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  • Writer's pictureJames McGee, Britannia...

'Blimus..!' as the great general and politician Marcus Antonius once said.

Well, as he might have said had he tuned in to watch the latest Sky/Amazon Prime series Britannia, a ten-part epic following the Roman invasion of our sceptred isle back in, well, whenever the heck it was. I forget the exact date. I'll look it up later.

Any road, it's billed as the next best thing to Game of Thrones, which is a bit like comparing Blade Runner 2049 to Blake's 7.

You can see where I'm going with this.

A tale of swords, sandals, sorcery and Steradent. I tagged the last one on the end as an awful lot of them do have lovely gnashers, save for some bloke called The Outcast and most of the Druids, led by Mackenzie Crook, who, unless you know it's him, is well nigh impossible to detect (sorry about that) under so many layers of facial prosthetics it's doubtful his own agent would recognize him.

David Morrisey plays the Roman general, Aulus Plautius - a real character, by the way - who led the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43 (ah, there you go) - long before anyone thought of Denplan, in case you're interested.

Kelly Reilly plays Kerra, a cool cross between Boudica and Katniss Everdeen. Actually it'd be more accurate to say that Kelly Reilly's hair has the starring role as it is pretty spectacular; all red, and flowing and artfully unkempt, a testament to the art of the Cantii hair stylist she probably attends on a weekly basis.

The scenery, not unlike the Reilly barnet, is pretty impressive, too, though nothing like Kent or East Sussex, where the real landings are thought to have taken place. That's because it was filmed partly in Wales and mostly in the Czech Republic.

Initially and surprisingly, the invaders appear to have been met - according to the first episode at any rate - with stuff-all resistance, presumably because the British Border Agency at the time was unfit for purpose.

The action kicks off when Plautius' troops pillage a village (apologies for that as well). The only survivor to make a clean getaway is a young girl, Cait, who's saved from a fate worse than death by the aforementioned, dentally-challenged Outcast, Divis.

And that's all you're gonna get from me. No spoilers here, folks.

Oh, one thing I did forget to mention: Zoë Wanamaker's in it, too; best described as someone who not only looks like she was fed headfirst into a threshing machine but who enjoyed the experience so much she actually volunteered to have another go.

Ah, but you're asking: is it any good?

Erm...well put it this way, I doubt either David Starkey or Mary Beard would give it a 5* rating on Amazon.

But it was bloody - and I do mean bloody - entertaining, so, of course, I'll be back for more.

It's why box-sets were invented, f'r Pete's sake...

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