My Thoughts On Story 012 – “The Romans”

All roads lead to Rome. The I-10 being, perhaps, a notable exception.

wpid-doctor-who-the-romans
“Oh, sod the aqueduct, Chesterfield!”

This story is, essentially, light farce, and in that way it works fairly well. Yes, it deals with some rather heavy subjects, like slavery and the near rape of a character, as well as various attempts at murder, but it’s all played lightly and works surprisingly well.

Derek Francis really steals the show as Nero. He’s very over-the-top and entertaining, and really helps make this story work. Credit must also go to Hartnell, who does an excellent job showing a more comical side to the Doctor. Also, I’m glad Vicki was given some things to to do other than just be a scared little girl, as Susan was way too often. The writers seem to have found their footings with Vicki more easily than they did with Susan.

Now I will say there were times when I felt my attention drifting, and had a tough time remaining focused on the story. It wasn’t ever drifting or anything, but it did feel a bit unfocused at times. The completely different story for each of the TARDIS crew was a nice idea, but perhaps could have been trimmed down a bit.

That minor complaint aside, this really is a great and entertaining story, and so it saddens me greatly to realize what’s next. *sigh*

Cast
Others
  • Derek FrancisNero
  • Michael Peake — Tavius
  • Brian Proudfoot — Tigellinus
  • Kay Patrick — Poppaea Sabina
  • Peter Diamond — Delos
  • Derek Sydney — Sevcheria
  • Nicholas Evans — Didius
  • Barry Jackson — Ascaris
  • Anne Tirard — Locusta
  • Dennis Edwards — Centurion
  • Margot Thomas — Stall Holder
  • Edward Kelsey — Slave Buyer
  • Bart Allison — Maximus Pettulian
  • Dorothy-Rose Gribble — Woman Slave
  • Gertan Klauber — Galley Master
  • Ernest Jennings, John Caesar — Men in Market
  • Tony Lambden — Court Messenger
Production
Writer Dennis Spooner
Director Christopher Barry
Script editor Dennis Spooner (uncredited)
Producer Verity Lambert
Mervyn Pinfield(associate producer)
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Raymond Jones
Production code M
Series Season 2
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Date started 16 January 1965
Date ended 6 February 1965

Next episode: “The Web Planet”

Next story: “The Web Planet”

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