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Mutiny On The Bounty: Can Channel 4's Team Survive The Infamous Journey?

Adrift at sea on a 23ft open wooden boat.

06/03/2017 16:07 | Updated 07 March 2017

On Tuesday night a two-part documentary that sees a crew re-live the perilous maritime adventure of the Mutiny on the Bounty voyage will conclude on Channel 4.

Former Special Forces instructor Anthony Middleton led the expedition of nine men from Tonga to Timor, captaining a 23ft open wooden boat.

They used the 225-year-old diary kept by Captain William Bligh during the original voyage as a survival handbook in unpredictable and often brutal environments.

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An etching of the Mutiny on the Bounty, on display at the British Museum in London 

They faced sudden storms, treacherous reefs and the challenge of landing on isolated tropical islands to hunt for vital supplies, as Bligh’s men did.

230 years ago, British navy ship HMS Bounty was sailing from England to the West Indies to collect a cargo of breadfruit.

After a 10-month journey, the HMS Bounty arrived in Tahiti, where it remained for five months. On April 4 1789, the vessel departed Tahiti, but by the 28th, a poisonous rift had developed between its crew and its tough young captain - William Bligh.

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Vice admiral William Bligh, who was commanding the HMS Bounty when the mutiny occurred 
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The Pacific Island of Pitcairn, which was settled by mutineers of the HMS Bounty 

In the middle of the South Pacific, rebellion broke out.

The mutiny was led by Acting Lieutenant Fletcher Christian, who seized Captain Bligh from his bed and cast him and his crew of 18 loyal supporters adrift in a 23-foot-long boat in the Pacific Ocean near the island of Tonga, leaving them for dead.

Against all odds, the captain finally led his crew to safety across 4,000 miles of ocean from Tonga to Timor.

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Marlon Brando receives a lei from a Tahitian woman in the 1962 film, in which he portrayed Fletcher Christian 
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Posters for the 1935 film starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable 

Along the way they battled brutal storms and treacherous reefs. They braved the furnace of Northern Australia’s shark infested waters and challenge of landing on remote tropical islands to hunt for vital supplies.

The crew were constantly challenged by raging seas, hunger and the confined space of the boat.

Meanwhile, Christian and some of his mutineers began a search for a safe haven in the South Pacific, eventually mooring the Bounty on Pitcairn island in January 1790. The mutineers who remained in Tahiti were captured and taken back to England where three were hanged.

In 1825, a British ship arrived and granted John Adams, the sole survivor of the original nine mutineers, amnesty. Adams remained as patriarch of the Pitcairn community until his death in 1829.

The saga has been the subject of numerous dramatic adaptations, with Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and Mel Gibson playing Christian. The 1984 telling also starred Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis and Laurence Olivier.

Charles Laughton made the role of Captain Bligh his own in the 1935 film version.

Mutiny is on Monday and Tuesday (6 and 7 March) at 9pm on Channel 4. 

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