Hypothetical remake of 'The Cleopatras'

by dhobday | created - 17 Feb 2017 | updated - 17 Feb 2017 | Public

I have often thought that someone (HBO?) should remake 'The Cleopatras' – a 1983 BBC TV series that was generally very negatively received. The sets were awful, and the whole thing looked very cheap. But the writing wasn’t that bad, and some of the acting was actually quite good. The thing that annoyed me more than any else about the series was the fact that the characters were all dressed as stereotypical Ancient Egyptians, despite the fact that the Ptolemies were actually Greek, and would have dressed in the style of the Ancient Greeks – the show even acknowledged that they were Greek. However, I have often thought that with a decent budget, a slight rewrite and much more accurate costuming, a remake of The Cleopatras could do very well. It could be a new Game of Thrones. It has the intrigue, the politics, the scheming, the sex, the battles, the complex characters, and it culminates in the reign of Cleopatra, the most famous Ptolemy of them all. A winning recipe, certainly. One afternoon when I was bored, I set about wondering who I would cast if I were in charge of remaking the series. So, for your amusement, here is who I came up with. Please note that this is a list of who I would cast if this hypothetical series were made in 2017; any later and it would require a rethink as some of the younger cast would become too old for the roles I allotted them.

1. Jason Isaacs

Actor | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Jason Isaacs was born in Liverpool, the third of four children of Sheila and Eric Isaacs. His parents were both from Jewish families (from Eastern Europe). He studied law at Bristol University and graduated in 1985 with a degree in law but decided to study acting. While at Bristol University, he ...

Ptolemy VI


Ptolemy VI didn’t really appear in the original 1983 series, other than a brief flashback shot of him on his deathbed, but if I were to remake the series I would open with the Battle of Antioch in 145 BC, which would mean casting the role of Ptolemy VI. I would love for a well-known, established actor to cameo as Ptolemy VI and really kick off the series with a bang, hence my choice of Jason Isaacs, who I think sort of bears a resemblance to the real thing.

2. Sebastian Croft

Actor | Game of Thrones

Sebastian Theodore Kemble Croft is an English actor, best known for playing the role of Young Ned Stark in Game of Thrones (2011). He was born in Oxford to John Croft, a businessman, and Doulla Croft, an executive at Facebook. He attended the Dragon School in Oxford and it was from there that he ...

Ptolemy VII


Originally played by Gary Carp (and called Eupator in the 1983 series, though in fact, Eupator was a separate Ptolemy entirely).

Ptolemy VII only has a small role, as he is murdered by Potbelly in the first episode. However, he initially takes the throne after the death of Ptolemy VI and so needs the gravitas and bearing of one who was raised as a king.

3. Samantha Bond

Actress | Tomorrow Never Dies

Samantha Bond was born on November 27, 1961 in Kensington, London, England as Samantha Jane Bond. She is an actress, known for Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Die Another Day (2002) and GoldenEye (1995). She has been married to Alexander Hanson since September 1989. They have two children.

Cleopatra II


Originally played by Elizabeth Shepherd.

4. Mark Addy

Actor | The Full Monty

Mark Addy was born on January 14, 1964 in York, England as Mark Addy Johnson. He is an actor, known for The Full Monty (1997), A Knight's Tale (2001) and Robin Hood (2010). He has been married to Kelly Johnson since 1996. They have three children.

Ptolemy VIII Potbelly


Originally played by Richard Griffiths.

After having played a semi-despotic ruler in 'Game of Thrones', I’d love to see Mark Addy progress to full-on tyrant in the role of Ptolemy Potbelly.

5. Natalie Dormer

Actress | Game of Thrones

Natalie Dormer born 11 February 1982 is an English actress. She is best known for her roles as Anne Boleyn on the Showtime series The Tudors (2007-10), as Margaery Tyrell on the HBO series Game of Thrones (2012-14), Irene Adler on the CBS series Elementary (2013-15), and as Cressida in the ...

Cleopatra III


Originally played by Michelle Newell.

I would hate to think that an actress as good as Natalie Dormer could ever get typecast, but after playing Anne Boleyn in 'The Tudors' and Margaery Tyrell in 'Game of Thrones', it seems almost too easy for me to suggest that she play yet another royal schemer. However, she plays it so well and would be a perfect Cleopatra III.

