25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: I Claudius - Complete BBC Series (5 Disc Box Set)  [DVD] (DVD)
After not seeing this for more than twenty years I was a bit apprehensive about revisiting it; would it be as good as I remembered or would time have been unkind to it? The make-up on the characters as they age throughout the series is certainly dodgy at times (but that's no revelation: it looked dodgy back in 1976) and at times there seem to be big chunks of history missing, with characters ageing alarmingly between episodes, but these are minor niggles. In fact, the series is still excellent, and better in some ways than I remembered. For one thing, I had forgotten how very funny it was. Granted the humour is as black as pitch, but there are some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, especially those featuring Sian Phillips's Livia. Derek Jacobi is wonderful, and most of the supporting cast give it their all. One surprise was the sex and violence; possibly I had been fooled by watching "Rome" recently, but I remembered "I Claudius" as being wall to wall blood and nudity, and in fact it isn't; even the orgy scenes are decorously done. Only Messalina spends a great deal of time nude, and then only in a single episode. For once, revisiting a classic and a favourite of the past has proved an enjoyable experience, and not just for reasons of nostalgia. Highly recommended.