In the end, I shouldn't blame the iceberg, but I do. The bugger should have stayed where it was and saved us all the trouble. But no.

Instead, sometime during the winter of 1911 and 1912 (probably), this bloody titanic chunk of ice broke off Greenland's Jakobshavn glacier (probably) and, after smashing through the pack ice, drifted slowly and majestically into Baffin Bay, then into the North Atlantic and thus into history. On the cold, still night of April 15, 1912, this big lump of frozen, ancient water had a bit of an accident which cost, tragically, around 1500 lives and - rather less tragically I admit - went on to waste, a hundred years on, yet another precious hour of my life.

Arguably, I should have seen Julian Fellowes' Titanic (TV One, 8.30pm, Fridays) coming. After all, the centenary of the sinking of this once good ship has been creeping up on us - though perhaps not as quietly as an iceberg on a cold, still night - for the past hundred years. And I had also watched, to my eternal shame, the entire, ludicrous second season of Fellowes' Downton Abbey, plus the two-part Christmas special.

Then there is the pack ice: the plethora of Titanic-related television - though I'm not sure the word plethora quite covers the sheer magnitude - that has, this past week, been dominating the documentary channels on Sky.


I watched a little bit of James Cameron's Titanic 100, which confirmed only one thing: Cameron is an unsinkable bore.

Then there was Nazi Titanic. It established only that the makers of this "documentary" had concluded that the best way to sell yet another Titanic documentary was for the word "Titanic" to have a tragic and unforeseen collision with the word "Nazi" and thereby attract a giant audience combining Nazi conspiracy theorists with Titanic conspiracy theorists. The result, as you'd imagine, was a triumph of paranoia (or was it?) over edification.

But Fellowes' drama, on the strength (or rather weakness) of its first episode, is by far and away the greatest centenary calamity. Never has so much been wasted for so little. Britain's ITV spent in the region of $24 million on this four-part miniseries. The result of all those millions is an empty exercise mixing tired costume drama with a tedious, right-on lecture about the evils of the class system.

I might just might have been able to bear that if every single character on Fellowes' Titanic wasn't, on top of being one dimensional and cliched, so bloody disagreeable.

This is a ship of titanic moaners; the RMS Antagonistic. Almost every character has been written in violent opposition to another so that characters don't interact, they fight for no other reason than that they happen to be in the same room as someone from a higher or lower class and that that someone is perceived as a third class scumbag, a second class crawler, a first class cad, a slut or snob.

The leaden script for part one delivered such tediously class conscious clangers as: "I don't believe in doing the done thing. If I do a thing, I like to know why I'm doing it" and "We are a political family, you, I think, have always been in trade".

Fellowes has now delivered not one, but two, anachronistic television dramas where a partly fictive past has been used to bluntly, clumsily and tiresomely lecture the present about social status. Maybe that still plays well in Britain. But I, for one, have had enough. Will someone please stop giving him money? Now.