and HBO unite to co-produce major drama series about ancient Rome
BBC and US subscription channel HBO are to co-produce an epic and
sweeping new drama series which chronicles the rise of the ancient
Roman empire through the eyes of two foot-soldiers, it was announced
today by Jana Bennett, BBC Director of Television, and Chris Albrecht,
Chairman and CEO of HBO.
is a co-production between the BBC and HBO, which is best known
for Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, The Sopranos and Band of Brothers.
which will start next year, will be based at Rome's Cinecitta Studios,
with additional location filming throughout Europe and North Africa.
lead writer is English screen-writer Bruno Heller, who is also an
executive producer on the drama.
is one of the most ambitious projects I have come across and its
epic scale is inspiring. We have not attempted to bring the ancient
world to life since the seminal series I, Claudius, so this one
was too hard to resist," says Jana Bennett.
such a strong creative partnership with HBO, one of the world's
most respected drama producers, is part of the BBC's role as both
a catalyst and an enabler for exciting new projects.
around the world can look forward to a landmark piece of great television."
first series of 12 episodes is planned to be broadcast on BBC TWO
in the UK and on HBO in 2005.
Root, Controller of BBC TWO, says: "Rome is a unique drama
series that allows us to look at the birth of the Roman Empire through
the eyes of ordinary citizens as well as famous historical figures
such as Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and Octavian.
is an intimate portrayal of a fascinating and influential period
of history - the birth of a modern society as we know it today -
and brings us vividly into everyday Roman life."
Albrecht says: "This intriguing saga of ancient Rome is both
a fascinating historical epic that offers insights into the foundations
of the modern world, and a story of timeless passions with contemporary
HBO," he added, "the BBC has a strong tradition of success
in projects of this massive scope; our unprecedented partnership
on this exciting series will result in memorable entertainment."
is the saga of two ordinary Roman soldiers and their families. An
intimate drama of love and betrayal, masters and slaves, and husbands
and wives; it chronicles epic times that saw the fall of a republic
and the creation of an empire.
Tranter, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, says: "We've
been developing this project with HBO for some time and we're delighted
that Rome has now come to fruition as our first co-production.
is a powerful story and, alongside The Lost Prince, State of Play,
Canterbury Tales, Charles II, Hustle and Gunpowder, Treason and
Plot, is another example of our ambition to create the boldest,
most original and engaging events on television."
series begins in 51 BC, as Gaius Julius Caesar has completed his
masterful conquest of Gaul after eight years of war, and is preparing
to return to Rome. He heads home with thousands of battle-hardened
men and a populist agenda for radical social change.
the aristocracy threatens to prosecute Caesar for war crimes as
soon as he sets foot in Rome. Caesar's old friend and mentor, Pompey
Magnus, attempts to foment mutiny in order to maintain the balance
Two of Caesar's soldiers, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, thwart
Pompey's plan. Their fates become entwined with those of Caesar,
Mark Antony, Cleopatra, and the boy Octavian, a strange and awkward
child who, by political guile and bloody force, will become the
First Emperor of Rome.
is the first series co-production between the BBC and HBO, who previously
co-produced the acclaimed serial Band of Brothers, which won the
2002 Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries.
is executive produced by Bruno Heller, William J MacDonald, John
Milius and Anne Thomopoulos for HBO, and Gareth Neame, BBC Head
of Drama Commissioning, for the BBC.
co-executive producer is Stan Wlodkowski; the producer is Marco
Pugini; co-producers are Robert Papazian and James Hirsch.
writers of Rome will be Alexandra Cunningham, David Frankel, John
Milius and William J. MacDonald.
BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview,
the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well
as on satellite and cable.
offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services
from BBCi, as well as 11 national BBC radio networks.