10 hrs. 48 mins.
This widely acclaimed 1976 BBC TV adaptation of Robert Graves’ superb novels, I, Claudius and Claudius the God, proved to be one of the corporation’s most successful drama serials of all time. It follows the history of Rome, narrated by the elderly Claudius, from the death of Marcellus, nephew and son-in-law of Augustus, in the first episode to Claudius’ own death in the last. It starred Derek Jacobi as Claudius, with a magnificent supporting cast led by Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, John Hurt, and Patrick Stewart.
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The series opens with Augustus, the emperor of Rome, attempting to find an heir, and his wife Livia plotting to elevate her own son Tiberius to this position. The plotting and double-crossing continue for many decades, through the conspiracy of Sejanus and the rule of the lunatic emperor Caligula, culminating in Claudius’ seemingly accidental rise to power.
• 70-minute documentary about the TV show
• 70-minute documentary about an abandoned 1937 film version
• 4 and a half minutes of alternative scenes