I, Claudius (1976) s01e02 Episode Script

Waiting in the Wings

- Part II - ' Waiting in the Wings' Where is it?.
Where is it?.
Oh, where is it?.
No.
I had it yesterday.
What? Oh, damned secretaries.
No system.
None at all They just shove it anywhere.
What do they care? It's just another piece of paper to them.
I'm sure I had it yesterday.
Yes, she wrote him a letter after Gaius died.
What was it?.
"The answer, I'm afraid, is no.
" Yes, that was it.
"My dear Tiberius, the answer, I'm afraid, is no.
" This is the one! Yes! Yes! Yes! This is it.
"My dear Tiberius, the answer, I'm afraid, is no, "which is what I expected.
"Augustus refuses to allow you to return to Rome (LIVIA) "Refuses even to discuss it "Despite the sudden and unexplained death of his beloved Gaius, "and despite my pleading with him, "he is adamant that you will stay where you are.
"He has, of course never forgiven you for what you did to Julia "and frankly I am not surprised.
" - Well?.
- Hmm? Oh, it's very promising, Excellency, very promising indeed.
You've been saying that for years.
Find some disasters, then my life might get better.
It has, Excellency.
The planets are in a most favourable conjunction.
I'm sure that the letter from Rome contained good news.
Am I not right?.
You might have guessed that from my mother.
Excellency, your mother is not the most scrutable of women.
One may read her letters, but never her face.
I'd stake my life there was some good news in that letter.
Come, my calculations prove it.
I'm to stay here and rot if it has anything to do with Augustus.
But there's more.
I'm sure there must be more.
She promises now to work for my return.
Excellent! I knew it.
It's all here.
The chart doesn't lie.
But it counsels patience too.
Nothing will happen overnight.
Is there more news about how he died? It's mysterious.
The body was burned before an autopsy was ordered.
When you die in the East, they don't keep you hanging about long.
I shan't shed any tears for him.
What else did you learn? Augustus intends to appoint your other stepson to command in Spain.
Lucius? He couldn't fight his way out of a harem! What else? Your wife's behaviour is a scandal known to all except her father.
Suppose you finish that horoscope.
Of course, Excellency.
Is there anything to drink? My mouth is quite dry.
It's such a long climb up this hill It'll be a lot shorter going down if I don't like that chart of yours.
Why do they all hate me so? What have I done to them? You could stay longer.
What's the hurry?.
- No hurry, really.
- Rome is like a sewer in summer.
I wasn't going back to Rome.
I was going to take the children to Ostia.
What for?.
The sea is the sea.
You might as well stay here.
Well.
I thought perhaps you might like to be on your own for a while.
When have I aver wanted to be on my own? Well.
that's what I meant, really.
Oh! No, you don't put me out.
I have to behave myself when the children are around.
Well.
up to a point.
You're always sewing or weaving.
Why don't you let the slaves do it?.
- They never do things properly.
- That's quite true.
They don't want to work and they eat you out of house and home.
It's hard to buy good slaves.
You must be a good judge of character.
- Do you pick your own? - Yes, of course.
Don't you? I did when I lived with Tiberius.
I felt I ought to.
You know me.
I was all right with the girls, but when it came to the male slaves I used to pick the good-looking ones and ended up doing the work myself! Julia, how could you? Living with Tiberius was not the fulfilling experience I'd expected.
- Mother! - I was seldom filled.
- What's the matter?.
- Mother! - What is it?.
- Look what he did.
- Who? - Germanicus.
He threw sand all over me.
It's in my face, on my hair, everywhere.
Germanicus, how could you? I was only teasing.
She threw it in mine.
Oh, come on, Pina.
I'm sorry.
You did it on purpose.
I'll never speak to you again.
Come here and let me wipe it off and stop being so dramatic.
Germanicus? You mustn't be so rough.
I'm I'm sorry.
(JULIA) She's perfectly all right.
- How's Claudius? - He's looking for shells.
Make sure the slaves watch him and don't leave him out.
We won't.
Come on, Pina.
I'm sorry.
Don't be too long down there! It's time you came in out of the sun! They'll be getting married soon.
What worries me is who's going to marry Claudius, with his foot and his stammer.
There's always somebody.
To tell you the truth, I find it very hard to be affectionate to him.
I ought to love him more because of his afflictions, but I don't.
- I think he's sweet.
- You're not his mother.
It's not easy living with a child who's so stupid.
Everything you tell him you have to repeat half a dozen times.
What Drusus would have made of him, I don't know.
Ah, Drusus.
You had something wonderful there, my dear.
Tell me, did you never wonder about his death? I mean, did it never strike you as odd that Livia's personal physician was looking after him? You said something like that before.
I said that I thought that Livia had a hand in it, and I still think so.
- Tiberius thought so.
- I can't believe that.
People say that Tiberius didn't mind being banished because he was glad to get away from me.
But that wasn't it.
I think he was pleased to get away from his mother.
She used to invite him to dinner too often! Julia, don't joke.
I'm not! I've seen his face often enough when she's poured wine for him.
I don't dine there happily myself.
You've upset me, you really have.
It's terrible to accuse someone of poisoning without proof.
She accuses me of all sorts of things without proof! Make sure she doesn't get any, then.
- Are you leaving, Lucius? - Yes, Mother.
We'll be in Rome before nightfall It's been so pleasant here.
I love your house.
You must come again.
I've got a little present for you in my study.
