Home Television Drama Cleopatras, The

Cleopatras, The

1 9 8 3 (UK)
8 x 50 minute episodes

The Cleopatras was an eight-part drama disaster from the BBC, described as a horror comic about the incestuous murderous rulers of Egypt circa 145 BC.

Amanda Boxer had a drastic haircut and appeared as a boiled egg, while a team of other actresses had to jiggle about topless dressed only in gold paint and black wire-wool wigs as handmaidens to the queens (there were umpteen Cleopatras, it turned out).

Richard Griffiths – bulging like a sack of crumpets, with ice-cream cornets on his head and a pan handle strapped to his chin – played the fiendish Pot Belly.

In one episode, Pot Belly killed the son of his sister Queen Cleo, married her and gave her a new son, raped her daughter, married her, discredited the mother and later cut up their son to send the mother his bits in a box.

Griffiths was actually the second choice for the charming chap. Roly-poly Roy Kinnear was first picked, but producer Guy Slater said: “Pot Belly was arguably one of the most evil people in the world, and Roy is arguably one of the least evil in Equity”.

Cleopatra
Michelle Newell
Theodotus
Graham Crowden
Pot Belly
Richard Griffiths
Julius Caesar
Robert Hardy
Charmian
Shirin Taylor
Iras
Carol Harrison
Mark Antony
Christopher Neame
Cleopatra, the mother
Elizabeth Shepherd
Arsinoe
Francesca Gonshaw
Grypus
James Aubrey
Perigenes
Geoffrey Chater
Chickpea
David Horovitch
Alexander
Ian McNeice
Cleopatra Berenike
Pauline Moran
Cleopatra, eldest daughter
Sue Holderness
Cleopatra Tryphaena
Amanda Boxer
Cleopatra Selene
Prue Clarke
Criton
Jack May
Ammonius
Frank Duncan
Marsyas
Tony Osoba
General Chaereas
Morris Perry
Philocles
John Bennett
Fluter
Adam Bareham