Home Television Drama Cleopatras, The

Cleopatras, The

1 9 8 3 (UK)

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 Potbelly.

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