I, Claudius (1976): Season 1, Episode 10 - Hail Who? - full transcript

Caligula has not only made his horse a senator but has turned the palace into a brothel, selling off senators and their wives for sex. Although scared of him - and getting thrown into a river for his pains - Claudius is seemingly the only person who can put any sort of brake on the mad emperor, intervening to save mens' lives on at least two occasions, the second when Caligula fails in his attempt to defeat Neptune and push back the waves, blaming his generals for his failure. Although Claudius has been living in peace with ex-prostitute Calpurnia Caligula thinks it would be fun to mismatch him with the beautiful but wanton Messalina and has them marry each other. Finally, sickened by his excesses the Praetorian guard under Cassius Chaerea kills Caligula. A sergeant finds Claudius cowering under a table and, in the absence of any other claimants, he is declared the emperor of Rome.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it - foodval.com
It's from Herod.

- What does he say?
- Oh, it's written from J-Jerusalem.

Read it to me.
His letters are so amusing.

"My dear old friend,

"what is all this I hear
about your living in three rooms

"in the p-poor quarter of town?

"Is it serious?

"Why did you not write to me?

"Is it that absurd p-pride of yours?

"Well, I shall attend to that

"Meanwhile, knowing how loath
you are to accept money

"and being the only p-practical
friend you ever had,

"I enclose a little p-p-present
for you.

"Please make proper use of it.

- What is it? It seems very small
- Well, I don't know.

I don't think that's very generous.


Oh, Claudius, I think your luck
is changing.

I'm sure it's an omen!

Those dice are crooked.

You can't possibly use them!

Oh, dear Herod! How I miss him.

- Master, have you seen this?
- What?

- It was on the door of the temple.
- What is it?

It's advertising a brothel
in the palace! They?re all over the city.

A brothel? In the palace?
But who is to serve in it?

His sisters, his cousins,
senators and their wives.

- You knew about it?
- Yes.

Why didn't you tell me?

He wants you there?

He wants me to take the m-money
on the door.

Oh, Claudius.

The monster. The little monster.

Forcing the nobility
into prostitution.

And in the palace!

Even Calpurnia wouldn't serve there,
and it's her profession!

Briseis, that is not
her profession any more!

My dear, that was
and is my profession.

I'm a prostitute
and I'm not ashamed of it.

All the same, I won't serve
in his brothel!

Either as d-doorkeeper or chucker out.
There's some price a man won't pay.

- Claudius, she's terrified.
- There's nothing you can do.

Claudius, listen.
She's given birth six weeks ago.

- I'm afraid of what she'll do.
- There are no exceptions.

There must be a room
to put her in. Please!

Do you want my throat cut
along with yours?! You've paid, go in!

Enjoy yourself.

- Come, it's not important.
- No.

Do you want the child left
without a mother? Come on.

Ah, another customer.

And we were just running out of men.

Real men.

Sabinus, isn't it? And I see
you've brought your pretty wife.

My dear, you'll make a fortune
in there tonight.

You'd better, anyway. The Emperor
has just raised his commission.

- Shall we go?
- Ah, reinforcements.

Marcus Vinicius,
the Emperor's brother-in-law

and your first customer.

Make him pay through the nose,
my dear - you're worth it.


- What are you doing?
- Chucking you out!

- But you've no right!
- That's what I'm here for.

- Why?
- For creating a disturbance.

- She was creating the disturbance!
- Out! See him off the premises.

- Go home.
- But the Emperor...?

I'll tell him I threw you out
for indecent behaviour.

- You're a good man, Claudius.
- Oh.


We must help him, the Emperor.

- He's your husband. You help him!
- Claudius.

He's sick.
He needs good people around him.

He's killed them all! What are
you doing here in your condition?

He told me to come.
He likes me to be with him.

Has he shown you, naked,
to his G-German guards lately?

Oh, I'm sorry, Caesonia.

It's not for me to criticise.

I bleat with the rest of them
whenever he appears.

There are no lions among us any more.

What are you doing? Let me go!


"Vulcan, with awkward grace
his office plies,

"while unextinguished laughter
shakes the skies."

