My hunger for a Roman-type Britcom continued.
Enter Chelmsford 123. A bit of refreshing fun, it starred Jimmy Mullville (from the show G.B.H. and is also a prolific TV producer) as the Roman governor Aulus Paulinus, and Rory McGrath (of the 2006 BBC Three Men in a Boat) as the hirsute Briton tribal warlord Badvoc. It had two series, one in 1988 and the other in 1990, and for a goofy comedy, the sets and production were quite nice.
Set in 123 AD, it begins in Rome, with the complacent and comfort-loving Aulus Paulinus enjoying his opulent life in the emperor's court. Sadly for him, after a minor insult to the emperor's lady friend, Portia, he finds himself expelled to the rough and wild British Isles...backward, miserable, and bleak. Clelmsford (only recently having been declared a city), is not in that era a place fgor which our new governor Paulinus is suited. On the other hand, the Celts ostensibly in his charge are quite in their element; Their leader Badvoc, constantly finding ways to be a burr in Paulinus' silken cushions. The two leaders are pretty much surrounded by clods; Paulinus is burdened with his twit brother-in-law Grasientus (hilariously done by Phillip Pope), and Badvoc has his uncombed tribal compatriots...it's great fun all around. Money shemes, Kidnapping plots, and other such comedic fodder abounds in Chelmsford 123. Quite silly. Quite fun.
Produced by Channel 4 and Hat Trick, it's really quite a well done show. It's not not entirely on the level of the afore-mentioned Blackadder, but it's very funny all around...and in quite the same ironic and brutal way. As a student of Latin, I was pleased to find that the scenes in Rome were in the lingo (the first and last episodes); one of the many fine touches in this jolly programme.
Full of mischief and silly puns, it's very much worth watching!