One in this ongoing series of dramas presented under the umbrella of "Masterpiece Theatre," hosted by Alistair Cooke. This thirteen-part adaptation of Robert Graves's historical novel "I, Claudius," is set in the early years of the Roman Empire and depicts the life and milieu of the first four Roman Emperors as recalled by the fourth, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus (10 B.C. - A.D. 54), the lame, stammering grandson of Mark Antony. In part three, "Waiting in the Wings," the aged Claudius recalls how he was the recipient of a strange omen while only a boy, and how Livia schemed to put her son Tiberius in position to succeed Augustus. Although Julia's son Gaius has died mysteriously, Augustus still refuses to allow Tiberius to return to Rome from Rhodes, where he has lived during the eight years of his exile. Claudius is playing with the other children when two eagles drop a wretched lion cub to his bosom, which is interpreted by the seer Domitius to be an important prophecy for the boy and the whole of Rome. The villainess Livia employs Lucius's best friend, the ambitious Plautius, to spy on Julia's many sexual liasons, and to murder Lucius. When Augustus learns of Julia's debauchery, she is banished from Rome, and, following Lucius's death, Tiberius is allowed to return. As Augustus ages, Tiberius and his son Postumus become the logical choices in the line of succession. Following the program, Alistair Cooke introduces a scene from part four, in which Livia gives a sour pep talk to the gladiators who are about to participate in combat games at the arena, encouraging them to be more brutal.


  • DATE: November 20, 1977 Sunday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:58:41
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T86:1257
  • GENRE: Docudrama
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Docudrama
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1971-


  • Martin Lisemore … Producer
  • Herbert Wise … Director
  • Jack Pulman … Writer
  • Robert Graves … Based on the novel by
  • Gary Downie … Choreographer
  • Wilfred Josephs … Theme Music by
  • David Wulstan … Music by
  • Clerkes of Oxenford, The … Music by
  • Alistair Cooke … Host
  • Derek Jacobi … Cast, Claudius
  • Sian Phillips … Cast, Livia
  • Brian Blessed … Cast, Augustus
  • George Baker … Cast, Tiberius
  • Margaret Tyzack … Cast, Antonia
  • Frances White … Cast, Julia
  • Simon MacCorkindale … Cast, Lucius
  • Darien Angadi … Cast, Plautius
  • Ashley Knight … Cast, Young Claudius
  • Kevin McNally … Cast, Castor
  • Katharine Levy … Cast, Livilla
  • Michael Clements … Cast, Herod
  • Esmond Knight … Cast, Domitius
  • Kevin Stoney … Cast, Thrayllus
  • Alan Thompson … Cast, Praxis
  • Diana Hutchinson … Cast, Agrippa
  • Gary Lock … Cast, Germanicus
  • Alister Kerr … Cast, Postumus
  • Roy Stewart … Cast, Sentor
  • Nick Willatt … Cast, the Courier
  • John Burgess … Cast, Julia's lover
  • James Fagan … Cast, Julia's lover
  • Ronald Markham … Cast, Julia's lover
  • John Scott Martin … Cast, Julia's lover