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I, Claudius (TV series)


Dec 16, 2021

I, Claudius (stylized as I·CLAVDIVS) is a 1976 BBC Television adaptation of Robert Graves‘ 1934 novel I, Claudius and its 1935 sequel Claudius the God. Written by Jack Pulman, it stars Derek Jacobi as Claudius, with Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, George Baker, Margaret Tyzack, John Hurt, Patricia Quinn, Ian Ogilvy, Kevin McNally, Patrick Stewart, and John Rhys-Davies. The series covers the history of the early Roman Empire, told from the perspective of the elderly Emperor Claudius who narrates the series.

1976 BBC TV series

I, Claudius
Created by
Based on I, Claudius and
Claudius the God
by Robert Graves
Written by Jack Pulman
Directed by Herbert Wise
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language English
No. of episodes 12 (list of episodes)
Producer Martin Lisemore
Running time 50+ minutes per episode
Production company BBC/London Films
Original network BBC2
Original release 20 September (1976-09-20) 
6 December 1976 (1976-12-06)

Among many other productions and adaptations, Graves’ Claudius novels have also been adapted for BBC Radio 4 broadcast (2010) and for the stage (1972).

. . . I, Claudius (TV series) . . .

I, Claudius follows the history of the early Roman Empire, narrated by the elderly Roman Emperor Claudius, from the year 24 BC to his death in AD 54.

The series opens with Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome, attempting to find an heir, and his wife, Livia, plotting to elevate her own son Tiberius to this position. An expert poisoner, Livia uses the covert assassination and betrayal of all rivals to achieve her aims, beginning with the death in 22 BC of Marcellus. The plotting, double-crossing, and murder continue for many decades, through the reign of Tiberius, the political conspiracy of his Praetorian PrefectSejanus, and the depraved rule of the lunatic emperor Caligula, culminating in the accidental rise to power of his uncle Claudius. Claudius’ enlightened reign is marred by the betrayals of his adulterous wife Messalina and his boyhood friend Herod Agrippa. Eventually, Claudius comes to accept the inevitability of his own assassination and consents to marrying his scheming niece, Agrippina the Younger, clearing the way for the ascent of his mad stepson, Nero, whose disastrous reign Claudius vainly hopes will bring about the restoration of the Roman Republic.

. . . I, Claudius (TV series) . . .

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. . . I, Claudius (TV series) . . .