I’m very aware that not many of my readers appear to watch the BBC’s Rome so I am possibly heading for a comments desert on this one but I just can’t resist writing about it.
Quite why more people are not watching this show is frankly beyond me. It is definitely the best thing on TV at the moment and Karen and I are already in mourning that the BBC and HBO have no plans to fund a third series. They must be mad, though – as with Life On Mars – I can respect their integrity in quitting while they’re ahead.
Last night was a huge, sumptuously cooked steak of a show.
Mark Anthony enthralled with Cleopatra knowingly commits political suicide by refusing to admit his Roman wife sent to see him by Octavian Caesar. It is of course precisely what Octavian wants: an unmistakable premise for war. In one ingenious move Anthony has been forced to betray both Rome and the goodwill of the Roman people. The end is nigh.
Lucius Vorenus knows that war is coming but declines the chance to escape it. He knows he no longer has anything left to lose and is too stiff-necked to do anything to change it anyway. He knows this also and accepts it. The end, again, is nigh.
Well, for me, Titus Pullo stole the entire show. A breath taking performance by Ray Stevenson clearly illustrates that beyond the beefcake thuggery and gory sword work, Stevenson is clearly an actor of the highest calibre.
As his second wife Gaia lies bleeding to death after saving his life she makes a deathbed confession: it was she that poisoned his first wife, Eirene, killing both her and their unborn baby. What could Pullo do but blankly strangle the last remaining drops of life out of her and then dump her body in what appeared to be a cesspool. It sounds callous and over the top but you had to see it. It was handled so well I’m still full of admiration the morning after. The wash of emotions that swept over Pullo’s face was amazing.