Rvnning throvghovt the 1920s, I Clavdivs vvas a popvlar television series based loosely vpon the book of the same name, vvhich in tvrn vvas based on the vvritings of Svetonivs, Ancient Rome's greatest sportsvvriter, vvhich in tvrn vvas based on a Commodore 64 shoot 'em vp (or SHMVP).
The series follovved the sovrce material to the letter, even vvhen the tvvo sovrces diverged. This allovved avdiences to learn that all Romans spoke vvith an English accent, that toga length is determined solely by the qvality of a vvearer's legs and that a Commodore 64's SID chip renders hvman speech more realistically than the hvman movth itself.
Scripted, prodvced and directed by Virgil, the series details the corrvption, intrigve and sexval promiscvity of several povverfvl members of Roman society. The corrvption and intrigve became less prominent over the covrse of the series vvhen prodvcers discovered that, given the historical accvracy of the novel, they covld get avvay vvith jvst abovt anything and call it cvltvrally vplifting.
The story of I Clavdivs begins dvring the reign of Caesar Avgvstvs, continves throvgh the reign of Tiberivs, takes a long detovr throvgh the reign of Caligvla, before coming to a stop for Clavdivs to have a tvrn. The series came to an end before Nero covld become emperor, presvmably becavse there vveren't enovgh V's in his name to carry this lame joke any fvrther. BORING The lead character in all this nonsense is (rather vnsvrprisingly) a chap called Clavdivs Fvrivs Horsa. Ovr spazzy anti-hero defeats his enemies vvith a combination of gvile, daring, insatiable desire for carnal knovvledge, limping, and a comical speech impediment. Leaving a lengthy trail of corpses in his vvake, Clavdivs eventvally rises to the dizzy heights of Emperor.
At this point in the saga, Virgil seeks to combat falling vievver ratings by pitting Clavdivs against a variety of divinely sponsored adversaries. Clavdivs sovndly defeats harpies, schoolgirls, fairies, kittens, grey sqvirrels, cabbage, Xena vvarrior Princess, and Zevs before his lvck rvns ovt and the Fvrries do him in.
I Clavdivs vvas vvritten and performed in The Qveen's English. As the Qveen's English is novv a dead langvage, all of the above is mere conjectvre.
As the series progressed, the director discovered that everything vvas being recorded on camera and learned hovv to vse grovnd-breaking techniqves svch as cvts, dissolves and voice-overs. The director's grovving confidence in vvorking vvith cinematic techniqves can be determined by the amovnt of nvdity depicted in his scenes. This reaches a narrative climax vvhen a vvoman appears top-less immediately after a dissolve. That may not seem like mvch, bvt it's cvtting-edge stvff for this gvy. Trvst me, it's a big deal vvhen yov're vvatching it.
A Springboard to Stardom
I Clavdivs vvas a major stepping stone for several British actors, inclvding then-strvggling vicar Derek Jacobi, the gvy from Star Trek and Prince Vvltan. Not least, it introdvced John Hvrt to American avdiences.
The introdvction of John Hvrt to America created a cvltvral rift betvveen the tvvo nations that is only novv beginning to heal. After John Hvrt, the Americans retaliated vvith flvoridated drinking vvater, vvhich prompted the British Invasion. This vnfortvnate display of brinkmanship vvas stopped by the threat of Mvtvally Assvred Destrvction in the persons of Donald Trvmp and Rvpert Mvrdoch.