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Ciaran Hinds, Kevin McKidd and Lindsay Duncan head the cast of BBC/HBO epic series Rome

Category: TV Drama

Date: 22.03.2004
Printable version

Ciaran Hinds, Kevin McKidd and Lindsay Duncan head a cast of top British acting talent in Rome, the BBC/HBO blockbuster epic drama series that chronicles the rise of the ancient Roman Empire through the eyes of two foot soldiers.

Ciaran Hinds stars as Gaius Julius Caesar, the battle-weary commander of Rome's conquering army in Gaul and Kevin KcKidd is Lucius Vorenus, one of the two foot soldiers around whom the drama unfolds.

Ray Stevenson is the headstrong legionary Titus Pullo, Vorenus's battlefield cohort; James Purefoy is Mark Antony, one of Caesar's powerful political allies; Lindsay Duncan is Servilia, the lover of Caesar and mother of Brutus; Polly Walker is the powerful, manipulative and sexy Atia, Caesar's niece; Kerry Condon is Octavia, the daughter of Atia, who is forced to choose duty over love; Ben Whishaw is Gaius Octavian, who becomes the first Emperor of Rome and Indira Varma is Niobe, Vorenus's stunningly beautiful wife.

Rome is a co-production between the BBC and HBO.

The 12-part series begins shooting in Rome this month, with Michael Apted directing the first three episodes.

Production will be based at Rome's Cinecitta Studios, where a five-acre set is currently being built.

Additional location filming will take place throughout Europe and North Africa.

The lead writer is English screen-writer Bruno Heller, who is also an executive producer on the drama.

Adrian Hodges (Charles II, The Power And The Passion) is a co-writer.

The project is a cross-genre collaboration for the BBC, with Jonathan Stamp, an executive producer for history and archaeology, as a consultant on the series.

Stamp's recently acclaimed programme Colosseum, has been nominated for a Bafta.

Jana Bennett, BBC Director of Television, says: "This is one of the most ambitious drama 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.

"Forging 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.

"Audiences around the world can look forward to a landmark piece of great television."

Gareth Neame, Head of Drama Commissioning, says: "We are delighted to be working with celebrated director Michael Apted on this landmark series and we're impressed with the high-calibre line up of British acting talent that Michael is assembling, alongside British writers such as Bruno Heller and Adrian Hodges."

The first series of 12 episodes is planned to be broadcast on the BBC in the UK and on HBO in 2005.

Rome, the saga of two ordinary Roman soldiers and their families, looks 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 Rome's first Emperor, Octavian.

It is an intimate drama of love and betrayal, masters and slaves, husbands and wives, and portrays a fascinating and influential period of history - the birth of a modern society as we know it today - and brings the audience vividly into everyday Roman life.

Chris Albrecht, Chairman and CEO of HBO, 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 resonance."

"Like 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."

Jane 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.

"Rome 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."

The series begins in 52 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.

Terrified, 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 of power.

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.

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.

It 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.

The co-executive producer is Frank Doelger; the producer is Marco Pugini; co-producers are Robert Papazian and James Hirsch.

Additional writers of Rome will be Alexandra Cunningham, David Frankel, John Milius and William J MacDonald.



Category: TV Drama

Date: 22.03.2004
Printable version


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