The Romans, 1965
The Romans was the fourth story in Doctor Who’s second season and Maureen O’Brien’s first story as the Doctor’s new companion.
It was first broadcast in 1965 in four weekly parts.
The BBC’s test audience had a strong negative reaction to the story, complaining that it was unrealistic, “so ridiculous that it’s a bore”, and “suitable only for morons”. Despite these criticisms later critics have praised the story’s use of humour to contrast with the darker elements of the piece.
The Doctor decides it’s time the travellers took a holiday. Materialising in Rome, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero at the time of the Great Fire of Rome, it’s not long before the holiday turns to danger.
The Doctor and his new travelling companion Vicki find themselves investigating intrigue surrounding the death of a lyre player who was on the way to perform at the palace of Nero in Rome.
At the same time, Ian travels to Nero’s palace to save his fellow schoolteacher Barbera, who has been sold to Nero’s wife Poppea as a slave.
The Doctor – William Hartnell
Vicki – Maureen O’Brien
Ian Chesterton – William Russell
Barbera Wright – Jacqueline Hill
Written By: Dennis Spooner
Produced By: Verity Lambert
Associate Producer: Mervyn Pinfield
Original Transmission Dates: 16th January – 6th February 1965