BBC's "Rome" returns with even more blood


The BBC's drama series "Rome" returns this week, and it is even more blood-thirsty and depraved than ever before

The first series of Rome attracted 7.2 million viewers on its opening night in November 2005 and became BBC2's highest-rated programme of the year.

The BBC still makes the best TV shows in the world.

'Rome' returns with even more blood

By Chris Hastings, Arts and Media Editor, Sunday Telegraph


A corpse being given breast milk from a nursing mother, a blood-soaked soldier carrying a head through the streets and a slave being tortured to death - these are the scenes that await viewers of the new series of Rome, the BBC's controversial hit drama.

The first series of the BBC's "Rome" was greeted by protests

Despite the protests that greeted the first series, the producers have opted for even grittier scenes to attract viewers. One programme insider said that the intention was to make Rome into an "ancient world version of The Sopranos", the successful US drama littered with swearing and violence.

The first four episodes of the new series of Rome, seen by The Sunday Telegraph and due to begin being broadcast in America later this week, portray a society on the verge of collapse.

Lucius Vorenus, played by Kevin McKidd, has been driven to insanity by the death of his wife, the disappearance of his children and his failure to protect Caesar from assassination. He beheads a man he wrongly assumes to have killed his children and takes the head through the streets.

The new series, like the first, is also notable for numerous scenes of nudity. In one, Kerry London — the scheming Octavia — is pictured naked in bed.

The first series of Rome attracted 7.2 million viewers on its opening night in November 2005, becoming BBC 2's highest-rated programme of the year.

However, the decision to persevere with the recipe of sex and violence drew criticism yesterday.

John Beyer, the director of Mediawatch-UK, the viewers' campaign group, said: "I think it's a shame that the BBC is simply offering the same kind of thing. I assume that the BBC hopes the controversy will bring big audiences, but controversy can't sustain a programme which has very little else to offer."

Rome boasts the largest standing film set in the world, comprising five acres of backlot and six soundstages at the world-famous Cinecittŕ Studios (external - login to view)* in Italy.

The series required over 4,000 pieces of wardrobe, designed by Oscar-nominated costume designer April Ferry (external - login to view)*; 2,500 pieces were used in the first two episodes alone. Approximately 1,250 pairs of shoes and sandals were made in Bulgaria.

Rome used a peak of 40 horses in one scene, and on the largest day of shooting, 750 actors/extras were used for the scene of Caesar's triumph.

The Roman coins were all made at the Vatican mint, and have the likeness of the series' Caesar, Ciarán Hinds (external - login to view), stamped on them.

Actor Biographies

Kevin McKidd
Lucius Vorenus

Ray Stevenson
Titus Pullo

Ciarán Hinds
Julius Caesar

James Purefoy
Mark Antony

Polly Walker
Atia of the Julii
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jan 7th, 2007 at 05:59 AM..
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