Homer. For "Vulcan"
read "Old Uncle Claudius."


"Then, from his anvil.
the lame craftsman rose...

"Wide...with distorted legs,
oblique he goes."

Oh, bravo!

Henceforth, Uncle,
you shall be Vulcan.

While I...

Oh, what am I...

but Ulysses returning home

to witness the shame and degradation
of his household.


Did you ever see a sight
as sad and degrading as this?

Shall I arrest them?

No. Let them indulge themselves
a while longer.

Soon, I promise, I shall flush
this savage into the Tiber forever.

Meanwhile, Jove must
cleanse himself in battle.

I have sworn to fight a war
against the Germans

that will end in their annihilation.

I shall bring back booty to Rome,
fill her coffers, enrich her purse.

Cassius, order the detachments
and raise the levies!

I go to forge,
in the white-hot fires of war,

a new and tempered spirit of Rome

that will last a thousand years!

There's a good girl



I brought a little g-gift
for the baby.

Oh, Claudius.

That's lovely.

- Show it to her.
- How is she?

Come and see.

Ah, there. She's very pretty.

Yes... She looks just like you.

Come and sit down.

So, how is Calpurnia?

She's well
She sends her felicitations.

I'm going to see the Emperor
in Germany.

I'll be able to report
that you're both looking well

- Why are you going to Germany?
- Haven't you heard?

- You know they tell me nothing.
- I'm not sure I should tell you.

Oh, I suppose you'll hear about it
soon enough.

Well, he has informed the Senate
by letter

that he has uncovered a vast
conspiracy in the army of the Rhine.

Six corps commanders and the army
commander himself, Gaetulicus,

have bean executed.

More executions
are still taking place.

Do you think there was a conspiracy?

Who knows? Would it surprise you?

But Gaetulicus? No.
He was my father's old friend,

my brother's corps commander,
a soldier of iron loyalties.

- No. That's not possible.
- Why are you going, then?

The Senate is sending me,
and two ex-Consuls, to congratulate him

on the s-suppression of the mutiny.

As I said, the only lions
left in Rome are in the arena.

I'm also to strip Livia's apartments
of their valuables

and send them to him by road.
He stresses by road.

Apparently, he has a quarrel
with Neptune and fears a boat will sink.

- What does he want them for?
- To auction to the provincials.

He's auctioning everything
at the moment. He has a gift for it.

Claudius, what am I doing here?

Why did he choose me for a wife?

I'm ten years older than he is,
not pretty.

I was born the daughter
of a night-watchman, I married a baker.

What does he see in me?

Perhaps that you,
alone among everyone...

truly l-love him.

Yes, I do love him.

I can't explain why.

I know he does terrible things.

I'll tell you something.

He is more afraid than any of us.


I've just bean talking to that river god.
He threatened to drown me.

- Does he know who you are?
- He does now.

I've just given him
a severe reprimand.

Well, the river's going down,
isn't it?

Yes, Caesar.

Your uncle is here
with Marcus Vinicius and Asprenas.

Let them in.

Hail Caesar.

Lord of the Heavens, the Senate
and the people of...

Where are my carts?


The carts with the valuables
in them.

Oh, heaven bless Your Majesty,
they?re coming by road.

They?ll be a few days. We wanted to
get here quick, so we came by water.

Oh, then back by water you go!

- Throw him in the river!
- Oh, merciful god!

How dare you arrive
without my carts?!

You said they should come by road!

Take him onto the bridge
and throw him off!

Prostrate yourselves
in the presence of Jove!


How dare the Senate send that idiot
to congratulate me!

I'll have their throats cut. He's
not worthy. The man's an imbecile!

I save Rome from a conspiracy

and they send that clapped-out
crippled old clown to felicitate me?

Is that the respect
that they give their Emperor? !

What's going on there?

More plots, more conspiracies.

I'll set my German guards on them
when I get back.

I'll burn the place down!
It never was any use!

Yes. I should have done that
a long time ago.

I should have had his throat cut

He makes a mess of everything!

He couldn't even order my brothers'
statues on time.

Merciful god, we only came by sea
to bring our congratulations sooner.

I wanted carts, not congratulations!

