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Titanic producer takes blame for falling ratings

Titanic, ITV

Story by Jack Foley

NIGEL Stafford-Clark, producer of ITV’s Titanic, has taken the blame for the show’s declining ratings on the Sunday nights since its launch.

The epic mini-series, rumoured to have cost £12 million to produce, was written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and follows the lives of various crew members and passengers in a non-linear fashion that culminates in each episode with the ill-fated ship hitting the iceberg.

It opened with nearly seven million viewers in March but has since lost over half its audience, prompting many critics to label it a disappointment.

In an interview with the Guardian, Stafford-Clark said he now felt that the show’s non-linear plot had been a bigger problem than he initially foresaw and absolved Fellowes from any blame for his writing.

He said: “I have to accept that people have found it [the non-linear approach] hard to get around. In that sense I am responsible.

“The scripts were very good. Julian is not in any way responsible for this. He wrote the scripts over 18 months to two years, it was not done in a hurry. The series was sold off the back of the script.”

ITV continues to be proud of the series, however, and view it as a commercial success in spite of its declining viewers largely because it has successfully been sold to almost 100 countries. It also expects buoyant DVD sales.

Executive producer Simon Vaughan commented: “As a piece of business it’s been exceptional, financially extremely valuable to everyone involved.”

While a spokesman for ITV itself said: “The 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking was marked with programmes from all the channels, and we are proud to have offered our audience a new drama that had real scale and ambition.”

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