6. Indira Varma

Actress | Exodus: Gods and Kings

Indira Anne Varma (born 27 September 1973) is a British actress. Her film debut and first major role was in Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. She has gone on to appear in the television series The Canterbury Tales, Rome, Luther, Human Target, and Game of Thrones (as Ellaria Sand). In September 2016, she ...

Cleopatra Thea


Originally played by Caroline Mortimer.

7. Richard Coyle

Actor | Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Richard Coyle was born and raised in Sheffield, in the UK with his four brothers. He began his career when, studying politics and philosophy at York University (1992 - 1995), he got interested in amateur dramatics and traveled to the Edinburgh festival twice.

A decision to raise funds to study at ...

Ptolemy IX Chickpea


Originally played by David Horovitch.

8. James Corden

Actor | Into the Woods

Describing himself as the "chunky unit", James Kimberley Corden was born in Hillingdon, London and raised in Buckinghamshire, the son of Margaret (Collins), a social worker, and Malcolm Corden, a musician. He studied drama at the Jackie Palmer Stage School before going on to Holmer Green Senior ...

Ptolemy X Alexander


Originally played by Ian McNeice.

9. Natalia Tena

Actress | Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Natalia Tena was born on November 1, 1984 in London, England as Natalia Gastiain Tena. She is an actress, known for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), About a Boy (2002) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010).

Cleopatra IV


Originally played by Sue Holderness.

10. Emily Atack

Actress | Outside Bet

Emily Atack is a UK actress best known for comedy, she has appeared in numerous projects for TV, stage and screen. In 2016 Emily played Daphne in the movie reprise of Dad's Army alongside Bill Nighy and Toby Jones. In 2017 Emily will star in film Lies We Tell starring Gabriel Byrne and Harvey ...

Cleopatra V Selene


Originally played by Prue Clarke.

Not sure quite why I picture Emily Atack as Cleopatra Selene. Possibly because there is a slight resemblance, I think, between her and Prue Clarke, who played her originally! Beyond that I can offer no logical reason, but I do think she might suit the role.

11. Charlotte Hope

Actress | Allied

Charlotte Hope is an actress, known for Allied (2016), Les Misérables (2012) and The Theory of Everything (2014).

Cleopatra Tryphaena


Originally played by Amanda Boxer.

12. Oona Chaplin

Actress | The Longest Ride

Oona Chaplin is a Spanish actress. Her mother is Geraldine Chaplin. She is also the granddaughter of English film actor Charlie Chaplin, and great-granddaughter of American playwright Eugene O'Neill. She is best known for playing Talisa Maegyr in the HBO TV series Game of Thrones and Zilpha Geary ...

Berenice III


Originally played by Pauline Moran.

13. Freddie Fox

Actor | The Three Musketeers

Freddie Fox was born on April 5, 1989 in London, England as Frederick Fox. He is an actor and producer, known for The Three Musketeers (2011), Victor Frankenstein (2015) and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017).

Ptolemy XI Alexander the Younger


Originally played by David Purcell.

As soon as I began thinking in my head of potential cast members for a new Cleopatras, Freddie Fox instantly came to me as Ptolemy Alexander the Younger. He is exactly how I imagine this particular Ptolemy to have looked.

14. Matthew Macfadyen

Actor | Pride & Prejudice

David Matthew Macfadyen was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to Meinir (Owen), a drama teacher and actress, and Martin Macfadyen, an oil executive. He is of Scottish and Welsh descent. Because of his father's career, he spent at least part of his childhood in Indonesia, before finishing his ...

Ptolemy XII Auletes


Originally played by Adam Bareham.

15. Amanda Hale

Actress | Ripper Street

Amanda Hale was born in 1982 in Wales. She is an actress, known for Ripper Street (2012), The Crimson Petal and the White (2011) and The White Queen (2013).

Cleopatra VI Tryphaena


Originally played by Emily Richard.

16. Blake Ritson

Actor | RocknRolla

Blake Ritson started acting when he was 13, debuting in White Chameleon at the Royal National Theatre, directed by Sir Richard Eyre for which he received rave reviews. He worked with Sir Richard Eyre again two years later on Macbeth, and went on to appear in the original West End run of Tom ...

Ptolemy the Cypriot


Originally played by Graham Seed.

