Guardian newspaper Top 50 TV drama poll shuns Ancient Rome soap opera

January 16, 2010

I-ClaudiusThe Guardian newspaper’s TV critics have just published their Top 50 TV Dramas, which is to all intents and purposes an authoritative and accurate collation of TV dramas over the past 40 or so years, although “accuracy” is a very subjective term in this case!

However there is one massive, notable omission!! Where is one of the best examples of storytelling, supported by classically trained actors………”I Claudius”?!! This masterpiece is very conspicuous by it’s absence.

First aired on the BBC in 1976, “I Claudius” was a fine drama depicting the life and times of the increasingly corrupt, depraved and debauched early Roman Emperors, where “absolute power corrupted absolutely”. This fascinating slice of history, is presided over by the narrator Claudius ( played by Derek Jacobi ), as an increasingly lone voice of reason in the madness of the Imperial household.

I accept that not all will find “I Claudius” as compelling and charismatic a drama as myself, but it surely warrants a berth in any Top 50. If there is a place for the bland, mundane and ordinary in the dreary Coronation Street, then room must be found for the incredible goings on in the Imperial Palace and Coliseum of Ancient Rome!!

The Guardian TV critics should be thankful that they live in a modern democracy – in Rome’s ancient republic, they would have been put to the sword for such a professional oversight!!

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