Chelmsford 123

In the year 123 AD and Aulinus Paulinus finds himself appointed new governor of Britannia - to a somewhat mixed reception from the locals

1988 - 1990  (Channel 4)
13 (2 series)
Rory McGrath, Jimmy Mulville, Philip Pope, Howard Lew Lewis, Neil Pearson, Erika Hoffman, Robert Austin, Geoffrey McGivern
Rory McGrath, Jimmy Mulville, Andy Hamilton
Hat Trick Productions

It is the year 123 AD, and after accidentally insulting Emperor Caesar's girlfriend Portia, Aulus Paulinus finds himself expelled from the comforts of Rome to a wet, cold island in the far corner of the Empire - Britannia. Potentially even worse, his snivelling brother-in-law Grasientus is sent as his second-in-command.

Based in Chelmsford, Aulus knows little - and understands less - of the peoples he has been sent to control, and so regularly finds himself at odds with (and more often than not, outwitted by) the local Celtic tribal leader, Badvoc.

Our Review: A wonderful and criminally overlooked offering from McGrath and Mulville, Chelmsford 123 really is a forgotten gem of British comedy. The first production from Hat Trick - responsible for some of the biggest comedies of the 1990s and 2000s, from Outnumbered to Have I Got News For You - it is not only very funny but also very clever; until Aulus arrives in Britain, the first episode's dialogue is performed entirely in Latin.

A great series, well deserving of more recognition than it receives.