James Delingpole James Delingpole

Enthralling: BBC4’s Colosseum reviewed

I usually find watching anything made by the BBC as appetising as being burned at the stake – but this particular series is the kind of thing TV was made for

The BBC4 series uses the particularity of the Colosseum to educate us about the generality of Roman imperial history. [Image: BBC / October Films / A+E Networks]

In the year 2023, the Neo-Roman Empire was at the height of its powers. A potentially restive populace was kept in check using a time-honoured technique known as ‘Bread and Circuses’. The ‘Circuses’ part consisted of a remarkable piece of technology in which spectacles could be beamed directly into the homes of the citizenry, filling them with awe, wonder, gratitude and a sense of their insignificance in the sweep of history.

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