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Up Pompeii! (1970)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Pilot Episode (first transmitted on BBC1 on 17/09/1969

Lurcio begins the prologue. He is interrupted first by his master, Ludicrus Sextus, who has lost his laurel leaves, and then by the Prophetess predicting death and destruction. A third interruption comes from Ludicrus, who announces that he will propose a bill to allow slaves to purchase their freedom.

Erotica, Ludicrus's 'liberteenager' daughter, requests the chariot keys from her father. Ammonia, Ludicrus's wife, appears in an upstairs window, prompting numerous double entendres from Lurcio.

A litter arrives for Ludicrus, who departs for the senate. Ammonia calls for Lurcio, and he makes his way to her bathroom, where she complains that she has lost the soap and requires his help to find it.

Outside, Nauseous appears. Meeting Lurcio, he declares his love for a slave-girl who has just arrived from England. He gives Lurcio 50 drachmas to buy the girl for him. The English Captain arrives with his scantily-clad slave girls and informs Lurcio that they are destined for the Lupo Puoporum club. Ammonia recognises the Captain's voice as that of an old flame and invites him to her bedroom. Nauseous reappears and Lurcio informs him that the girl has been purchased. Nauseous breaks her chains and the couple exit together.

Ludicrus returns and Lurcio distracts him from his wife's misconduct by suggesting he visit the club. Meanwhile, Lurcio tells the Captain and Ammonia that Ludicrus is outside, and urges the Captain to escape by jumping into the river.

Lurcio disguises himself as the Captain and persuades Ammonia to disguise herself as the missing slave girl, convincing her that she will get to meet the Captain again. Lurcio takes the girls to the club to sell them.

Just as the girls have been taken to their rooms, Ludicrus and some friends appear and the owner shows them to their rooms. Lurcio informs Nauseous - who is canoodling with his slave girl - that Ludicrus is there and they must escape. Just as they enter the main room so too do Ammonia and Ludicrus, shocked at finding one another there, shortly followed by Erotica with a young gladiator. The ensuing confusion is cleared up by a few hastily concocted excuses, courtesy of Lurcio, and everyone leaves happy.

Lurcio now has 500 drachmas to buy his freedom. The bill, however, was not approved, and as the Prophetess is heard wailing 'it's the end', Lurcio finally finishes his prologue and the story.