this point in the hull.

The boats in this sector of the Titanic were lowered sequentially very soon after each other; starting at the forward end with boat 9, then 11, then 13 and then finally 15 at the extreme end of the deck. And yet, boats 9 and 13 are the only ones left. In fact, boat 15 came right down on top of boat 13 and threatened to crush it, and only the quick action of the crew in cutting the ropes allowed 13 to drift out from under boat 15 in time.

A nice touch; the scene shows a man jumping from the boat deck into "13". Could this be 2nd class passenger Lawrence Beesley, who did this very deed? If so, nice; a shame the rest of the scene is hokum. The boat had already begun to lower when he jumped in.

The Batley's are allowed entry to the boat, but they stop when they see 3rd class women and children running forward towards them. Given that these boats were right at the aft end of "A" deck, I don't see where they could be coming from. Hart stated that he placed his women and children into the boat from the boat deck, and he was adamant on this point. In Fellowes's version, he is on "A" deck. Murdoch, who was on the boat deck in reality, tells Hart to take charge of this boat in this televisual feast. Hart was actually in boat 15 which has already gone judging from the screengrab above, and he wasn't "in charge" - a fireman named Dymond was.

Lightoller tells Guggenheim, his valet and Thomas Andrews that they are freeing collapsibles. Its hard to know when he could taken time out to do this as Lightoller was involved in the struggle to hoist one of the boats down. There is no latency in the time-line for him to go back indoors and look for stragglers. And by this point, Lightoller had worked himself up into such a sweat, that he has shed his officer's jacket.

I feel disinclined to provide a screengrab of a previous scene just to point out one fact; in that scene Giglio awakes his master, in bed with Mme.Aubart. But their steward, Henry Etches, testified in America, "They were in their room. I took the lifebelts out. The lifebelts in this cabin were in the wardrobe, in a small rack, and the cabin was only occupied by two. There were three lifebelts there, and I took the three out and put one on Mr. Guggenheim. He apparently had only gone to his room, for he answered the first knock. He said: "This will hurt." I said, "You have plenty of time, put on some clothes and I will be back in a few minutes."" It is clear from this that only Guggenheim and Giglio were in their room when the call went out for passengers to go up on deck.

This staircase is located where the ship's gymnasium should have been.

Another hokum scene. This is what really happened: on the starboard side, collapsible boat "A" had been shoved onto the boat deck and was being attached to the "falls" (ropes) of the davits that had been vacated by boats 1 and "C". On the port side, Lightoller and others had pushed boat "B" on to the deck, where it landed upside down. Obviously useless, and with the end nigh, Lightoller, still on the roof, crossed over to the starboard side to see the crew still struggling with boat "A" when the boat deck surged under water casting everyone into the sea.

In the ITV version, Lightoller is on deck, on the wrong side of the ship with the wrong lifeboat - and it seems to have an inflatable collar too. The real collapsibles had retractable canvas sides that could be erected in a hurry - hence their name.

Part 3 (8th April, 2012)

A fascinating scene - Lightoller gets the number of eggs on board right (40,000) but gives us erroneous units for the onions (he says 2500, the cargo manifest says 3500 lbs). And he calls Pitman over, lacking his moustache. Funny how Lightoller, Lowe and Pitman are in the warehouse checking stocks on the day of sailing. This would have been done days beforehand, to make sure that they had enough items for the voyage.

The drama shows everyone embarking at the same time, whether you be crewmen or passengers. A correspondent claims that the Titanic's order of embarkation was staggered, but this does not seem to be the case: the different classes had different entrances and could enter separately from the others. Plus, Edwina Troutt in 2nd class recalls looking down into the third class as she entered the ship; she could see the steerage also embarking, and remembering seeing the women undoing their hair for the inspection. Incidentaly, the 2nd class entered the ship not from from the dockside, but from a gangway much higher up and entered via a special terminal building which enabled them to board the ship at "C" deck - not "E" deck. The first class gangways, which went up to "D" and "B" deck are also missing here. By the way, Tom Richards was not a real crewman; a list of those who did not join the ship can be found here.

This is a beautiful shot, but would every single light be on, even those in vacant cabins?

Mrs.Allison and her child are taking a walk...but on the segregated officer's promenade. She then heads off, walking towards the bridge, a definite exclusion zone for passengers (unless by special dispensation from the Captain).

