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Up Pompeii!

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Up Pompeii! was a British television comedy series of 1970. Written by the Carry On films' Talbot Rothwell, it starred Frankie Howerd.

Set in ancient Pompeii (pre-eruption) Howerd played a slave, Lurcio. The other main characters were Lurcio's master the senator Ludicrus Sextus (initially Max Adrian and then Wallas Eaton), the senator's wife Ammonia (Elizabeth Larner), his daughter Erotica (Georgina Moon) and his son Nausius (Kerry Gardner) (who wrote surprising not very rude odes), along with Senna the Soothsayer (Jeanne Mockford) and Plautus (Willie Rushton).

The set up was little more than a backdrop for a endless series of double entendres and risque gags. Howerd was the key to most of the gags and he started each episode with a prologue - an aside piece that would usually never get finished-hardly anything to do with the plot. 'to camera' exposition of the bizarre plot that would theoretically be covered in that episode.

There were thirteen 30 minute episodes in two series (March - May and September - October 1970). In addition there was the pilot episode (1969) and two special episodes Further Up Pompeii, one in 1975 and the other in 1991.

The show 'inspired' three films, the first was also called Up Pompeii (1971) and added such characters as Bilius, Voluptua, Scrubba and Villanus. and the two sequels Up the Chastity Belt (1971) and Up the Front (1972) transferred the Lurcio character to medieval times and WW I respectively.

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