An eight-part series depicting the lives of a series of queens of ancient Egypt.
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1983  

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Michelle Newell ...
 Cleopatra / ... (8 episodes, 1983)
...
 Theodotus (6 episodes, 1983)
Helen Sparks ...
 Dancer (5 episodes, 1983)
...
 Pot Belly (3 episodes, 1983)
Adam Bareham ...
 Fluter (3 episodes, 1983)
...
 Julius Caesar (3 episodes, 1983)
...
 Charmian (3 episodes, 1983)
Carol Harrison ...
 Iras (3 episodes, 1983)
...
 Mark Antony (3 episodes, 1983)
Wynne McGregor ...
 Dancer (3 episodes, 1983)
...
 Cleopatra, the mother (2 episodes, 1983)
Francesca Gonshaw ...
 Arsinoe (2 episodes, 1983)
James Aubrey ...
 Grypus (2 episodes, 1983)
Geoffrey Chater ...
 Perigenes (2 episodes, 1983)
David Horovitch ...
 Chickpea (2 episodes, 1983)
...
 Alexander (2 episodes, 1983)
...
 Cleopatra Berenike (2 episodes, 1983)
Sue Holderness ...
 Cleopatra, eldest daughter / ... (2 episodes, 1983)
...
 Cleopatra Tryphaena (2 episodes, 1983)
Prue Clarke ...
 Cleopatra Selene (2 episodes, 1983)
Jack May ...
 Criton (2 episodes, 1983)
Frank Duncan ...
 Ammonius (2 episodes, 1983)
...
 Marsyas (2 episodes, 1983)
Morris Perry ...
 General Chaeteas (2 episodes, 1983)
John Bennett ...
 Philocles (2 episodes, 1983)
Richard Bates ...
 Servant / ... (2 episodes, 1983)
Gavin Harding ...
 Servant / ... (2 episodes, 1983)
Dinah Jones ...
 Dancer (2 episodes, 1983)
Monique Starr ...
 Dancer (2 episodes, 1983)
Norma Vee ...
 Dancer (2 episodes, 1983)
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Storyline

An eight-part series depicting the lives of a series of queens of ancient Egypt.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

topless | tv mini series | See All (2) »

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Drama

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Release Date:

19 January 1983 (UK)  »

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(8 episodes)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although David Horovitch (Chickpea), Sue Holderness (Cleopatra IV), Amanda Boxer (Cleopatra Tryphaena) and Ian McNeice (Alexander) play Michelle Newell's children in the series, they are all older than her in real life. Furthermore, Horovitch is two years older than Richard Griffiths, who plays his father Pot Belly. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Much maligned
14 February 2015 | by See all my reviews

This was an interesting series, it made a real effort to re-create style and manner of the Egyptian court. I remember a lady professor (I think it was) at the time saying it was interesting to see professional dancers translating the fixed and stylized images we have from tomb paintings into actual dance. Did they have bare breasts? Yes, the tomb paintings do, so the dancers do. Every effort is made to keep the costumes match what we know of dress at that time.

The series set an entirely believable note of claustrophobic pomposity. We do know that the Egyptian court was remarkably insulated from the ordinary Alexandrians, whom they feared, and they had good reason to to. It was a very inward looking group.

The series is bedeviled by the occasional outbreak of truly dreadful acting, e.g. Caesar's reaction when Cleopatra is unrolled from her carpet - that is the clip that is always shown. But most of it was pretty good. The contrast between the straight laced, changing to thuggish Romans is nicely contrasted with the hedonistic Egyptians. Sadly, Cleopatra is all wrong. She is presented as a sort of precocious 6th former, a 17 year old convent schoolgirl, whereas it is quite obvious that she was in fact a very tough and ruthless survivor from an early age. More like Elizabeth I than some kind of ingénue.

I have long thought that the BBC should issue the series in DVD, but 1983 was in the early days of video recorders and the rights situation may just be too complicated.


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