Rome (04/11/2005)

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A HBO and BBC co-production that tried very hard to shock, but it did deliver any real dramatic punches?

Rome came to our screens heralded by a fanfare worthy of Julius Caesar himself.  The media got itself into a tizzy about bare breasts and fluffy chuffs, and was this the right sort of drama for the BBC to be showing. Frankly, who cares?  Drama is either good or bad, regardless of the amount of sex, violence, nudity or "ritual animal slaughter" as the BBC announcer breathlessly warned us at the start of the show.

I've watched the first episode twice now.  The first time, I was on the phone to a friend with only half an eye on the TV.  The only things that did stand out for me on that first viewing was all the stuff the media had been bleating about - the sex, the nudity, the blood, the cruelty. I could hear barely anything of the dialogue, so the storyline was lost on me.

On second viewing, I settled down, expecting something that had been made to titilate, and with very low expectations.  On the whole I was pleasantly surprised.

I know a bit about Roman History, probably more than the average man on the street, though much less than many in my circle of friends.  I do know Celtic history from this period and the two are obviously intertwined, but it was nice to see Vercengetorix the great leader of the Gauls on screen even if it was only for a minute or so.

Yes there was a lot of sex and violence, some of which was integral to the story and some of which was not.  The bit which was not could have been dropped and would have made for a higher quality drama.  Of course the media wouldn't have got its knickers in such a twist and given the series so much publicity either, so I suppose for programme makers there must be a fine line which has to be trodden.

On the whole, the episode moved quickly, sketching in details about the main characters as it unfolded and didn't treat its audience as being in any way stupid.  I couldn't spot any too obvious anachronisms and the sets looked authentic too.

I will look forward to the next episode and hope that the balance of drama and titilation remains firmly tilted in favour of the drama.


Page Last Updated Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 16:26:58