*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ok, this series is, without a shadow of a doubt, stunning. Derek Jacobi & everyone else, make this series one of the longest and greatest of all time. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life watching this series, but it was only upon the speech half way through in which Livia asks Claudius to make her a God that I felt inspired to write a review. This programme is stunning, simply because it takes so many of the characters so much time to realise it, but simply put, the superficial stupidity of Claudius overshadows his true genius so much, that it takes the really clever to fully understand. Brian Blessed’s Augustus realises just before his death, as does Sian Phillips’s Livia (both are stunning). This series is a wonderful portrayal of people’s superficial natures and it’s amazing that for such a long period you find yourself hating Livia, and yet towards the end, theres a sudden realisation that, despite all the evils things she does, she has perfect reasons behind them. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve read the book or that I know the exact history of Rome (who does?) but Livia is almost like a Roman interpretation of Catherine De Medici in Renaissance France. In the 1400s, Catherine led her sons through an entire line of French Monarchs and attempted to guide their decisions in what she considered to be best for them, and this is exactly what Livia does.
This series may not contain any amazing graphics, but it is a beautiful piece of work which has stunning acting throughout (although I still can’t get used to Pat Stewart with hair) and is the greatest Drama the BBC has ever produced. Well done BBC, I wish you’d do stuff like this more often, but then again, where does someone find a script and cast as amazing as this?