Celia is on board with all things Titanic

Actress and author Celia Imrie has revealed that she has always been “obsessed with the Titanic” and that she is linked to one of the most notorious survivors of the sinking of the ship.

The 69-year-old Bridget Jones and Mamma Mia star, who appeared in a 2012 television series on the Belfast-built liner, even put the ill-fated ship, which sank in 1912, in her latest novel.

She told Showbiz Life: “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t absolutely fascinated. But what’s interesting is realizing that it’s global. Everyone in LA is absolutely obsessed with the Titanic.

“So yeah, for as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated, and it continues – people are still obsessed with it.

“It’s hard to put your finger on it. It’s a mix of her sinking on her maiden voyage – that’s one thing that’s huge – and I guess they advertised it as unsinkable, and that’s the greatest luxury on a floating ship.

“They made sure that all of the richest people in the world were involved in it, and for it to fall off and then all to die… I mean, there’s kind of a feeling of fate about it.”

Calendar Girls actress Celia also has a family connection to the ship – she is linked to Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon. He became infamous after it emerged that he had boarded a lifeboat with his wife despite the captain’s rule of “women and children first”. He was also accused of bribing the crew with a check for £ 5 not to return for survivors. The Scottish landowner died at the age of 68 in 1931, almost 20 years after the sinking of the Titanic.

Celia said: “I am connected to him. My cousin by marriage was his great-grandmother.

The actress has another connection to the Titanic – her great-uncle William Imrie was one of the founders of White Star Line, which owned the Titanic.

Based on a true story, his latest novel Les Orphelins de la tempête tells the story of Michel and Edmond Navratil, aged four and two, and their parents Marcella and Michael.

When the young woman files for divorce – a daring thing to do in turn-of-the-century France – Michael runs away with their children and finds himself on the Titanic. It is only after seeing reports of two young children rescued at sea that a frantic Marcella realizes that they are her boys. Proving it to the watching world will test his courage and determination.

“This [the book] it all started with an exhibition in Southampton, where I was struck by this adorable photograph of these three little boys, ages two and three, ”she said.

“I realized that they were from Nice and that it was a link with other books that I had written. Because it was based on a true story, it was irresistible.

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