Up! Up! Up! Up! Up!

Did I not tell you that I've had
a quarrel with Neptune?

He plagues me all the time
with his sea noises,

stirs the river gods up against me
and makes war on me.

How dare you ride with him!



Perhaps you plotted with him.

No, merciful god!

Yes, you and that imbecile uncle
of mine plotted with him.

- No, highest one...
- What did you talk about, then?

You and Neptune?

What did you say to one another?

Nothing, we swear!

Mere mortals can't talk to a god!

Perhaps he appeared to you
in mortal guise as I do.

What did he look like?

We never saw him.

Oh, please believe me.
He wouldn't plot with us.

Perhaps you're right.

But I shall kill you just the same.

Down! Cassius, give me your sword.

Oh, please! In the name
of your wife, my sister...

How dare you mention
that whore to me?!

But what have we done?

I'll show the Senate
what I think of their envoys!

I'll send you back in pieces. I wish
I'd done the same with my uncle.

Never mind, they?ll get the message.



And where have you been,
my dear, dear Vulcan?

Oh... "I felt the Thunderer's might,

"Hurled headlong down
from the ethereal height,

"Breathless I fell.
in giddy motions lost.

"The Sinthians raised me
on the Lemnian coast."

For "Lemnian" read "Rhenian".

By Jove! - which is always
to say "by myself" -

this fellow knows his Homer.

Please, Claudius, beseech
the Emperor to save our lives.

"Be silent and obey!

"Dear as you are,
if Jove his arm extend

"I can but grieve,
unable to defend."

Look, if the next two lines are apt,
then they?re saved.

If not, I'll have their throats cut.

Oh, what... Oh!

"What soul so daring
in your aid to move,

"Or lift his arm
against the might of Jove?"

For "Jove" read "C-C..."


Oh, he's got a line for everything.
Get up.

You're saved by Claudius'
ready tongue.

Come into the other room.
I'll give you a blanket.

Oh, Cassius.

What is the watchword for tonight,

Oh. The watchword for tonight?
Let me see.

What about "Give us a kiss"?

It could have been just now.

It could happen tomorrow
or the next day to you or to me.

But do not doubt
it will happen one day.

Did that surprise you -
the watchword that I gave to Cassius?

Oh, I t-thought it was a j-j-joke.

It was, but it's my joke, not his.

I do it to annoy him.

When he addresses
a commander of the guard,

he has to say "Give us a kiss"!

Yesterday, I gave him
"Touch me, Titus"!

Why, m-may I ask, d-do you do that?

- Because he's a cry-baby.
- Cassius?

I thought he was the b-bravest
soldier in the army.

So did I, but he's not.

I had him torture Gaetulicus to get
some information out of him,

and we got no information
and he died under torture,

and one of the guards told me
that Cassius wept.

I was going to give him Macro's
command, but I didn't after that.

How many hours a night do you sleep?

Sleep? Oh, eight or n-nine,
I suppose.

Well, I sleep barely three!

Do g-g-gods need more?

Do you think I'm mad?


Yes. Sometimes I think
that I'm going mad. Do you...?

Be honest with me, has that thought
ever crossed your mind?


Why, the idea is preposterous!

You set the standard of s-sanity
for the whole world.

Then why is there all this galloping
in my head?

And why do I sleep so little?

Well, it's your mortal disguise.

You see, a physical body is a great strain
if you're not used to it...

which a god isn't.

Um, err... And that explains too,
I think...

the three hours sleep.

You see, undisguised gods
never sleep at all

Yes, you're probably right.

But if I'm a god, which of course
I am, why didn't I think of that?

Anyway, whatever the reason,
it's very hard to be a god.

Oh, you do know that I am
that all-powerful god

whose coming the Jews have
prophesied for centuries?

Oh, yes, you told me.

I feel very p-privileged
to receive that information -

especially as the Jews, apparently,
don't know it.

But it's prophesied that he'll die
young and hated by his own people.

No, I can't believe that.

Not hated.

It's incredible, isn't it?
It must be true.

Uncle, I want you to come with us
on this expedition.

When we've auctioned
the stuff in the carts...

When they arrive!

