The Sinking of the Concordia: Caught On Camera, Review


Julian Fellowes’ ham-fisted series based on the Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage lurches towards an inflated conclusion on Sunday, despite taking on water with every dodgy accent and unsubtle class divide. But last night’s The Sinking of the Concordia was a far more captivating look at maritime incompetence. The whole thing may have been filmed on smartphones by those who survived the disaster, but so many scenes were eerily familiar from the ITV series and James Cameron’s iconic film before it.

We watched as waiters blamed an ‘electrical fault’, we saw confused people dash about the decks in life-jackets and heard the screams as a lifeboat dropped towards the water. If it hadn’t been for the shaky hand-cam, a lack of dinner jackets and the absence of a band with the stiffest upper-lips in British history, it would have been hard to tell the difference between this C4 documentary and the Oscar-winning 1997 epic.

If anything, the crew – and in particular the captain – of the Concordia were far more useless than their 1912 counterparts. This was a vessel which hit trouble less than a mile from land and with more than enough equipment to get everyone to safety, but tragically resulted in the deaths of more than thirty of the 4,252 souls aboard. Many viewers will remember Captain Schettino explaining that he “fell in a lifeboat and couldn’t get out” when Italian authorities began to examine how the Concordia ran aground in January and there’s not much to absolve him from any blame here.

Indeed the camera on the bridge reveals that he only ordered everyone to abandon ship once he heard that passengers were making there way to the lifeboats on their own. The delay was crucial because shortly afterwards, the cruiser listed badly, making escape far more difficult. Given the aforementioned circumstances, it’s difficult to come to any conclusion that he was completely responsible for the loss of life on that fateful evening. Footage of him quaffing champagne with some American ladies doesn’t help either..