The mini-series follows the history of the Roman Empire, from approximately the death of Marcellus (24/23 BC) to Claudius' own death in 54 AD. As Claudius narrates his life, we witness Augustus' attempts to find an heir, often foiled by his wife Livia who wants her son Tiberius to become emperor. We also see the conspiracy of Sejanus, the infamous reign of Caligula, and Claudius' own troubled period of rule. Written by
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John Hurt revealed that he declined the role of Caligula when it was first offered to him. Because of the time-span of the production, the fact that Derek Jacobi would be the only actor to appear in every episode, and the subsequent commitments of the other actors, it was decided that rather than the customary "wrap party" at the end of the series, there would be a special pre-production party instead, to give the entire cast and crew the chance to meet. Hurt explained that Herbert Wise deliberately invited him to attend the party, hoping he would reconsider, and that he was so impressed on meeting the cast and crew that he immediately reversed his decision and took the part. See more »
Marcus Agrippa is shown as being much older than Augustus, even though historically they were the same age. See more »
The best miniseries ever made! Smart and sexy, with characters that live and breathe. Just some of the most marvelous characters include Brian Blessed as the benevolent Augustus, George Baker as the wounded Tiberius, and Siân Phillips as Livia. Includes one of John Hurt's finest performances, and I'd go into Derek Jacobi as Claudius, but they say I have to keep it below 1,000 words. The Canadian channel Bravo runs it occasionally, or try renting it from Blockbuster, but I recommend shelling out for the entire collection on video!
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