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  • If you have a taste for the classic attributes of Roman comedy such as slapstick, coarseness, and blatant sex jokes this one's for you. Roman comedy was pretty crass, far "worse" than the Three Stooges, but sometimes you just have to let go and laugh a little, or a lot. The characters, after all, are funny. And the situations favorite being the episode in which Lurkio pulls a "Lysistrata" stunt. The jokes are silly and corny with awful puns amok but, come on, loosen up, this is humor very much in the vein of Plautus. Such gimmicks as Lurkio's eternal prologues and Nausius' inept odes afford lots of low quality giggles, too. Some early episodes and the feature length film used to be available on video, and I hope they will resurface someday soon.
  • 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....
  • As far as Americans go, I probably grew up with more BBC shows than most, but recently I've been going and digging up a lot of classic BBC shows I have never seen. Especially ones that involved people who did other shows I liked. David Croft is THE MAN with all the projects he worked on, which is what made me want to check this one out. If you're not familiar with him, he and a couple others he worked with were responsible for half of the best Britcoms ever written, check them out!

    I would say this is a solid 8/10. It's got great writing, and the cast, especially Howerd is amazing. One odd thing for something that is objectively funny is that I found binge watching it to be a bit too much... A lot of the running gags are very funny, but back to back to back it loses some of it's oomph. So I would say only watch one or two at a time and you'll be laughing harder. Other than that great show!
  • sgodrich25 January 2007
    With the release of this series in its entirety on the Frankie Howerd DVD boxed set, I've had a chance to review these episodes. Surprisingly, they were as good as I remembered. They were shown during my mid-to-late teens (early 1990s) and I recall having a good giggle at the double entendres and Nausius' terrible odes.

    The image quality was rather poor in some instances due to the archive nature of the episodes. This has been fixed in the DVD release with quite clear images and sound. If you're not offended by sexual innuendo, bad puns and corny jokes, I'd highly recommend this show. The last episode in the first season is hilarious ('The Love Potion'), especially the scene with the sorceress! Fans of Frankie Howerd would call this 'his series' as although he had many shows of his own, this is the one he is best remembered for.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Hugely enjoyable (if you like Frankie Howerd) and the most famous role of his career.

    With scripts mostly written by Talbot Rothwell (writer of many Carry On films) and peppered with ancient jokes and puns (as FH says, the audience might find the jokes old, but they were new back then!) Frankie Howerd, as the slave Lurcio, pulls us through his turbulent life.

    With Rothwell digging out some of his Carry On jokes and FH mugging and ooo-ing and aaah-ing for all he is worth (no missus! no don't titter! oh well, please yourselves' etc etc) the stage is set for some very funny programmes.

    Lurcio is forever trying to finish (or even start) 'the prologue' but he is always interrupted by Senna, the Soothsayer (oh she does go through you) or his Mistress (I say mistress... I don't mean... mind you, she would!) or his Master, the aged Ludicrus Sextus! And don't forget the young master, Nausius, and his ode - they always raise a smile with me and Nausius is the ONLY person in the universe who can't find the rhyme at the end of every one! As a showcase for FH this could't be topped. In fact, it wasn't, with the same format being adopted in 'Whoops Baghdad' and, much later, in 'Then Churchill said to Me', neither of which lived up to Pompeii.

    But corny gags and all the 'filth' (as Lurcio puts it) add up to a fun half hour or so per episode. Shame there wasn't a season 3 to enjoy.