Coming Soon - The Captain Bligh Conspiracy: Revealed

the captain bligh conspiracy: revealed

The historical documentary series continues with a look at Captain Bligh, who has been immortalised in countless depictions of the mutiny on the Bounty –one of the most infamous episodes in maritime history. Hollywood and more than 2,000 books have made sure that the popular understanding of this brief event, which took place on the deck of a ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean over 200 years ago, is quite cut and dried: Captain Bligh was an evil tyrant; Fletcher Christian a romantic hero.

Bligh’s great, great, great, great, great, grandson Mark Arundel has arrived in London on a mission. For as long as he can remember, he has been told that the Bligh family name was dragged through the mud –and he wants to find out whether his ancestor’s evil reputation is deserved.

Taking Charles Laughton’s monstrous Bligh of the1935 film as his journey’s starting point, Arundel embarks on a quest to unravel the truth about his ancestor. He will trawl the archives and meet historians in a bid to dispel the myths of time. Along the way, Arundel’s investigation will take in rare documents, artefacts and even plants as he attempts to turn a popular myth on its head.

About the author

  • He should have saved his money, stayed at home, and read the best half dozen books about Bligh, Bounty, the mutiny and Pitcairn, as all the work on Bligh and Christian and demythologising the event has been done. The problem with popular myths is that they don’t go away, or else all this would have been sorted out by Mackaness in the 1930s…

    Anyone using a very misleading 1935 movie of an event as a starting point deserves to be as confused and ambivalent at the end as at the beginning.

    Ian Campbell, Launceston, Tas, Australia,

  • J

    I always learn something new about The Bounty and Pitcairn when I talk
    to Ian. He never ceases to amaze me with his encyclopedic knowledge
    about this topic. He literally remember everything he reads, and I
    his writing is really informative, too.

  • Mark Arundel could have saved himself a trip to England had he consulted with his distant cousin, Maurice Bligh, himself a Historian regarding “Bligh” and the Bounty saga and thereby giving credence to all that Admiral Bligh and his reputation were known by, by not committing himself to such a fiasco as this so-called “documentary”

    A very ‘biased’ affair by Mr. Glynn Christian and vain in his having confronted Mr. Arundel and reassuring Mark that his ancestor was indeed “The Bounty Bastard” etc. If William Bligh were my ancestor, I would have been insulted extremely. Poor Mark! He should have known better.

    Letter from Thomas Ledward to his uncle
    From the Cape of Good Hope May 1788.

    After describing “a continual series of the most violent and distressing weather that ever was experienced, Mr Huggan, our surgeon, fell down and dislocated his shoulder, which I reduced with great satisfaction and I hope credit… The ship laboured so much that there was danger of rendering her unfit for the further prosecution of the voyage, and the captain was therefore obliged to bear away, and I have no doubt will gain much credit by his resolution and perseverance and by the extreme care he took of the ship’s company.”

    Notes and Queries. 1903, 9th Series, vol. Xii p. 501

    On Board The Bounty at St. Helens
    10th Dec 1787
    “The La Nymphe was paid off about a week ago, and I immediately agreed with Captain Blyth of the Bounty to go with him to Otahete to transplant Breadfruit trees to Jamaica, we go by Cape Horn and return by Cape of Good Hope. The Navy board has not allowed her a Surgeon’s Mate, but the Captain was unwilling to trust the lives of 45 men so far from home with only one Medical person on board. I therefore do the duty of a Surgeon’s Mate, though only entered as an able Sailor”.

    I ask, does this sound like Captain Bligh did not care about his crew? Hardly!

    Bligh was not only concerned with how the men ate, but also what they ate and daily exercise after evening shifts by dancing to Michael Byrne’s fiddle. How many ships in His Majesty’s Navy had ever shown such care? And, no Scurvy on the Bounty.

    Bligh provided woods stoves to dry the crews clothing during the harsh weather the Bounty encountered enroute to Tahiti. The ‘Great Cabin’ was given to the crew to not only dry out in at Cape Horn, but also to hang their hammocks in. Regular crews quarters had been saturated by the seas and dampness encountered while attempting to round-the-horn. How often would this occur in the Royal Navy by any Captains of the day? Virtually none!

    Admiral Bligh was not only a great Captain, but a most caring Captain and nothing but also what could be described as the best conditions at the time for his crew of 45 men.

    Bligh had a further test, that of getting his 18-loyalist crew who accompanied him in the Bounty’s launch to safety after having been set adrift to what seemed like certain death. 4200 miles in an open boat in the most severe weather and to Coupang, Timor, then another month or so to Batavia, Indonesia to catch the Dutch Fleet and safety back to Cape Hope and on back to England. No light task! And, thanks to Fletcher Christian, the death of John Norton a couple of days later [about April 30th, 1789]at Tufoa at the hands of the natives there. More loyalist deaths to come due to Fletcher Christian after arriving at Timor and Batavia. We won’t go into the deaths of the natives caused by Christian and his band of pirates at Tubuai.

    Mr. Glynn Christian is “totally wrong” when it comes to Admiral William Bligh. Shame on “Zig-Zag Productions” for not presenting “the truth” regarding Admiral Bligh and the poor and inexcusable behavior of Master’s Mate, Fletcher Christian.

    Piracy is piracy and a pirate is a pirate. Captain Fletcher Christian of the newly acquired pirate ship ‘Bounty’ and her new pirate crew would certainly testify to that.

    Who is the ‘hero’ and who is the ‘villian’ here? I think we all know the answer to that!

    David Townsend
    g.g.g.g. Nephew
    Thomas Ledward, surgeon & loyalist of the H.M.A.V. Bounty

  • From Finland

    I just watched this absolut rubbish-tv-program from finnish tv yle, and I just had to comment. Showing this kind of lies and distortioning of history on tv should be criminal, because lots of people believe it, however there are many reliable books written about mutiny on Bounty, and I have red one of them many times. Of course mr.Arundel wants to defend his relative, but there should be some limits to that.
    About Capt. Bligh: He allowed few men to be hanged, because of him, and would have wanted Peter Heywood too, if it was up to him, even though he know he was innocent.
    Please don’t show this kind of biased rubbish on any where else on tv!

  • From Finland

    I just saw this absolut rubbish tv-program from finnish tv yle, and I had to comment. How can they put on the air this kind of lies and distortioning of history? The whole program was childishly made and bias. I can understand mr. Arundel wants to defend his relative, but there should be some limits to that.
    There are many books written about the mutiny, and i have red one of them many times. About Capt.Bligh: He allowed few men to be hanged because of him, and would have wanted Peter Heywood too, if it wass up to him.
    Bad work.This kind of programs shouldn’t be allowed on tv at all!

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