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Tim Purcell’s film, Flinders – Unchartered Waters plans to tell story of Donington’s famous son Matthew Flinders





Proposals for a dramatic feature film about a famous explorer and a campaign to make him a posthumous Fellow of the Royal Society are in the pipeline.

Screenwriter and director Tim Purcell’s film, Flinders – Unchartered Waters, tells the true story of British Naval captain and explorer Matthew Flinders' seven year imprisonment on the paradise island of Mauritius during the Napoleonic Wars, and his love affair with the daughter of a French plantation owner.

Mr Purcell is seeking support from members of the royal family - who may have links with Donington’s famous son, who discovered Australia - to grant Flinders an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society.

Matthew Flinders will be reburied in Donington Parish Church
Matthew Flinders will be reburied in Donington Parish Church

He said: “Our proposals for a feature film on Matthew Flinders now extends to a campaign to have him made a posthumous Fellow of the Royal Society because of his extensive scientific achievements during his lifetime.

“Whilst incarcerated in Mauritius he was able to smuggle out two important scientific papers that were presented to the Royal Society by his patron, Sir Joseph Banks.

“They have relevance today and remain in their archives.”

Tim Purcell is a screenwriter
Tim Purcell is a screenwriter

Flinders’ coffin was recently discovered by archaeologists working on the HS2 project.

It was buried in London in 1814 and uncovered during excavations of a burial site near Euston Station in 2019, sparking huge interest across the globe.

Mr Purcell, of Wing, Buckinghamshire, said: “There is no precedent for this, but they could possibly grant him an Honorary Fellowship, for which we are also seeking royal support as Patrons of The Royal Society, who have links to Matthew Flinders.

“Prince Edward unveiled the monument to Matthew Flinders in Baie du Cap, Mauritius, and Prince William the Matthew Flinders statue outside Euston Station.

“In this I am being helped by a former Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, a friend who lives in our village, and the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, who will be contacting her counterpart in Lincolnshire.

The statue of Matthew Flinders in Donington
The statue of Matthew Flinders in Donington

“We already have the support of the Royal Institute of Navigation, the renowned historian, Dr Marina Carter, Gillian Dooley of Flinders University Adelaide and the Mauritian director of tourism, Ashwin Seetaram, who holds a degree from that university.”

A date has been set for July 13 for the re-interment at the St Mary and Holy Rood Church in Donington. Three days of celebrations are planned.

Mr Purcell said: “This will be a dramatic feature film with the right balance of action, jeopardy, tension, friendships and romance, out of which Captain Matthew Flinders emerges as a faithful hero.

“The premiere is planned to coincide with that event next year.

“This is a story of forgotten values, honour and chivalry, war and love set against a steamy tropical backdrop, and the epic events that created a new nation, Mauritius, a Commonwealth country.”

The film is to be directed by award-winning Nadia Tass, which will be a co-production with her company Cascade Films, Australia, and is majority funded by Mauritian private equity investors and Government film incentives, which Mr Purcell helped introduce in 2012.

He said: “The short teaser has been produced, not as a trailer, but to show how Matthew Flinders, who has more than 2,000 places, geographical features and institutions named after him in Australia, has been all but forgotten in his home land, and why this has to be rectified.

“This will be developed as a series of podcasts leading up to the film's release.”



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