BBC To Film On Islands For New Documentary On Famous Wrecks

Porthellick Beach

Porth Hellick Beach

One of the worst naval disasters in British history, which occurred in the waters off Scilly, is to feature in a new documentary being recorded for BBC Four.

The 1707 wreck of the HMS Association and three other warships during a fierce storm resulted in the loss of over 1,400 sailors.

But Producer Francis Welch, who works for the BBC Arts department, says it’s not the archaeology of the disaster that they’re concentrating on, but the way it affected the literature and art of the time.

His team will be filming on the islands for two days this summer.

They’ll be featuring interviews with local historian Richard Larn, and visiting the museum and locations linked to the disaster.

Francis says they’re particularly interested in the local folklore linked to the events in 1707.

One famous story is that the Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Cloudesley Shovell, was washed up alive at Porth Hellick, but was then killed and his emerald ring stolen by a local woman.

There’s also a story that a Scillonian man was on board one of the vessels and, recognising local landmarks, warned the Admiral that they were off course. He was said to have been hanged from the yardarm for mutiny.

Francis says the production team are keen to hear from any locals with artefacts linked to the disaster or with less well-known stories and legends about the events.

It’s hoped that the series of three one-hour documentaries will air sometime in the New Year.

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