Paolo Sandrini threatens a crewman to letting his waitress friend back into the ship to return to 2nd class. On the real Titanic, this door would have led to the officer's quarters and it is unlikely that unathorised personnel would be allowed through this area unchallenged. A simpler method to get to 2nd class, if one wanted to use the passenger's staircase, was to walk all the way aft on the boat deck...or better yet, use the crew's access staircase near the 3rd funnel which went down to E deck..and then just a few corridors away from 2nd class.

What is a 3rd class steward (Hart) doing in 1st class territory? Chris Puttemans also adds another good immediately after this: "I can add another goof here because right after this screenshot, Hart sees Lady Manton's servant asking him to let her into Third Class, but there was no way to enter steerage from A Deck."

A 1st class dining room steward would not bunk in the same room as a 3rd class steward; they also hear the sound of steam escaping. This is odd, as they would be way down in the innards of the ship (Sandrini would be on "E" deck and Hart on "F" deck, and in the next scene, we see the Maloneys, also on "E" deck also hearing the steam...but no-one in 1st class way above, and closer to the source, hears it.

The chief stoker, whom we see in episode 1, tells his underlings to get the boilers cleared. The only chief stoker (ie- leading fireman) escaped from the boiler room well before it was awash. In the ITV drama, the stokers continue working until water is up to their waists, and then some escape through a watertight door into a flooding whitewashed corridor. The two firemen in the boiler room are resigned to their fate, and one says that he doesn't think they were going to get out of the situation.

In reality: The watertight door closed well before the room was awash, and only two people got through it, emerging into boiler room 5, which was dry. Any men trapped in the boiler room could easily have escape through access ladders to "E" deck. And, from part 2, we know that Captain Smith and Andrews were looking down on the men in the boiler room as they tried to clear the boilers of cinders. This means that Smith and Andrews had completed their inspection of the damaged areas, and got to boiler room 6 before even the watertight doors had been closed. Also, the watertight door was actually located down a little passage, flanked on either side by coal bunkers.

The ubiquitous Lightoller is now also in 2nd class, and he tells Annie that "it looks like" the ship will sink. A clock on a nearby wall seems to show 12.35am, or just after he saw Lord Manton in 1st class. Lightoller would have been on the boat deck, seeing to the loading of the boats at this time.

The stewards got dressed and attended to their duties in assisting the passengers, so why is Sandrini wearing his civillian clothes? He'd be in big trouble if he encountered the head 1st class dining steward who had already ticked him off! Incidentally, there never was any widespread difficulty in getting people to put on lifejackets, and many regarded it as part of a highly inconvenient drill. There are some cases of 3rd class not being able to find lifejackets, though.

The Duff-Gordons come across as snooty and arrogant, with Lady Lucille telling Miss Francatelli that "this [boat] isn't sinking, that one [the Titanic] is." Cosmo Duff Gordon storms onto the boat saying that he was getting on board "if no one else is." Then the crew become rebellious saying that "if they're going so are we." Then both Duff Gordons insist on the boat being lowered. This is despite the qualms of the superintending officer who said that Lightoller insisted that it was only women and children in the boat.

This is a disgusting misrepresentation of what happened. Lady Duff Gordon and Francatelli asked if they could enter the boat, and they were all given permission to do so, and indeed, were helped in. The Duff Gordons never issued orders to get the boat away. The crewmen would never be so insubordinate to a senior officer to tell him they were going to get into a boat without orders. The man in charge of this boat was actually Murdoch (and not Lowe as it would seem here, whose Welsh accent comes and goes in this drama) who was senior to Lightoller and could countermand his "women and children only" directive.

Finally, boat 1 was actually the fourth one lowered from this side of the ship and not the first.

Ismay comes across "an officer" (identified as Moody) trying to hold back the Italian waiters from Gatti's restaurant. Thanks to a handy sign on a bulkhead, this is on B deck, which is the same deck as Ismay's cabin, and the restaurant. But Ismay spent nearly all of the time on the boat deck and it would be stupid - not to say contrary to the evidence that we do have - for him to take a long route aft, away from his cabin, and the bridge to get to his encounter with the "officer." It all becomes stranger if this encounter happened at the restaurant staff's cabin - which was even further down and aft, on "E" deck, meaning Ismay took an unexplained detour down before heading up to the boats.

