Up Pompeii – The BBC TV Series, 1970
Innuendos and titters a plenty as Frankie Howerd takes us back to Ancient Rome.
After a pilot episode in 1969, as part of BBC’s Comedy Playhouse, a full series was commissioned. Up Pompeii began a run of two series (a total of thirty episodes) both broadcast in 1970.
Set in ancient Pompeii (pre-eruption) Howerd played a slave, Lurcio . Other main characters were Lurcio’s bumbling old master, Senator Ludicrus Sextus, the Senator’s promiscuous wife Ammonia, his daughter Erotica and his virginal son Nausius, who could forget the famous Senna the Soothsayer and Plautus.
The characters names pretty much set the tone of the show. Often thought to be little more than a vehicle for a barrage of double entendres and risqué gags. Of course this style of comedy fitted Frankie Howerd perfectly.
Each episode would open with “The Prologue” which seldom got finished or for that matter had much to do with the plot, due to interruptions from the soothsayer. “Woe, Woe and Thrice Woe” was the call, sound familiar ?
Lurcio – Frankie Howerd
Senator Ludicrus Sextus – initially Max Adrian and then Wallas Eaton
Ammonia – Elizabeth Larner
Erotica – Georgina Moon
Nausius – Kerry Gardener
Senna the Soothsayer – Jeanne Mockford
Plautus – Willie Rushton
Guest stars included a number of girls from the carry on films, with Barbera Windsor, Wendy Richards and Valerie Leon all making appearances.
Written By: Talbot Rothwell (series one) Talbot Rothwell and Sid Colin (series two)
Original Transmission Dates:
Pilot – 17 September 1969
Series 1 – 30th March 1970 – 11th May 1970
Series 2 – 14th September 1970 – 26th October 1970
A Movie version was released in 1971, two further sequels Up The Chastity Belt (1971) and Up The Front (1982)