We shall cross the Rhine, defeat the
Germans and march towards the sea.

I shall do battle
with my old enemy Neptune,

and what triumphs I shall have
when we return to Rome.

Now leave me. I have a headache.


Your Emperor is amongst you
once again.

All his wars successfully concluded

and the victorious armies
brought back to Rome.

He had thought,
in his divine innocence...

that the roads might be lined
with cheering crowds.

He had thought that the streets
might be strewn with flowers.

He had thought that messages would
tell him of triumphs to be awarded.

What did he find?

This conqueror of the Germans,
this victor over the mighty Neptune?

The streets empty of crowds
and flowers, no triumphs awarded,

no Games, no celebrations...

but three miserable old ex-Consuls
waiting at the gates to great him

and a room full of cowardly
stay-at-home senators,

who spent all their time
at the theatre and at the baths,

while he has spent six months

living no better
than a private soldier!

Yes, your Emperor has returned...

but with this in his hand!

But, Jove, you ordered no triumphs.

Well, of course I ordered
no triumphs!

Would I order triumphs for myself?

But you ordered us not to order any.

Yes, and you took me at my word,
didn't you?


It didn't occur to you that I might
be leaving it up to you

for your love to show itself freely?

It didn't occur to you that it might
be my natural humility speaking?

"I ordered you not to celebrate."

But you ordered celebrations
for the anniversary of Actium, didn't you?

Celebrated the defeat
of my great-grandfather Mark Antony!

How many bottles of wine did you open
toasting his murder

while I was doing battle
with the sea?

Show them our booty!

Show them the plunder we gathered
from old Neptune.


Yes. Spoils of the sea.

Loot from old Neptune.

He won't take me on again
in a hurry.

Jove, while you were away,

we built a new temple to you
on Palatine Hill

That won't save you!
Down on your knees, all of you!

Bend your heads. I shall sever
each one at the neck!

Merciful god!

Would you spoil the great day
of your return by spilling blood?

When they write the history
of this day

should they have to mix it
with the death of these fools?

Claudius is right, my Lord.

My husband.
Think of your little daughter.

When she is older, she will read
the account of your return.

Must these fools intrude
on such a glorious page of history?

Your soft words
have appeased my wrath.

As we know, prayer can soften
the hearts of gods.

You may go.

I shall inspect the temple
in the morning.

How right you were, Jove,
to want to punish them

for celebrating
the battle of Actium.

Marcus, I had them both ways.
If they hadn't,

they would have insulted Augustus,
my grandfather, who won the battle.

And Agrippa too,
who was your other grandfather...

Marcus Vinicius,
you are no longer my friend.

What have I said?

You reminded him that Agrippa
was his grandfather.

- But Agrippa was a great man!
- Yes, but of very l-low birth.

Such men do not produce gods,

Certainly not ones capable
of d-defeating Neptune.

If you're no longer his friend,
what can you be but his enemy?

Go your own way, Cassius.

If we all go our own way, we shall
all end by going the same way.


Yes. I'm coming!

Yes, yes!
I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming.

Oh, Claudius, don't go.
They could be assassins.

Who are you? What do you want?

- You're wanted at the palace!
- Is that you, Cassius?

- Yes. Hurry up.
- W-what's the matter?

My orders are to fetch you at once.

Marcus Vinicius and Asprenas too.

Never mind about dressing.
Throw on a cloak.

How long...? How long have we been
sitting here, do you think?

About t-t-two hours.
It must be nearly light.

What do you think
he's going to do with us?

I don't know. I j-just hope
it's q-quick, that's all

Claudius, I'm sorry
I've made fun of you.

- It doesn't m-matter now.
- Will you give me your hand?

Thank you,
that's a great comfort to me.



* Whenever the God of Night
sleeps on

* The rosy-fingered goddess, Dawn

* Tiptoes on his domain

* And then she flits across
the skies from star to star about

* She lightens darkness where she flies
and blows Night's candles out

* Raging on her heels Night treads

* And tries to hold her fast

* And bring her loveliness to bed
and ravish her at last

* And every night he once contrives
to win a single kiss

* To win a single kiss

* Before the morning sun arrives

* To rob him of his bliss

* And now she turns
and lightly treads

* On pillows everywhere

* She must awaken from their beds

* The secret lovers there

* But loath to part
they linger there

* She urges them away

* Oh, Dawn, of goddesses most fair

* We worship you each day

* We worship you each day! *


Oh, god of gods!