Did this event ever happen? The staff at Gatti's restaurant did make it on deck, but were prevented from going up to the 2nd class promenade deck (on the open, upper deck rather than deep inside the Titanic) by stewards. Only Paul Mauge, the chef's secretary and a colleague managed to make it past the stewards holding the crowd back - because they were dressed not as stewards and chefs, but in everyday, civillian clothes. So, yes, the "Italians" were held back, but so were the 3rd class in this very area. They were not held back below decks, and there is no proof that they were locked in a tiny little broom cupboard.

I find it odd that Bess Allison is on "D" deck, in the dining saloon while her husband looks for baby Trevor and the maid. Also odd is the route that Mrs.Maloney and her children take from the dining room to get aft on "A" deck where she enters boat 15 (or is it 13?). It would seem that she would have to double back on herself.

6th Officer Moody comes to assist in holding back the third class. All of the officers were on the boat deck at this time. And then, stoker Sandrini is told that holding the steerage back is "company policy."

Insert a suitable expletive of your choice here.

A few points regarding the set here: the canvas collar on the Engelhardt collapsible boat is far too high. And the bulwark (solid metal railing) extends too far aft, meaning that there is a big gap between the end of the boat's aft davits, and the forward davits of the next boat aft. Also, the deck should be littered with ropes ("falls") from the lifeboats that have departed. How else could the ropes be pulled to the nearest eletric winch to haul the boats back on board? Oh silly me; "they can't be brought back."

Part 4 (15th April, 2012)

We see this imposing shot of the Titanic, heading towards the camera. Shame they forgot to colour the sidelights, on either side of the bridge. They should be green (starboard) and red (port).

The windows on the cover for the cargo hatch no.1 should be round, not oval. And they should be covered, or not shown as illuminated as this could interfere with the night vision of the bridge crew (indeed, on the real Titanic, Lightoller made sure that the ship was dark before the bridge after sun set). Later, when the iceberg is seen ahead, the lights coming through the hatch cover are out.

The largest table size in Gatti's restaurant could accommodate only 6 people. And note Ismay, second on the left hand side. While he was in the "a la carte" restaurant that night, he did not seem to have taken part in the Widener's dinner party, held for Captain Smith. Ismay dined at his own private table, with Dr.O'Loughlin.

Doesn't Lightoller spend any time on the bridge? Here he is in the hybrid 1st class room, when he should have been on duty. He also says the passenger list doesn't meet their high expectations. A passenger list that includes the richest, most notable men on the planet?! Of course, Lightoller could be speaking ironically or sarcastically, in which case Linus Roache's delivery of the line is completely flat.

Murdoch is asked how fast the ship is going, and he says "just over 21 knots." Neglecting the fact that neither Wilde nor Murdoch would be on the bridge at the same time, Murdoch is wrong- the ship was going at 22.5 knots. Wilde says that the sea is "Like a mill pond" and Murdoch states that there would be no foam at the base of a rock or an iceberg. This is actually a crude approximation of the conversation between Lightoller and Captain Smith at about 9pm on the bridge. One wonders why Murdoch worries about foam at the base of "a rock." I didn't know there were such things as floating rocks.

A few points about the bridge layout. As I have said before, the helmsman should have been in the wheelhouse, and if he was on the bridge for whatever reason, the ship's wheel would not be set back from the engine room telegraphs, but on the same level. Also, the set shows the bridge having only 5 windows. Outside views and, indeed, the real Titanic, show it having 9.

A continuity gaffe here; in part 1, Murdoch comes on to the bridge after the iceberg warning is given. In part 4, he is already there.

Other points: The wheel is spun; it would actually be turned hand-over-hand as the pneumatic mechanism within would have prevented it spinning. Moody never saw the iceberg (he can't help but have seen it in Fellowes's version) and Hichens (the man at the wheel) wouldn't have either. They wouldn't have seen it because they would have been in the wheelhouse, with its shutters drawn.