17. Michelle Keegan

Actress | Coronation Street

Michelle Keegan was born on June 3, 1987 in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England as Michelle Elizabeth Keegan. She is an actress, known for Coronation Street (1960), Drunk History: UK (2015) and Coronation Street: Out of Africa (2008). She has been married to Mark Wright since May 24, 2015.

Cleopatra VII


Originally played by Michelle Newell.

In honesty I would never even have considered Michelle Keegan for the role until I saw her recently in Our Girl, but after watching that I believe she would have what it takes to play the Cleopatra (so long as she doesn’t use her natural accent, of course).

18. Tom Taylor

Actor | The Dark Tower

Tom Taylor is an English actor born on 16 July 2001. Born in Surrey, England, Tom attended drama school up until 2013. After being informed about an agent visiting the drama school, Tom returned to audition for the agent, leading to his first professional screen role. In 2015, Tom portrayed young ...

Ptolemy XIII


Originally played by Daniel Beales.

I first saw Tom in 'Doctor Foster' and he has since been cast as a leading role in the upcoming movie 'The Dark Tower', and is a wonderful young actor.

19. Nicholas Croucher

Actor | Spy

Nicholas Croucher is an actor, known for Spy (2011), Save Me (2018) and The Magicians (2015).

Ptolemy XIV


Originally played by Lauren Beales.

I had initially thought that the series might require two actors to play Ptolemy XIV; one to play the younger boy of around twelve (in the episode dealing with the Alexandrine War) and perhaps another to play him as an older teen of fifteen (for the visit to Rome and his death). But on reflection, perhaps one could just cast a boy of thirteen or fourteen and have him play the role throughout.

20. Otto Farrant

Actor | Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Otto Farrant is an actor, known for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011), War & Peace (2016) and The White Queen (2013).

Ptolemy XV Caesarion


There would probably need to be a number of actors for the role of Caesarion as he grows from a child to a teen over the timeline of the series. However, the historical Caesarion was seventeen-years-old when he was killed, which has never been accurately shown on screen as he is usually depicted as about twelve at the oldest. I would like very much for Caesarion to be played by a teen who could portray him accurately roughly from the Donations of Alexandria through to his death.

21. Stephen Fry

Actor | Gosford Park

Writer, actor, comedian, doer of good works, excellent good friend to the famous and not, Fry lives in his London SW1 flat and his Norfolk house when not traveling. Famous for his public declaration of celibacy in the "Tatler" back in the 1980s, Emma Thompson has characterised her friend as "90 ...



Originally played by Stephen Fry.

I think Stephen Fry would be a wonderful Pothinus; the scheming Eunuch who tried to dethrone Cleopatra. However, I have always imagined Pothinus as being bald (in the way that eunuch courtiers so often are depicted, in 'Rome' and 'Game of Thrones', for example), so Stephen would need to either shave his head or wear a skull cap for the role.

22. Mark Gatiss

Actor | The League of Gentlemen

Mark Gatiss is an accomplished author, actor and playwright. Originally from Sedgefield, County Durham, he graduated from Bretton Hall Drama College with a BA (honors) in Theatre Arts.

He was one-quarter of the award-winning comedy team The League of Gentlemen (1999), and became heavily involved in ...



Originally played by Graham Crowden.

23. Shaun Dooley

Actor | Eden Lake

Shaun was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, to Ann and Denis Dooley. He is an actor known for Misfits (2009).

He has two younger sisters, Stephanie Dooley and Kimberly Dooley.

Shaun is married to Polly Dooley.

Despite living in London, Shaun still attends all of Barnsley FC's home games.

Shaun won the...



Originally played by Tony Caunter.

24. David Oakes

Actor | The Borgias

David Oakes is a British actor who trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and graduated in 2007. He is represented by Conway Van Gelder Grant Inc.

Before training professionally as an actor he studied at Manchester University where he received a first class degree in English and Drama. David ...

Demetrius II Nicator


Originally played by Stephen Greif.

In addition to the adult Demetrius played by David Oakes, my idea to open the series with the Battle of Antioch would also require the casting of a younger Demetrius, who was fourteen-years-old when he participated in said battle and took the Seleucid throne.

25. Maxim Baldry

Actor | Mr. Bean's Holiday

Maxim Baldry was born in England, Redhill, in 1996. He lived in Russia, Moscow for the first seven years of his life where he then moved back to England in 2003. He became interested in acting from a very young age. He was involved in many independent stage productions one of which was 'Peter and ...

