I, Claudius was a low-budget historical drama mini-series that aired on the BBC and then on PBS in the U.S. and was amazingly enjoyable to watch! The low-budget appearance (more like a stage play than a movie) may bother some viewers for about the first 5 minutes of this 668 minute miniseries and then the rest is pure pleasure (assuming you're into history at all)! If you like political intrigue, romance, drama, war, and adult situations; you'll get bucket loads of it here!
It is basically a story of Claudius' life and how he became emperor despite the fact that he stammered badly, had visual physical defects, was not actually in line to be emperor. Due to those physical problems he was also generally despised and ridiculed by most members of the Roman court. It covers Roman history from 24 B.C. to 54 A.D. This period encompasses the rules of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius, Rome's first four emperors! Even American audiences will see some familiar faces among the superb actors and actresses in this saga such as John Hurt, John Rhys-Davies and even Patrick Stewart for you Star Trek fans!
I, Claudius Cast
Derek Jacobi .... Claudius
Siân Phillips .... Livia
Brian Blessed .... Augustus
George Baker .... Tiberius
John Hurt .... Caligula
Margaret Tyzack .... Antonia
Ian Ogilvy .... Drusus
Frances White .... Julia
John Paul .... Marcus Agrippa
Christopher Guard .... Marcellus
Kevin McNally .... Castor
Patricia Quinn .... Livilla
David Robb .... Germanicus
Fiona Walker .... Agrippina
John Castle .... Postumus
James Faulkner .... Herod Agrippa
Patrick Stewart .... Sejanus
Stratford Johns .... Piso
Irene Hamilton .... Plancina
John Rhys-Davies .... Macro
Beth Morris .... Drusilla
Sam Dastor .... Cassius Chaerea
Sheila White .... Messalina
Bernard Hepton .... Pallas
John Cater .... Narcissus
Barbara Young .... Agrippinilla
Christopher Biggins .... Nero
I, Claudius Episodes Descriptions:
1. A Touch Of Murder (24 B.C.)
Augustus (Octavian) is Emperor. Rome is finally at peace after 30 years of civil wars.
2. Family Affairs (13-10 B.C.)
Agrippa dies mysteriously leaving Julia alone and her 5 children fatherless. Agrippa's death also allows Tiberius to step into his position. Livia forces him to divorce his wife, Vispania, and marry Julia.
3. Waiting In The Wings (2 B.C. - 4 A.D.)
While Tiberius is away to the eastern mediterranean, Julia hops from bed to bed all over Rome. Caesar Augustus seems to be the only one in Rome who doesn't know about it.
4. What Shall We Do About Claudius? (4-10 A.D.)
The imperial family discusses their embarrasement over Claudius' stuttering and twitching. The Roman Army is defeated by the Germans and only about 120 soldiers remain alive out of three entire legions!
5. Poison is Queen (14 A.D)
Claudius finds Augustus' last will and testament. We see a flashback to the last year of Augustus' life. Germanicus manages to finally turn back the German forces and returns to Rome a hero. His brother Claudius tells him that their sister Livilla lied when she accused Postumus of attempted rape and of Livia's plot to ensure that Tiberius becomes Emperor!
6. Some Justice (19 A.D.)
Claudius thinks back in time about the death of Germanicus who died of poisoning clearing the way for Tiberius to rise to Emperor! Agrippina claims that the killers were Tiberius and Livia.
7. Queen of Heaven (26 A.D.)
Tiberius becomes attracted to Lollia's daughter and orders her to come to his palace to seduce her. Lollia offers herself to Tiberius instead to save her daughter from the assault. She feels so guilty about the affair that she commits suicide in front of all of the guests at the palace. By this time, the Roman people have begun to despise Tiberius.
8. Reign of Terror (29-31 A.D.)
Tiberius is fed up with the now blatant complaints about his rule from the people and the Senate so he runs away to the Isle of Capri and leaves Sejanus in charge in Rome.
9. Zeus, by Jove (37 A.D.)
Macro checks the heartbeat of a bed-ridden Tiberius, announces that he has died and removes his Imperial ring to give to Caligula. Suddenly, Tiberius is out of bed and obviously not dead. Macro puts him back in bed, smothers him and then goes to report to the Senators that Tiberius is definitely dead! Hail Emperor Caligula!
10. Hail Who? (40 & 41 A.D.)
A brothel is opened in the palace! The Roman Senators and their sons are to be the customers. Their wives and daughters will be the prostitutes! Claudius has been ordered to be the doorman.
11. Fool's Luck (41-43 A.D.)
The Praetorian Guard are disgusted by Caligula's depravity and Emperors in general and decide to return Rome to a true republican form of government. They realize that they will temporarily need to replace Caligula with a member of the Imperial family, someone who can be easily controlled. They declare Claudius to be the new Emperor but hold him under "protective custody" while the Senate begins proceedings to change Rome to a republic.
12. A God in Colchester (43-48 A.D.)
Claudius is away from Rome attempting to conquer Britain. While away, Messalina enters a contest against Sylla for the championship of the Guild of Prostitutes. Which one can make love to more men?
13. Old King Log (48-54 A.D.)
In this final episode, Claudius has died. Nero and Agrippina search for Claudius' will to ensure that Nero, not Britannicus, will become emperor. Instead, they find his memoirs of their murderous, depraved family history.
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