The iceberg is moving too slowly along the side of the ship; at 22.5 knots, (and with insufficient time in Fellowes's version to slow down appreciably), the iceberg would have whipped along the ship's side at 38 feet per second (or 11.4 metres per second). The berg is also too large; it was just slightly higher than the boat deck. And Murdoch's instruction to "Find Captain Smith and tell him whats happened" is at variance with the real Titanic. Captain Smith was actually in his quarters at the time of impact and he rushed out within seconds, to ask Murdoch what had happened. Incidentally, Murdoch obviously didn't feel the need to close the watertight doors in this version; on the real ship, he didn't activate the watertight door control until the iceberg was alongside the bridge, as seen by QM Olliver. He would have rung the warning bell some seconds prior to this.
The design of the morse lamp on top of the bridge wing "cab" is also wrong. It is sometimes seen flashing, in a vain attempt to signal the mystery ship seen from the Titanic. But viewers, if they cared, will no doubt be wondering what this strange lamp is for and why it is flickering. Someone else can determine if the lamp is actually flashing valid morse code or not.

Wilde is shown here giving instructions to a steward to lock down the cabins. Wilde was in bed at the time of the impact, but he woke fairly rapidly to inspect damage to the very prow of the ship before returning to the bridge to report his observations. He then spent all the time afterwards on the boat deck, with only a brief respite to fetch a revolver.

The stateroom doors did not have double dead-locks either. But to be fair, one should remember Algernon Barkworth's statement in the Hull "Daily Mail" of May 18th, 1912: he returned to his stateroom but found the door locked. Presumably he had a key, one supposes?

Harry Widener says that he was coming to fetch his mother, but his father told him that she had already left in a boat, and Harry was going to wave her goodbye. Harry then says there are other boats aft, where we see the mad scrum around boat 13 (or is it 15?). The problem is that Mrs.Widener was in boat 4, which left after boat 13/15. And this early on, there was little comprehension that the Titanic would sink. Indeed, not many people knew of the danger at all, and thought that people were safer on the ship than in a "little row boat." In the Fellowes version, things fall apart as soon as the ship hits the iceberg.

"Nice" to see that Fellowes resurrects the fable about John Jacob Astor rescuing the dogs from below decks. There is not one shred of reliable evidence that this ever happened. And their dog - Kitty - was not saved, although three dogs were. One also wonders which boat Mrs.Rushton gets into. Mrs.Astor left in boat 4 - the same as Mrs.Widener, and this left a long time after the boats on the forward starboard deck, which we see here. Colonel Astor could have given the dog to his wife personally. And based on what we know, he never left his wife until she had gone in a boat. What does the ITV version expect us to believe? Astor abandons his pregnant and anxious wife, goes below to fetch the dogs, gives his dog (whom he adored from what I recall) to someone he has probably known no more than four days and then goes back to his wife on the other side of the ship?

Murdoch tells Hart that the boat will split. Murdoch did say that the falls (ropes) would split, but he shouted this down to boat 13 from the boat deck. Also in Hart's boat is a seaman It seems unlikely that Murdoch would ask a steward to take charge of the boat above a trained and experienced seaman.

The Titanic seems to be going down with hardly a list at all. By this time, the bow of the ship would be partially submerged (the portholes below the name were described as being underwater at about 1.00, or maybe 30 minutes before Hart's boat), and half of the propellers would be sticking above the water. In the screengrab above, the port holes of F deck is shown just visible above the waterline from a point just slightly forward of the 4th funnel. Let us look at the situation on the real Titanic:

When boat 13 was launched, a huge discharge of water from a point just forward of its bow forced the lifeboat aft, and under boat 15 which was coming down on top of 13. Fortunately, boat 13 managed to cut the falls just in time to escape being crushed. Where would this vent be? It was at approximately the mid-way point of the last funnel...but just above the waterline, or some 10 feet below F deck. Its hard to see in the screengrab as the person's shoulder to the extreme left is blocking our view, but its a safe bet that in Fellowes's version, this point on his ship is already underwater. On the real Titanic, F deck at this point would be above the water.

The condition of the real Titanic as boats 13 and 15 left the ship.

If Hart was in charge of the boat, why is he not at the tiller? The lamp in the boat is spurious too; apart from a few launched from the forward port side, none of the boats had lamps. And isn't it strange that none of the lifeboats have numbers on them (incidentally, the "S.S. Titanic" designation is correct as the lifeboats were indeed labelled as such).

