Part III: Costumes and censorship: the BBC’s Roman Empire (1970s)
in TV antiquity
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This part explores the developments of television throughout the 1970s and the increasing popularity of the miniseries format. As big cinematic epics went into decline, representation of the ancient world appeared in other forms and increasingly on television screens, for example in comedies such as Up Pompeii!. More significantly, ground-breaking new shows like I, Claudius, one of the case studies in this part, developed key aesthetic aspects of TV antiquity and pushed the boundaries of what was permissible with regard to screening sex and violence. This and other shows also led to increasing concerns over censorship and media regulation during this decade. Like I, Claudius, the lesser-known The Eagle of the Ninth (1977), the subject of this part’s second case study, strongly reflected contemporaneous concerns over empires, home and abroad, and ethical issue relating to conquest and occupation.

TV antiquity

Swords, sandals, blood and sand

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