Saturday, 8 June 2013

All Roads Lead To... Who?

I haven't done a "Connections" post for a while, and BBC4 has recently given me inspiration for this. I have just finished re-watching the BBC's wonderful 1976 series I, Claudius, based on the novels by Robert Graves - which are in turn based on the (ever so slightly biased) works of Suetonius and Tacitus. I am a bit of an armchair historian, and the Roman Empire has always been of particular interest to me - especially the Julio-Claudian dynasty, who were the Sopranos / Borgias / Lannisters of their day (King Joffrey is the spitting image of the real Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus - aka Caligula - see below...).
So time for a little historical detour to look at the connections between Doctor Who and I, Claudius...

All four of the featured Emperors have appeared in Doctor Who - the first Emperor being Augustus, who is played by shouty King Yrcanos (Trial of a Time Lord - Mindwarp) played by the equally shouty actor Brian Blessed. Augustus was succeeded by his son-in-law Tiberius - played by the late George Baker, who was Decider Login in Full Circle. His fellow Decider, Nefred - James Bree, also in The War Games - is a physician in part four.
By the way, the Tiberius in the earlier ITV production The Caesars (1968) was Andre Morell, from The Massacre. There is a direct link between these two productions coming up...
Tiberius was then followed by Caligula - an incredible performance by John Hurt (The Name of the Doctor, and due back in the 50th anniversary story).
Once Caligula was assassinated, his uncle Claudius was proclaimed Emperor - the series titular character, played by Derek Jacobi, who was Professor Yana / the Master in Utopia.
Nero followed Claudius - played in this by Christopher Biggins. He has done a BF audio, and features in the documentary on The Romans DVD, but has not appeared in the programme itself to date.
That's the upper echelons of the Imperial family covered, now for some of the incidental characters.

In part one, we see Guy Siner (Genesis of the Daleks) as a secretary. Augustus' doomed adoptive heir Marcellus is played by a young Christopher Guard (the equally doomed Bellboy in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy).
Tiberius' beloved first wife (Vipsania) is played by Sheila Ruskin, who was Consul Kassia in The Keeper of Traken. (The Keeper himself - Denis Carey, who also appeared in Shada - is an historian in part two).
Renu Setna (the doctor who thinks Gallifrey might be in Ireland in The Hand of Fear) plays Livia's personal physician, appropriately enough. He's "coincidentally" on hand when both Marcellus and Tiberius' brother, Drusus, expire.
Also present as Drusus dies is one of his commanders - played by Frontier In Space's General Williams, Michael Hawkins.
Onto part two - and that connection with ITV's The Caesars. Kevin Stoney (Mavic Chen, Tobias Vaughn and President Tyrum) plays the exact same character of Tiberius' astrologer - Thrasyluss - in both series.

Also present on Rhodes, as one of Tiberius' slaves, is Roy Stewart (Tomb of the Cybermen and Terror of the Autons).
Another historian in part two is Donald Eccles (Krasis in The Time Monster).
In part three we get to meet Claudius' sister Livilla, played by Patricia Quinn (Dragonfire's Belazs).
Tiberius' son, Castor, is played by Kevin McNally from The Twin Dilemma, and Caligula's mother, Agrippina, is Fiona Walker - from The Keys of Marinus and Silver Nemesis.
Part five deals with the trial of Piso, who was accused, along with his wife, of murdering Caligula's father, Germanicus. Piso is Stratford Johns (Four to Doomsday). His slave is Dalek man John Scott Martin. One of his accusers, Vitelius, is played by Roy Purcell (The Mind of Evil and The Three Doctors). George Pravda (The Enemy of the World, The Mutants and The Deadly Assassin) also features.
In part eight, Count Federico actor John Laurimore plays the unfortunate Lentulus. He promises to give up his life in return for Caligula's recovery - and when the newly deified Emperor duly recovers, he expects Lentulus to honour his promise to the gods. Latep actor Alan Tucker is one of Tiberius' slaves early on in the episode.
Bruce Purchase (The Captain of The Pirate Planet) is one of Caligula's assassins - Sabinus - in part nine.
Part ten features Geoffrey Hinsliff (Image of the Fendahl and Nightmare of Eden) as the commander of the Praetorian Guard, and John Bennett (Invasion of the Dinosaurs and The Talons of Weng-Chiang) is Claudius' Greek physician.
Finally, as Terrance Dicks says (on every single DVD commentary) it was in the BBC charter that Pat Gorman had to be included in every TV programme made at this time. Sure enough, he's a soldier in part seven - even getting a line, and an on screen credit.

That spooky Caligula / Joffrey likeness..

1 comment:

  1. You certainly know your stuff Gerry and the likeness is uncanny.