If Murdoch did fire a gun, it certainly wasn't here. He was never on A deck. His weapon firing, still controversial, would have happened in the area of boats "A" and "C" - forward on the boat deck.

Jack Thayer Jr. tells us that us that he was denied entry to a boat despite his mother's "spirited attempts." This is what really happened, in his own words: "Father and I said goodbye to mother at the top of the stairs on 'A' deck. She and the maid went right out on 'A' deck on the port side and we went to the starboard side...Then we thought we would go back to see if mother had gotten off safely, and went to the port side of 'A' deck. We met the chief steward of the main dining saloon and he told us that mother had not yet taken a boat, and he took us to her. Father and mother went ahead and I followed. They went down to 'B' deck [sic? - 'A' deck, where Mrs.Thayers boat, No.4, departed from?] and a crowd got in front of me and I was not able to catch them, and lost sight of them." Thayer did not see his mother until after the rescue; he never saw his father again.

The boat that Thayer and his friend, presumably Milton Long, are looking at has a lamp- but no boats on the starboard side carried one. And all the boats on the portion of the ship, bar boat "C" which left later, departed well before the one carrying Thayer's mother.

When Lowe left the Titanic, it was in boat 14, and not "C". 14 was launched earlier and from the exact opposite side of the Titanic than the one shown here, and when it was lowered, Lowe had to fire his gun into the air to quell a panic (by "Italians" as he described them) from rushing the boat. And when Lowe did leave the Titanic, he was not ordered in by a superior officer.

The actual circumstances of Ismay's escape are controversial, as detailed in an essay of mine but it seems to have been in the midst of mad rush to enter the boat, with men being ejected from the craft, and guns being fired. Compare that to Fellowes's version. Ismay was also not fully dressed; he had on a dressing gown and may have pulled a pair of trousers on over his pyjamas, but he certainly was not fully attired. Note in the background the crew are putting up a trellis to lower a lifeboat down from the roof of the officer's quarters. Nothing so fancy was used; a few convenient oars or planks were used to help ease the boat down. Maybe the crew were thinking of putting up some ivy on the boat deck of the Titanic in their fancy framework?

Mr.Maloney finds his daughter Theresa huddled next to one of the non-existant gates. Neglecting the fact that he could easily have taken his daughter down the corridor very easily rather than waiting meekly to die, we must ask necessary questions about the Titanic's layout. 3rd class were stationed in two areas of the ship; men at the bow, with familes and single women at the stern with a connecting corridor between these two areas. The males only area would have been flooded and thus inaccessible by this point, and the stern portion for steerage would be well above the waterline. Theresa's last refuge would be quite dry.

John Jacob Astor is seen trying to right the upturned lifeboat. We can't be sure exactly where he was at this point, but no-one recalls him helping with a boat.

With thanks to Matthew Chapman for this goof: " Here, in Episode 4, towards the end, we see three funnels beyond the point of the gym and staircase entrance, placing this area further after than shown in the rest of the show."

Jack Thayer Jr jumps into the water. Note that "A" deck is parallel to the water, and hence the boat deck would be dry too. So how were Lightoller, the Batleys, Astor, the Allisons etc. all swamped by the water cascading towards them? A few scenes before, Mario (?) Sandrini's makeshift raft of lashed together deck chairs went rolling away from him due to the forward list. And now the ship is on an even keel. Incidentally, talking of the list, a little while before the end of the Titanic, she is described as having a huge list to port, sufficient to make people think that the ship would capsize. The only hint we have of this list is a slight incline when Smith and Murdoch meet for the last time.

Astor winds up in the water at a point aft of Thayer's jump, so somewhere about amidships (the middle point of the ship). He then swims away from the Titanic, where the funnel falls. This would therefore indicate that it was the 3rd funnel that fell. However, at this time, the funnel that fell was really the very first funnel - or several hundred feet forward of where Astor is located. Fellowes obviously believes those stories that Astor was crushed when the funnel fell on him, and for decades people talked of his body being a mass of soot encrusted pulp when retrieved days later. In fact, the cable laying ship Mackay Bennett, chartered by the White Star Line to retrieve bodies made a careful inventory of the conditions of all bodies. Apart from some inevitable decay caused by his time in the water, Astor's body was pristine.

