Up Pompeii!. Lurcio (Frankie Howerd). Copyright: BBC / London Weekend Television
Up Pompeii!

Up Pompeii! (1969)

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC One / ITV
  • 1969 - 1991
  • 16 episodes (2 series)

Frankie Howerd starrs as Lurcio, a Roman slave in Pompeii, serving senator Ludicrus Sextus and his family. Also features Max Adrian, Wallas Eaton, Elizabeth Larner, Kerry Gardner, Jeanne Mockford and more.

Up Pompeii! trivia

Hugh Stuckey, one of the writers of spin-off series Whoops Baghdad, created a series of four 55-minute episodes in 1976 for Australian TV, entitled Up The Convicts. Much like Whoops Baghdad itself, this was essentially Up Pompeii! in a slightly different setting.

Whilst the opening titles for the original pilot, the second series, and the 1975 special all include the exclamation mark - ! - after 'Pompeii' (e.g. Up Pompeii!), the first series does not, simply going with Up Pompeii. It does, however, include the exclamation mark on a closing title screen before the episode credits. LWT's 1991 special again drops the !, although this could be merely to avoid confusion with the earlier special of the same name.

The Up Pompeii! format was transferred - with some limited success - to Canada, in The Frankie Howerd Show (also known as Oooh Canada!). The 14-part series, broadcast between 26th February and 5th June 1976, saw Frankie as a newly arrived British immigrant in Toronto, trying - and failing - to start a successful new life in the city.

The original pilot for Up Pompeii! is sometimes erroneously referred to under the BBC's long-running Comedy Playhouse banner. In fact it was not listed as such, nor does it include a Comedy Playhouse title sequence. However, a 2006 DVD release of the series does call the episode a Comedy Playhouse pilot: the programme was initially made with a view to broadcast within the strand, but executives were displeased and all plans to broadcast the episode were cancelled until Howerd's popularity began to rise after a number of Carry On film appearances.

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