Eureka story to be made into TV series

Ballarat’s iconic story of the Eureka rebellion will now be made into a television series.

Peter FitzSimons, author of Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution, yesterday signed a deal with the makers of the successful Underbelly television franchise, Screentime, for a series based on his published work.

The deal is for four one-hour episodes based on historical events.

Mr FitzSimons told The Courier he expects producers not to stray too far from his work – and that of history.

“The thing about the Eureka story – it doesn’t need to be embellished,” he said. “It’s a fantastic story in it’s own right.”

Mr FitzSimons said the success of his book on the uprising of disgruntled miners on the Ballarat goldfields proves there is great interest in Eureka.

“(Screentime) approached with an offer about three weeks ago – I just signed (yesterday),” he said. “The time is coming when Eureka will be acknowledged as the great Australian story.”

Mr FitzSimons said he believed filming should occur in Ballarat and surrounds and said he expected shooting to begin in early 2014.

As for his preferred actors, he nominated Rob Carlton, who played Kerry Packer in the ABC Paper Giants series, as his ideal Peter Lalor. 

“I’m guessing, but I’d say the budget will be somewhere around the $7 million to $8 million mark,” he said. 

“I hope it will drive tourism to Ballarat, I hope it will drive people to visit the Eureka flag at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and I hope it will make people head to the Museum for Australian Democracy at Eureka.”

Sovereign Hill chief executive officer Jeremy Johnson said he was “happy to talk” with the makers of the series about using the museum as a possible filming location. 

“The book was launched at Sovereign Hill and we’ve got a good relationship with Peter,” he said.

jordan.oliver@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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