Boat "B" should have been closer to the ship - Jack Thayer Jr talks of the propellers being right above the heads of those on the boat. Indeed, when the ship plunged under, there were many people on the boat, including Lightoller, who we see clambering on board later.
The funnels show that steam is still being emitted from the discharge pipes; this would have been finished over an hour before. The Titanic is also missing its no.1 funnel, which is correct, but doesn't jibe with Astor's death (see above) which shows a funnel further aft falling. The sky is wrong, showing a murky, cloudy night. In fact, the brilliance of the starlit night was commented upon by many people, and the visibility was perfect. Also, the funnels are too far apart.

A nice little touch is that when the ship breaks up, we hear the famous "Wilhelm scream".

We have a witness, still on board the Titanic, who described funnel no.4 canting aft; Fellowes's version shows it toppling to port. Also, when the ship goes under, the rudder is shown pointing to port, consistent with the "hard a starboard" order, but not the order given straight after this ("hard a port") or the condition of the wreck (where the rudder is shown in the "dead ahead" position).

Lady Duff-Gordon actually said, "There is your beautiful nightdress gone" when referring to Laura Francatelli's attire. However, fireman Robert Pusey, diligently pulling at one of the oars in boat 1, puts this statement at close to 3am, or about 40 minutes after the sinking and not straight after the Titanic had foundered. It still remains an unfeeling comment.

Personally, I would have preferred Lady Duff Gordon not to have been so lucid. She was evidently not a good sailor as she spent a fair portion of the time reclining on the unusued oars, or being sea sick over the side of the boat.

The Mantons implore the occupants of the boat to go back to help, but a 1st class lady nearby declares her reluctance; in fact, in this boat ("C") there were no 1st class apart from Mr.Ismay and Mr.Carter. Lowe's temparement is shown to be quite conciliatory, even humble. On the real Titanic, he was more "gung-ho", telling some of the more excitable ladies in his charge that they "should take a nap" and that they should consider themselves under his command. His fiery nature led some to believe that Lowe was drunk; he was in fact teetotal. In this drama, Lowe says that he would go back after they had made some space and tells the others to row to other boats and make up a pontoon, freeing up a boat. In 1912 Lowe said the reason he waited was for the situation to quieten down, fearing a scramble to get into his boat.

On various message boards, some have decried the fact that the few people in the water show no discomfort from being cast into icy cold seas, or the fact that the piercing wailing of the dying, imploring those in the boats to return, seems subdued. A point I would like to make is that the people on boat "B" were not hunched over the boat, but were mostly standing and trying to maintain the boat's equilibrium. The inflatable collar, which was not on the real boat "B" is obviously a big help in keeping this craft afloat!

This is a strange goof. The helmsman says that he's not going back, and from his temperament we can assume this is supposed to be Hichens, in boat 6. In 1912, Hichens talked of "it's our lives now, not theirs [the people in the water]"; he also told those in his boat that they would be swamped if they went back, and that there were only "a load of stiffs" at the wrecksite.

But which boat is this? Hichens was in boat 6, but we also have Margaret ("Molly" [sic]) Brown which is correct - but we also have the Countess of Rothes (boat 8) and Mrs.Widener (boat 4). In boat 8, the helsman, seaman Jones, wanted to return to effect a rescue but was talked out of it by some argumentative stewards who told him that if he didn't "stop talking through that hole in his face, there will be one less in the boat." Boat 8 never returned, and neither did no.6; in boat 8, the Countess of Rothes takes the tiller (which we see in this version), but in no.6, Hichens refused to surrender his post. Boat 4 did go back and rescued a few people from the water.

So, we have 3 individual boats meshed into one peculiar hybrid.

What actually happened in boat 1 remains controversial to this day as very few agreed on what was said and done - see here and here. What is certain is that Lord Duff Gordon only offered to pay the crew £5 to start a new "kit" (clothes etc.) to replace their possessions lost when the ship went down. In Fellowes's script, it is depicted as a blatant bribe.

Some of the boats are marshalled together; they should really be nose-to-tail rather than side by side. The boats that were really tied together on April 15th, 1912 were 14 (under Lowe's command), "D", 4, 10 and 12. Boat "D" was a collapsible, like Ismay's, and should have a retractable canvas collar surrounding it. What we seem to have is "C" (under Lowe [sic]), Dorothy Gibson's (boat 7 in reality, but God knows which one here), Mrs.Thayer's (in boat 4) and one other. Where is the 5th boat? We can only see 4 here.

