Sunday, September 11, 2005

'The Romans'

4 episodes

Woooo, early start today, and one serial knocked off before work. That's more like it!

As anybody who has ever commented on Who will have pointed out, this is the 'funny one'. It is, it's true - this story has more overt humour than any other Doctor Who adventure I've seen, but that isn't the be all and end all of it. There is a stab or two at historical accuracy - although nothing too serious: Nero was younger than he is presented, had banned the execution of defeated gladiators, and probably wasn't even there to start the Great Fire of Rome. Then again, he's much funnier as a total buffoon... There is darkness here - assassination, kidnap, slavery, gladiatorial combat, poisoning, plotting and Nero's cavalier attitude to the lives of his servants and soldiers. But, on the other hand, the central cast get to play dress-up again; we have a tipsy Ian and Barbara lolling about in a Roman villa, where they send each other off to look for the fridge; Barbara accidentally clocking Ian when they are attacked; the Doctor duffing up his would-be assassin; a boozed-up and randy Caesar Nero chasing Barbara around the corridors of his palace, where she repeatedly just fails to run into the Doctor and Vicki; the Doctor pulling an 'Emperor's New Clothes' with his non-existent lyre playing then claiming to Vicki he gave the idea to Hans Christian Anderson; the Doctor's punning riff to Nero when he knows that the Caesar wants to throw him to the lions; his denial that he was respsonisble for giving Nero the idea for the fire etc. etc. Huge fun, the more effective because it disguises a serious story - the last shot of Nero is of him maniacally cackling as he plays the lyre with flames all around him and Rome burns to the ground.


Episodes watched: 48
Episodes still to watch: 674

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