What’s it called?


What’s it about?

A co-production between Sky and Amazon Prime, and first broadcast in the UK on Sky Atlantic, Britannia is set in AD 43 and follows the events which unfold after the invasion of Britain by the Romans – mostly hallucinogenic-inspired mayhem as the Celtic tribes and their Druids mount a guerrilla war against the occupying force. Series one and two are released on DVD tomorrow (Acorn Media, £34.99)

What’s so good about it?

The cast is pretty stellar (see below) but it’s the tone of the show which really makes it stand out. It’s written by playwright Jez Butterworth, whose 2009 Royal Court Theatre hit Jerusalem blended copious amounts of drugs and alcohol with English folklore traditions to create a powerful commentary on contemporary society. In its way, Britannia does pretty much the same thing.

Who’s in it?

The show stars Mackenzie Crook (who also appeared in the original production of Jerusalem) and David Morrissey. Crook plays chief Druid Veran as well as his risen-from-the-dead brother Harka (it’s complicated) while Morrissey has the time of his life playing ruthless and super-unpleasant Roman general Aulus Plautius. There are also major roles for Kelly Reilly, Annabel Scholey, Zoe Wannamaker, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Ian McDiarmid and, playing Emperor Claudius as a cruel, potty-mouthed narcissist, Steve Pemberton from The League Of Gentlemen and Inside No 9.

Fun fact …

The theme tune is 1966 psych-rock favourite Season Of The Witch by Glasgow-born pop folkie Donovan and from Cream to Fairport Convention the rest of the series is riddled with 1960s rock classics.

Best bits

There’s a great scene in series two where Morrissey entertains three tribal elders in his enormous bath and menacingly accuses one of them of urinating in it.

For fans of ...

Game Of Thrones, Merlin, the Sacred Space area at Glastonbury