The boats here also have lamps; none of them were so equipped.

Lightoller didn't suggest saying the Lord's prayer; one of the members of the crew [a fireman?] inquired of the religion of the other occupants of the boat and they revealed a mix of denominations and "the suggestion [to recite the Lord's Prayer]...met with instant approval, and our voices with one accord burst forth..." Junior Wireless Officer Bride recalled that the "crewman" was the leader in its recitation.

We return to the hybrid lifeboat. The Countess of Rothes takes the tiller - she did in boay 8, but with seaman Jones' (the man at the tiller) blessing. But the behaviour of the man at the tiller seems to be indicative of boat 6...oh well. Other problems arise too. In addition to the helmsman, there are 2, maybe 3 seamen in the boat. Boat 6 only had one seaman (in addition to the helmsman), boat 8 had one seaman (Jones) and boat 4 had four seamen, two of whom were picked up from the ocean. It is clear that no rescue had taken place in this peculiar Fellowes boat, so there should have been only two in evidence.

We see only a few bodies in the water when this boat (in reality, no.14) went back. Granted, extras can be expensive but surely a few mannequins could have been obtained? The 1912 description of the sea was that it was choked with bodies, which made it difficult to row through. This Fellowes boat is also undermanned; it has Lowe and two other oarsmen; in 1912, it should have had about 6 oarsmen. And Lowe had an electric torch, not a lamp as shown in this scene.

Again, the strange hybrid boat returns to the rescue. As stated, boats 6 and 8 never returned, but boat 4 did. But this was before it became part of Lowe's collection of boats.

Once Lowe left his bunch o'boats to search for survivors, he never returned to them, and they eventually cut loose and made their own way to the Carpathia. Lowe hoisted a sail and rejoined boat "D" which he took in tow, and rescued those standing on another injured lifeboat, "A". In the ITV drama, Lowe returns to his people having found 3 people; one was dead, and another one was close to passing on. Reports are sketchy on this matter, but 3 or 4 people were indeed recovered, one of whom died soon after being pulled from the water. And no, it wasn't Paolo Sandrini, but a 1st class passenger by the name of Hoyt.

Lightoller and the other people on boat "B" were not picked up until after daybreak, when the 2nd officer used his whistle to attract boats 12 and 4 which were in the vicinity; therefore, Lightoller never did join Lowe's posse of boats. Jack Thayer Jr. did not meet his mother until they were both on board the Carpathia - despite Jack being transferred from "B" to 4, where his mother way. Rather callously, Mrs.Thayer does not ask her son if he has seen his father.

A murky screengrab, and for this I apologise, but this is what we had to live with for the last half hour of the drama. The lack of stars is obvious, as is the absence of debris on the surface of the water - large amounts of deckchairs, cork (used to insulate cargo areas from the heat generated by nearby engineering equipment), quantities of wood from cabins, doors, deck planking, staircases, wardrobes...even bedding from cabins. The next morning, the debris was described as being like an "island" but only one body was seen when the Carpathia did a last search of the area. By the time the Carpathia's rockets were seen, there should have been 1500 bodies scattered across the sea. But all we have are a few lifeboats in the ITV version.

There is one postscript I would like to add; the admission that there would be a drama written by Fellowes was common knowledge at the end of 2010, and I wrote to him at the House of Lords, listing my credentials and suggesting that if he wanted someone to help with research, would he please bear me in mind? He wrote back in January 2011 and declined the offer saying that he had done all the necessary research. At any rate, filming started about four months later and I took him at his word.

I would ask anyone who saw the ITV drama, and who knows something of the real history, if they thought that any research, other than a scant reading of a few Titanic texts, was performed at all. My feeling is "no." Embellishments for the sake of drama may be a proferred excuse, but if so, it is a pathetic one, as the drama itself was flimsy and the 4-part structure, which sought to re-start the story at the beginning of each episode, was universally derided. The excessive amount of cash squandered on this feeble historical cash-in has certainly angered the cast of the successful ITV series "Wild At Heart", which was axed in a cost-cutting exercise, it was claimed, despite it having an audience in excess of double of Fellowes's Farce.

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