East Anglian 'country' features on DVD

A UNIQUE insight into life on an abandoned military base that became an independent country off the East Anglian coast is to be revealed in a new DVD.An independent media company spent months filming on the principality of Sealand, located seven miles from Felixstowe and ten miles from Walton-on-the-Naze, to produce a behind-the-scenes documentary.

A UNIQUE insight into life on an abandoned military base that became an independent country off the East Anglian coast is to be revealed in a new DVD.

An independent media company spent months filming on the principality of Sealand, located seven miles from Felixstowe and ten miles from Walton-on-the-Naze, to produce a behind-the-scenes documentary.

The mini-state was founded by former army major Roy Bates on the 4,500 tonne structure in 1967.

Prince Roy Bates first laid claim to it in the mid-1960s after it had been abandoned.


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He and his wife Joan wanted to use it for a pirate radio station, but competition and a series of skirmishes led Mr Bates instead to declare it the independent Kingdom of Sealand.

The family has moved off the island although they visit it frequently and it is now home to HavenCo computer company, the headquarters of the business being based on the island.

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Mr Bates's son, Prince Michael Bates, said the new DVD was filmed last summer and would be available for Sealand enthusiasts via the internet.

"The DVD shows the background, the nuts and bolts and behind the scenes Sealand," he said.

"They show the things the normal media don't show, everyday life on Sealand and my family.

"This was done over months and the crew even visited my house in England. It's just for people interested in Sealand in general."

It is not the first time Sealand has attracted the interest of filmmakers.

Recently it was revealed movie giant Warner Bros had picked up the script to Sealand and looks set to produce what is being described as a "modern-day Braveheart".

Producers have branded the script as a "terrific and unique story about one man's fight for personal freedom".

There have also been rumours Michael could be played by Hollywood actors Mel Gibson or Russell Crowe.

Mr Bates said the latest documentary had been good fun to make, but added: "There's lots of outtakes but none for public consumption."

Fact box

nSealand was founded as a sovereign principality in 1967 in international waters six miles off the east coast on Rough's Tower, an old Second World War Military base.

nLanguage on the principality is English and the Sealand dollar has a fixed exchange rate of one US dollar. Passports and stamps have been in circulation since 1969.

nDespite being an independent country, Sealand stands within British territorial waters and any incident on the mini-state can come under the criminal jurisdiction of British Law.

nIn 1975, a constitution for Sealand was signed.

nIn 1978, German and Dutch forces seized the fort, but the Bates family recaptured it.

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