Never have I witnessed a dance

that gave me
such p-profound s-spiritual joy!

Oh. Did you like it?

It was indesc-ccribable.

Well, it was only a rehearsal

Oh. W-whatever will the f-finished
performance be like?

Get up. Come here.

What did you think of the girl?

Oh, b-beautiful

You old lecher!

Bring the girl back!


I'm going to marry her to you

T-t-to me?

Mmm. I think it'd be very funny.

All that loveliness married to
a silly crippled old fool like you.

What on earth would you do with it?


Oh, Messalina, come here.

I'm going to marry you...

to Uncle Claudius!

And you can both come and live
in the palace.

Thank you, Caesar.

And now I must away
to shed more light.


Oh, Cassius!

Oh, yes. The watchword for tonight.

"Bottoms up!"


I give you another watchword -

I'm s-s-sorry.

Don't you want to marry me?


it's j-just that I'm so much older
than you.

I'd be very happy
to be married to you.

To tell you the truth, I was
terrified when he brought me here.

I thought he was going to...

I'd feel safe being married to you.

Do you think you could ever love me?

I think...

I'm in l-l-love with you already.

Well, if I'm to be married tomorrow,
I must go home and get ready.

Goodbye, Claudius.



Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero

his family and friends.

Welcome, Tiberius Claudius Drusus
Nero Germanicus,

to you and your family
and your friends.

I thank you, V-Valeria Messalina,
for my family and my friends.

And I thank you for m-myself.

The noble senator Incitatus.

You know everybody, don't you?

Well, find yourself a place.

He's never been to a wedding before.

His life has really opened up
since I made him a senator.

Well, let the auspices be taken.

Kill him. We've talked enough.
I say kill him.

It's risky.

You can't kill a man
without taking a risk.

But those German guards
never leave him.

There's always a way.

Are you with us? Or will you wait
till he offers you poisoned fruit

or has your throat cut at dinner?

It's all right for you,
you're a soldier.

Yes. You can leave the killing
to me. But will you help?

He's right, Marcus.

The longer we leave it, the more
certain it is we shan't survive.

All right. But when and where?

Tomorrow is the final day
of the Games.

- Let's do it then.


There's a covered way
at the rear of the Imperial box.

It's an exit you must
persuade him to use.

- How?
- Find a reason.

Tell him there are crowds out front
and they?ll delay his meal

He'll have his German guards
with him.

Yes. Now, here's the tricky part.


Oh, damn! I've lost all my money!
I'm not playing any more.

Here, Lord, let me lend you some.

Lend? I hate running up debts.

- Well, have half of my...
- Accepted.

Why am I so unlucky today!

Unless of course it's your dice
I'm playing with.

My dice? Why should my dice
be different from any other?

A dice is a very personal thing.

One man's dice may be lucky for him,
but not for his friend.

Here, Lord, try these.
They were sent to me by Herod.

He claims they once belonged
to Alexander the G-Great.

Really? I'd no idea
that Alexander played dice.

He had many things in common
with you, Lord.


What is it?

He's got the Thracian down.

The crowd want him spared,
they?ve turned their thumbs up.

The Thracian.


If they only had one neck,
I'd hack it through.

That Thracian's lost me a lot
of money over the last year.

Alexander, you say? Well, let's see.

By Jove - which is always to say
"by myself" - that looks promising.

Pay up, everybody.

I'm indebted to you, Uncle.
You've changed my luck.

Some dice are fit only for gods
to throw.

What about some food?
Is Caesar hungry?


Oh, I see what you mean!
These dice were made for me.

Pay up again.

You did me a lot of harm
with those dice, Marcus.

- I'm raising the stakes to 3,000.
- I've r-run out of money, Lord.

That doesn't matter.
Your new wife's got plenty. Pay up.

I've posted guards at both ends

and told them to prevent anyone
coming through here.

