Chelmsford 123 TV Series Overview (1988-1990)


Introduction

Chelmsford 123 is a British television situation comedy produced for Channel 4 by Hat Trick Productions.

Chelmsford ran for two series, of six and seven episodes, in 1988 and 1990.

Outline

The series was set in the British town of Chelmsford in the year AD 123 and concerned the power struggle between Roman governor Aulus Paulinus (Jimmy Mulville) and the British chieftain, Badvoc (Rory McGrath). Britain is a miserable place, cold and wet – just the place to exile Aulus for accidentally insulting the Emperor’s horse but also give him something useful to do. Aulus, probably a play on Aulus Platorius Nepos, the governor of Roman Britain between 122 and 125, was a rather delicate Roman and was usually outwitted by the scheming Badvoc, who had not had a haircut for twenty-five years.

Cast

  • Main:
    • Rory McGrath as Badvoc, A British chieftain.
    • Jimmy Mulville as Aulus Paulinus, the Roman Governor of Britain.
    • Philip Pope as Grasientus, Aulus’ Brother in-law (Pope also wrote the series’ title music).
    • Howard Lew Lewis as Blag.
    • Neil Pearson as Mungo.
    • Erika Hoffman as Gargamadua, Badvoc’s girlfriend (Series 1 only).
    • Robert Austin as Functio (Series 1 only).
    • Geoffrey McGivern as Wolfbane (one episode in Series 1, regular cast member in Series 2).
  • Also appearing in a number of episodes were:
    • Geoffrey Whitehead as Viatorus, engineer, bringer of rain, sculptor (3 episodes).
    • Andy Hamilton as Taranis, British “warrior” (2 episodes) (also sometime programme associate).
    • Chris Langham as The Gate Guard and later Chief Of Security (2 episodes).
    • Bill Wallis as Emperor Hadrian (2 episodes).

Trivia

  • Both series are available on All 4.
  • Series 1 and 2 were released on DVD by Acorn Media UK on 15 September 2011.
  • Sometimes compared to ‘Blackadder’ but Jimmy Mulville and Rory McGrath had come up with the idea of a Roman Britain set sitcom in the late 1970s, after viewing Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’.

Chelmsford 123 Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Vic Finch … (7 episodes, 1990).
    • John Stroud … (6 episodes, 1988).
  • Producer(s):
    • Adrian Bate … producer / associate producer (13 episodes, 1988-1990).
    • Denise O’Donoghue … producer (13 episodes, 1988-1990).
  • Writer(s):
    • Rory McGrath … (written by) (13 episodes, 1988-1990).
    • Jimmy Mulville … (written by) (13 episodes, 1988-1990).
  • Music:
    • Philip Pope … (6 episodes, 1988).
  • Cinematography:
    • John Rosenberg … (6 episodes, 1988).
  • Editor(s):
    • Mykola Pawluk … (7 episodes, 1990).
    • Colin Green … (6 episodes, 1988).
  • Production:
    • Hat Trick Productions.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Channel 4.
  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 09 March 1988 to 13 April 1988.
    • Series 02: 09 January 1990 to 13 February 1990.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Running Time: 24 minutes.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English and Latin.

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