How To Survive The Roman Empire, By Pliny And Me

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
Comments
0120171023

Pliny and his eccentric household are subject to the whims of an unstable emperor.

Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Kieran Hodgson returns as Pliny the Younger, with Nigel Barrett as his trusty slave, Venta, who was captured during the Roman conquest of Britain. Based on real events in first century Rome.

The Emperor Domitian rules Rome with a rod of iron, and is dangerously unstable and paranoid. There are spies everywhere. Venta, Pliny, his mother Marcella, and Doris the Greek cook will have to have all their wits about them if they are to prevail.

As a teenager Pliny witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius from his home across the bay. Many years later, following a request from his uncle Tacitus who is an historian, he takes time off from being a lawyer to travel to Pompeii and Herculaneum where he hopes to find out what happened to his uncle, Pliny the Elder, who died in the eruption. But upon returning to his villa outside Rome, he finds a letter from the Emperor which throws the whole household into a panic.
By Hattie Naylor.

A BBC/Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

0220171024

Pliny is commanded by the Emperor to hold a banquet for returning hero General Agricola.

Pliny has been commanded by Emperor Domitian to hold a banquet for General Agricola who has recently returned from a successful conquest of Britain. The feast will take place at Pliny's villa outside Rome. But all is not what it seems. The Emperor is a jealous man and Pliny becomes suspicious when he sends one of his personal slaves to oversee the menu. By Hattie Naylor

A BBC/Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

0220180116

Pliny has fallen in love at first sight. Now all he needs to do is find the girl.

Pliny, despite vehemently not believing in such things, appears to have fallen in love at first sight. In a quest to find the girl of his dreams, he commands Venta to go under cover in the Ladies side of the Roman Baths. Meanwhile, Doris the psychic cook makes a surprising confession, which no one saw coming. By Hattie Naylor, based on real events in first century Rome.

A BBC/Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

0320171025

The welcome party for General Agricola ends in disaster - and an arrest.

General Agricola has just returned from the successful conquest of Britain and Pliny has been commanded by the Emperor Domitian to throw the welcome party. But the Emperor is a jealous man and has sent his personal slave to oversee the preparation of dishes for the feast. When the conquering hero mysteriously falls ill and dies, someone has to pay a heavy price. By Hattie Naylor

A BBC /Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

0320180117

Venta explores the sewers of Rome where philosophers toil in the darkness.

Pliny has a new job as Chief Overseer of the sewage works of Rome - but it's Venta, his slave, who has to go under ground and check for blockages. There he finds that Rome's prisoners are doing the real dirty work, including a Stoic philosopher, the victim of a recent purge by the Emperor Domitian. By Hattie Naylor, based on real events in first century Rome.

A BBC /Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

0420151029

Pliny the Younger and his mother are invited to dinner with the Emperor.

Classic and contemporary original drama and book dramatisations

Venta has been in the household of Pliny the Younger for five months, as secretary and scribe. Meanwhile, the Emperor Domitian's reign of terror continues. There's a rumour that he entertains people one day, then has them executed next morning on some trumped up charge. The atmosphere in the normally calm villa is uneasy. Pliny hears stories of slaves who are spying on masters. And then an invitation arrives - to dinner with the Emperor. They are instructed to wear black so Marcella arranges for their togas to be dyed. The night of the dinner arrives, and it proves just as alarming as they feared.

Hattie Naylor's drama is based on real letters written by Pliny to his family and friends nearly two thousand years ago.

Music composed by Pete Flood and performed by Pete Flood (percussion), Laura Cannell (recorder, crumhorn), Rhodri Davies (harp), and Paul Sartin (oboe, cor anglais)

Historical Consultant: Dr Peter Jones
Sound: Nigel Lewis
Production Coordinator: Eleri McAuliffe

Produced and Directed by Kate McAll.

0420171026

Venta meets a fellow prisoner, a dwarf who reveals the terrible fate that awaits them.

Venta has been arrested, accused of murdering a famous war hero, and flung into prison. There he meets Calvin, fellow convict and dwarf, who reveals the terrible fate that awaits them both when Emperor Domitian reopens the Colosseum with a spectacular Games. By Hattie Naylor.

A BBC/Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

0420180118

Marcella's new slave, Sextus, isn't all that he seems.

Pliny feels under threat from the Emperor Domitian more than ever when he is invited to the Palatine, and the room where the Emperor tortures flies. Meanwhile, Marcella has a new slave, Sextus, who has supplanted Venta in Marcella's affections. By Hattie Naylor, based on real events in first century Rome.

Pliny the Younger... Kieran Hodgson
Venta... Nigel Barrett
Marcella... Joanna Scanlan
Emperor Domitian/Sextus... Ewan Bailey
Tacitus/Regulus... Matthew Gravelle

Music composed and performed by Pete Flood (percussion) with Laura Cannell (recorder, crumhorn), Rhodri Davies (Harp) and Paul Sartin (Oboe, Cor Anglais)

A BBC/Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

0520171027

Venta the slave is forced to fight in the Colosseum.

Venta the slave has been moved to the cells under the Colosseum, along with his new friend Calvin, a dwarf convicted of stealing a chicken. Doris the Greek cook comes to visit. She has gazed into the entrails of a small rodent and seen death - but whose death she can't be sure. Then, from the Imperial Box Emperor Domitian gives the signal for the Games to begin. Tigers enter the arena, pitted against Gladiators. Soon Venta and Calvin will have to meet their fate.
By Hattie Naylor

A BBC Cymru/Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

0520180119

The Emperor is increasingly paranoid that there is a plot against him.

Fearing for her safety, Pliny calls off his marriage to Calpurnia and retires to his room, brokenhearted. Meanwhile, the Emperor Domitian is increasingly paranoid that there is a plot against him. This time he's right. By Hattie Naylor, based on real events in first century Rome.

Pliny the Younger... Kieran Hodgson
Venta... Nigel Barrett
Marcella... Joanna Scanlan
Emperor Domitian/Maximus... Ewan Bailey
Calpurnia... Kimberley Nixon
Regulus... Matthew Gravelle

Music composed and performed by Pete Flood (percussion) with Laura Cannell (recorder, crumhorn), Rhodri Davies (Harp) and Paul Sartin (Oboe, Cor Anglais)

A BBC Cymru/Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.