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Doctor Who, episode 12 (2.4)
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2012 09:24:34
Can the Doctor resist the temptation to fiddle before Rome burns?
The four time travellers are enjoying a rare holiday, staying at a villa not far from Rome in the year 64 AD. The Doctor soon becomes restless and sets off to visit the city, taking Vicki with him. In their absence, Ian and Barbara are kidnapped by slave traders.
Having been mistaken for the famous lyre player Maximus Pettulian and asked to perform at the Emperor Nero's Court, the Doctor has to devise ever more elaborate schemes to avoid revealing that he cannot actually play the instrument.
Ian meanwhile becomes a galley slave, while Barbara is sold to Nero's slave buyer Tavius at an auction in Rome. Ian and a fellow slave named Delos escape from the galley when it is wrecked in a storm and make their way to Rome to try to find and rescue Barbara.
There they are recaptured and forced to fight as gladiators in the arena. Events reach their climax when, by accidentally setting light to the Emperor's plans for the rebuilding of Rome, the Doctor gives him the idea of having the city razed to the ground. Nero plays the lyre while Rome burns, and the Doctor and Vicki and a reunited Ian and Barbara make their separate ways back to the villa.
By The Television Companion on 23 Oct 2003 21:47:38
The Romans, although likewise directed by Christopher Barry, is a very different style of production from The Rescue
, relying far more heavily than any previous Doctor Who
story on the use of humour to complement the drama. The four-parter that Dennis Spooner came up with is an amusing romp through Emperor Nero's Rome, drawing heavily on the traditions of farce but still having its serious moments, such as the scene where the slave-master Tavius is revealed as secretly being a...
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