Antiochus VIII Grypus


Originally played by James Aubrey.

When Grypus came to the throne he was only a teenager (and thus easy for his mother to control him), but by later on in the series he is a decade older, so rather than casting two actors (a teen and an adult), I’d probably cast an actor in his ealy twenties who could portray a young, easily-controlled man, and then also as a more mature ruler later (perhaps with the addition of facial hair to add to aging process). Max Baldry played Caesarion in HBO’s 'Rome' series, and was absolutely brilliant.

26. Karl Davies

Actor | Happy Valley

Karl Davies was born on August 6, 1982 in Manchester, England. He is an actor and producer, known for Happy Valley (2014), Game of Thrones (2011) and Black Sea (2014).

Alexander Zabinas


Originally played by Donald MacIver.

27. Joe Dempsie

Actor | Skins

Joe Dempsie was born on June 22, 1987 in Liverpool, Merseyside, England as Joseph Maxwell Dempsie. He is an actor, known for Skins (2007), Game of Thrones (2011) and Blitz (2011).

Antiochus IX Cyzicenus


Originally played by Granville Saxton.

28. Rupert Graves

Actor | V for Vendetta

Born in a seaside resort town, Britain's Rupert Graves was born a rebel, resisting authority and breaking rules at an early age. In his teens he became a punk rocker and even found work as a circus clown and in traveling comedy troupes. In 1983 he made his professional stage debut in "The Killing ...

Scipio Aemilianus Africanus


Originally played by Geoffrey Whitehead.

29. Max Irons

Actor | Condor

Max Irons was born on October 17, 1985 in Camden, London, England as Maximilian Paul Diarmuid Irons. He is an actor, known for Condor (2018), Terminal (2018) and The Wife (2017).

Gnaeus Pompey Junior


Originally played by Phillip Cade.

Since the role of Pompey Junior is just a cameo in one episode, it is unlikely that an actor of Max Irons’s calibre would actually do it, but I believe that Max Irons or someone like him would be an ideal choice for the cocky son of the great Pompey who attempted to seduce Cleopatra in order to secure aid in his father’s civil war.

30. Ralph Fiennes

Actor | The Grand Budapest Hotel

Actor Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes was born on December 22, 1962 in Suffolk, England, to Jennifer Anne Mary Alleyne (Lash), a novelist, and Mark Fiennes, a photographer. He is the eldest of six children. Four of his siblings are also in the arts: Martha Fiennes, a director; Magnus ...

Julius Caesar


Originally played by Robert Hardy.

For years I have said that Ralph Fiennes would make a perfect Caesar, so if I were given the chance I would definitely cast him as the most famous Roman of them all.

31. Hugh Bonneville

Actor | Notting Hill

Hugh Bonneville was born on November 10, 1963 in Paddington, London, England as Hugh Richard Bonneville Williams. He is an actor, known for Notting Hill (1999), Paddington (2014) and Frankenstein (1994). He has been married to Lucinda Williams since November 4, 1998. They have one child.



Originally played by Manning Wilson.

32. Michiel Huisman

Actor | The Age of Adaline

Huisman was born on July 18, 1981 in Amstelveen, Noord-Holland, which is near Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Before Game of Thrones (2011), Huisman had a role in Paul Verhoeven's acclaimed Black Book (2006), and he played Rudolf Nureyev in the BBC TV movie Margot (2009) about prima ballerina Margot ...

Marc Antony


Originally played by Christopher Neame.

I certainly wouldn’t intend for my version of 'The Cleopatras' to just recycle the entire cast of 'Game of Thrones', despite there being a number of actors on this list already who appeared in that show (it’s not my fault that the HBO series casts so many good actors!). Having said that, I believe that Michael Huisman would be perfect as Marc Antony (provided he gets rid of the beard, of course).

33. Tom Felton

Actor | Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Tom Felton was born in Epsom, Surrey, to Sharon and Peter Felton. He has been acting since he was 8 years old at the suggestion of an actress friend of his family who recognized Felton's theatrical qualities. Felton met with an agent, and two weeks later, after auditioning with over 400 other ...



Originally played by Rupert Frazer.

It’s possible that two Octavians would be needed for the series; one teenaged Octavian (if he appears in the scenes during Cleopatra’s visit to Rome); and an older Octavian in his late twenties for the final war between Rome and Egypt. Obviously Tom Felton would portray the older Octavian.

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