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 four, "What Shall We Do About Claudius?" the aged Claudius recalls how he was instructed by relatives and elders to play the fool in order to avoid the murderous carnage of Livia, who will stop at nothing to ensure her son Tiberius succeeds Augustus as Caesar of the Roman Empire. Postumus, the only remaining grandson of Augustus, and his heir apparent, is traduced for rape by Claudius's sister, Livilla, under instructions from Livia. When Postumus confronts Augustus about Livia's history of deception and murder, Augustus -- still clueless of all her chicanery -- angrily banishes his grandson from Rome. Before Postumus can be shuttled from Rome permanently, however, he escapes his guards and informs Claudius of Livia's doings, urging him to tell his brother Germanicus what has transpired. Claudius, a budding historian and talented scholar -- whose marriage was arranged when he was a child -- is betrothed to a woman who is a foot taller than he is. Meanwhile, the Roman army suffers massive defeats in Germany, and Tiberius is dispatched to reverse their fortunes. Following the program, Alistair Cooke introduces a scene from part five, in which Augustus apologizes to Claudius for thinking the stuttering scholar was a fool.


  • DATE: November 27, 1977 Sunday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:59:04
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T86:1258
  • 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