17 February 1999 | RobertC
The satire may be more juvenile than Juvenal, but "Up, Pompeii" remains a classic bit of English gutter subversion.
Technically: a peculiar cross between "A Funny thing happened on the Way to the Forum" & "It's That Man Again", "Up, Pompeii" is a music hall-styled satire built around the character Lurkio (Frankie Howerd). From the opening prologue - a story from classical mythology which hardly ever gets started, much less completed - to the final "Salute!", FH is hardly ever off-camera, acting, overacting &/or commenting on the plot, script, camerawork or sets... hardly anyone gets much of a lookin.
About 90% of the jokes are ancient enough to have first been told in Pompeii (the rest are somewhat older); but are played with the carefully-scripted/apparently-improvised style which was FH's trademark. Warning: if the series didn't treat its menfolk even worse, one could easily describe it as misogynistic (it probably is anyway).
If Howerd's peculiar genius (a word often overused; but probably useful in this case) doesn't appeal, avoid like the plague... otherwise: catch it whenever you can....