They?ll be out soon.

I've dismissed the palace guards.
They?re all at the Games.

Will you strike the first blow?

Jove himself couldn't stop me.

- I can see you don't want to play
any more.

You only like playing
when you're winning.

Shall we watch the Games
for a while?

What about a swim and some food?

I don't feel very hungry today.
I've had a wonderful morning, Uncle.

Is there a favour I could grant you?

Oh, Lord, please, regard it
as a small return

for the g-great happiness
you've given me with my new wife.

Happiness? She wasn't supposed
to make you happy, nor you her.

- It was meant to be a joke!
- Oh, no, no. You misunderstand me.

I'm so clumsy at expressing myself.

No. What I meant was my happiness
comes from contemplating yours.

To be the cause
of s-so much merriment

is the source
of d-deepest satisfaction to me.

Where are you going, Marcus?

To tell the truth, Lord,
nature calls.

Something I ate last night.

Don't look at me. If I doctor your food,
you'll know straight away!

That's odd.
He wanted to eat a moment ago.

His behaviour's very strange lately.

- Strange?
- Well, nervous. Why is he nervous?

We're all nervous
in your presence, Lord.

I have never bean able
to understand.

Excuse me. Thank you.

He doesn't want to eat.
We'll have to put it off.

- Then I'll kill him where he sits!
- They?ll cut you down.

What's that to me? But I'll call
on you for help before they do.

No, wait! I'll tell him
his Greek ballet have arrived.

He'll come out for that.

Anything. But get him out here!

Lord, Cassius informs me
your Greek ballet is here.

- Greek ballet? Where are they?
- Waiting outside to great you.

Bring them in. Just the boys.
The girls can wait.

They have prepared a dance in your
honour which they wish to perform.

Oh. Well, in that case,
we mustn't disappoint them.

Shall we see what they?ve prepared?

Lord, they?re at the rear.
The front is too full of people.

Well, if they?re as good as people
say they are,

I might let them dance with me.


What's this?

(CASSIUS) The watchword, butcher,
is "Liberty!"



I'm a god! I'm a god!
You can't kill me!


I'm dying!


Finish him!

This is from our wives, Jove.

You fools! You've let them kill him!

Your Emperor! After them!

Oh, Cassius. What's happened?
Where has everybody gone?




There's some stuff in here.
Hurry up, lads! Take what you can.

Let's get out
before the Germans come.

Get anything you can take.
Chock it's got gold in it.

- Hey, Sergeant.
- Yes?

Here's one of them.

It's one of the assassins!

N-no! Don't kill me, s-sir, I b-beg you!
I had nothing to do with it!

You bastard. Kill our Emperor,
would you? Put us all out of work?

Wait, Gratus,
that's not an assassin.

It's the Emperor's uncle,
Germanicus' brother.

He's harmless. Leave him alone.
Come on, sir. We won't harm you.

Thank you.

You see, the lads are a bit angry, sir.

No Emperor, no Praetorian Guard,
and it's back to the army for us.

I m-must go and f-find my wife.

Of course.
Gratus, go with this gentlemen!

Why can't we have him
for an Emperor?

Old Claudius?! Don't be stupid, lad.
He's a simpleton. He's...

He's better than nothing.

No, no! I don't want to be Emperor!

I want a Republic!

You a member of the Imperial family,
sir? Don't make me laugh!

Hay, lads! We've found an Emperor!


Das ist eine! Darre Totung!

Wait a minute!

Just a minute, Herman.
That's our new Emperor.





Lift him up, lads!
Long live the Emperor Claudius!

No! Put me down! Put me down!

Don't worry, sir, you'll get used
to it. It's not such a bad life.

Put this on him.

Put me down! I don't want to be
an Emperor! I w=want a Republic.

Don't say that in front of the Germans -
they?ll slit your throat.

Come on, smile. Smile.
That's it, that's it. Look happy.

Long live the Emperor!

(ALL) Long live the Emperor!

Long live the Emperor!

Long live the Emperor!

Long live the Emperor!

Long live the Emperor!

Long live the Emperor!

Long live the Emperor!

Long live the Emperor!