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Julius Caesar: The Making of a Dictator

Julius Caesar: The Making of a Dictator

  • Premiered: 
    November 27, 2023
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: BBC2
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Docudrama
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Historical
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Plot Synopsis

Narrate by Narrated by Janet McTeer, JULIUS CAESAR: THE MAKING OF A DICTATOR is a three-part docudrama that chronicles how Julius Caesar dismantled five centuries of ancient Roman democracy in just 16 years. The story of a brazen power grab that saw Julius Caesar consolidate the vast Roman Republic in his own hands, the series is told through the eyes of an expert cast of British and American historians, scholars, and political operatives (including a former head of MI5). Featured experts are: Shami Chakrabarti, a politician, barrister, and human rights activist; Jonathan Evans, head of MI5 from 2003-2013; Shelley P. Haley, a retired professor of Africana Studies and Classics at Hamilton College, in Clinton, NY; Tom Holland, a historian, broadcaster and author of "Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic" and "Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar"; Nandini Pandey, a professor of Classics at Johns Hopkins University; Federico Santangelo, a professor of Ancient History at the University of Newcastle; Celia Schultz, a professor of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan; Rory Stewart, a member of Parliament, 2010-2019; Jeff Tatum, a professor of Classics at the University of Wellington, New Zealand; and Kathryn Tempest, a reader in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Roehampton, UK. JULIUS CAESAR: THE MAKING OF A DICTATOR made its U.S. debut on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). Episodes include:

"High Priest" (U.S debut on Tuesday, April 2, 2024): The first episode traces Caesar's ambitious rise as he seeks to become Consul, the highest political position in Rome. He forms dangerous alliances and bends the rules of the Republic, courting the popular vote, exploiting division, and using bribery and intimidation to get his own way. But his unconventional approach to politics and disregard for established customs sets him at odds with the conservative elite within the Senate. And one man -- Cato -- is determined to bring him down.

"Veni Vidi Vici" (U.S debut on Tuesday, April 9, 2024): Caesar has brokered an uneasy alliance with the two other most powerful men in the Republic, Pompey and Crassus, and the trio dominate the political system. Caesar leaves Rome to take the governorship of Gaul -- modern-day France -- to conquer its people and win greater power and prestige. But events beyond his control threaten to unravel his plans and leave him isolated. Backed into a corner, he makes a decision that will change the course of the Republic -- and Western history -- forever.

"Ides of March" (U.S debut on Tuesday, April 16, 2024): As Caesar takes control of Rome and consolidates his grip over the Republic, he awards himself ever-greater powers. Appointed dictator for one year to restore peace, he soon extends this to ten years and then becomes "Dictator for Life." His ambition turned to tyranny, Caesar has become untouchable, and Rome is now essentially a dictatorship. A handful of senators, including some of his closest allies, plot to end his rule in the only way they can: by taking his life. But will that be enough to save the Republic?


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by BBC Studios