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, the mother
Cleopatra, eldest daughter