Screentime to produce Batavia miniseries

Screentime has acquired the rights to Peter FitzSimons’ bestseller Batavia, to be produced as a six-hour miniseries.

Based on the historical events of 1629 when a Dutch merchant ship foundered off the coast of Western Australia, Batavia combines sea-faring adventure, the battle of good versus evil, mutiny, ship-wreck, love, lust, criminality, a reign of terror, sexual slavery, natural nobility, survival, retribution, rescue and the birth of the world’s first corporation.

In making the announcement Executive Chairman of Screentime, Des Monaghan said: “I am delighted that we have been successful inacquiring the rights to Batavia. Peter FitzSimons has brought to vivid life this truly extraordinary chapter in Australia’s history. The book deserves its best seller status and we look forward to bringing it to the screen as a big budget major television event.”

Describing it as “an Adults Only version of Lord of the Flies, meets Nightmare on Elm Street” author PeterFitzSimons’ said: “Batavia is far and away the greatest story in Australia’s history, if not the world’s. I have received hundreds of emails from people who’ve read it, asking ‘when is it coming to the screen?’ and now I have an answer. And I couldn’t be more pleased that Screentime is doing it. I have loved their Underbelly series, and thought their treatment of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet was as good as it gets.”

No broadcaster has been announced yet.


  1. When I first heard Fitzsimons talking of the Batavia on ABCs radio nationals conversation hour and since reading his book I thought the story had all the elements for an epic movie that has to be made. The full scale replica has to feature and surely the Dutch government would allow it as a symbol of its nations historical significance in early navigation and the worlds first corporate power. This was the Titanic of its day and with the drama associated I can see that it is one of the worlds greatest stories.

  2. Fantastic news! I bet Gary Crew (Strange Objects) and Arabella Edge (The Company) and the author of The Blue-eyed Aborigine (another Jan Pelgrom story) wish that theirs had been picked up. Can’t wait!

  3. If Peter FitzSimons thinks ” this is the greatest story in Australia’s history, if not the world’s” – is he really aware of the history and happenings in the world, that leave this as a minor happening when compared to unbelievable history in more ancient cultures.

  4. That reference is a bit circular: ‘Lord of the Flies’ was inspired by the story of the Batavia. If anything LotF is the adolescent re-telling of the Batavia. 🙂
    I am amazed it has taken us this long to give Batavia the film/book treatment. It seriously makes Mutiny on the Bounty look like a Gilligan’s Island.

  5. I’ve thought for years now that somebody should make a movie out of the story of the Batavia. There is even a full-scale replica of the Batavia that they could use for filming.

  6. Adults only Lord of the Flies. Heaven save us. Showtime or ABC I guess. I’m pretty bored with these Screentime non-announcements. What does it mean if you don’t have a broadcaster? Don’t producers acquire rights to books every day? If it’s anything like Mary Bryant I’m squirming already.

  7. A quote from Peter FitzSimons in this article has left me reeling. “Batavia is far and away the greatest story in Australia’s history, if not the world’s.”

    If FitzSimons actually said this, then he is seriously deluded!

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