A memento of your visit.
We shan't be long.
Nothing for me, Mother?.
You don't deserve anything leaving so soon! - When are you leaving for Spain? - In a few months.
Augustus must have great confidence in you.
Yes.
Yes, I think so.
Deserter.
I shall be here all summer.
Oh, I could eat you.
- Here comes your brother.
- Postumus.
I'm leaving.
What's wrong? Have you lost something? No.
Are you going back to Rome? - Yes.
- May I come with you? You can ask Mother, but I'm sure she'll say no.
- What's the matter?.
- Nothing.
- He's had a quarrel with Livilla.
- Oh, shut up.
I don't know why you quarrel so much.
Can't you be nice? Look who's called to visit us.
Gnaeus Domitius.
I was on my way to Formiae.
I felt I must call upon you, Lady.
Do you know my son, Lucius? An honour, sir.
I took the auspices for your brother before he left for Syria.
They were most favourable.
I've never seen the liver of a ewe so clear.
One could almost see through it.
His death is inexplicable to me.
And to us all My youngest, Postumus.
- We must go, Mother.
- Yes.
Take care on the journey.
- May I go with them, Mother?.
- Whatever for?.
Certainly not.
Goodbye, Antonia.
- Go and make it up with Livilla.
- Oh, shut up.
Sir.
Come, Plautius, we'll make a start.
- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.
Here come the children.
Let's go into the house.
It sounds as if they've been quarrelling.
Eagles! They're fighting! Postumus, look at the eagles! What are they fighting for?.
One of them's got something! See, in its claws there.
(SCREECHING OVERHEAD) Mother, Mother, the eagles are fighting! Look out! What is it, Claudius? It's a wolf cub.
Mother, it dropped right from its claws.
Let me have him! Leave it be! It fell to Claudius, leave it be! Look at the blood.
Ye Gods, what does it mean? Domitius, tell us what it means.
- Lady, I - You know what it means, I can see.
Tell us, I beg you.
- Children, go into the house.
- No! Let them stay.
The sign was given to you all.
and given now, perhaps, because I am here to read it.
But they must be sworn to secrecy.
Who are the gods that watch over this house? Jupiter and Mars.
Then do you swear, all of you, by these your gods that no word of what you are about to hear shall aver pass your lips? (ALL) Yes, we do.
The wolf cub is Rome.
No doubt of it.
Romulus was suckled by a wolf as her own cub, and Romulus was Rome.
And look at it.
All torn about the nock and shivering with fear.
A wretched sight.
Rome will be wretched one day.
But he will protect it.
He and no other.
(LIVILLA LAUGHS) Claudius as protector of Rome! I hope I shall be dead by then.
Go to your room! You shall have nothing to eat all day! Children, come in.
Come inside.
May I k-k-keep the cub, please, Mother?.
Please may I? Well.
it is true? Have I heard right?.
Are you having my daughter-in-law?.
Come, you can be frank with me.
As a matter of fact it would be better for you to be frank with me.
She took a fancy to me.
I'm sure she did.
Well.
what could I do? She is, after all.
Caesar's daughter.
You were wise not to refuse her.
Would you do as much for me? I am, after all.
Caesar's wife.
Quite a stud, aren't you? You find me utterly repulsive, but you'd try all the same.
I like that.
I like a trier.
You're a very beautiful woman.
I'm an old one.
Still.
that wouldn't stop you if you thought I could do something for you.
Well.
perhaps I can.
Yours is a noble family, but poor, I believe.
- They've been unfortunate.
- But not in you, clearly.
No.
In you I would say they have been very fortunate.
Come closer.
How long have you known my daughter-in-law?.
Not long.
A month or so.
And did you meat her through her son, or her son through her?.
I was Lucius' friend first.
I stayed at the house in Antium for a few days.
What a lovely time you must have had.
Have you been there since? Yes.
Tell me, does Lucius know you're ploughing his mother's furrow with such ferocious skill and energy.
Well.
I don't know.
Perhaps he - Perhaps he - Guesses? Well.
that wouldn't be hard, would it?.
All Rome apart from her father guesses.
How much does Lucius mean to you? He means more than I can say.
Oh, not more than you can say, surely?.
Try.
I am his best friend.
Lady, what do you want of me? I want to help you in your career.
You'd liked to be helped, wouldn't you? Yes.
And what must I do in exchange? Stop seeing the Lady Julia? Oh, you've a mighty high opinion of yourself, haven't you? Do you imagine that I would stoop to buying you off when I could swat you like a fly if I wanted? - I meant - Hold your tongue.
I will tell you what I want and you will provide it.
I want a catalogue of my daughter-in-law's activities.
I want names, dates, places.
Far from breaking with her, you may encourage her.
Well.
she needs little encouragement.
Less work for you, then, isn't it?.
Yes, I can see the attraction.
You should go far if you manage to keep your head.
You may go now.
Oh, Plautius? You need not, of course, include your own name on that list for the moment.
(ALL MURMUR) Caesar.
Praxis, look at this.
They've just delivered it.
It's a bust of my late adopted son, Gaius.
What a beautiful face, Caesar.
Such a noble brow.
- What a tragic loss for Rome.
- Thank you, Praxis.
Thank you.
Caesar, the representatives of the Noble Order of Knights are here.
- Hmm? - You asked to see them in here to address them on the subject of the marriage laws.
Oh, yes.
Yes.
I'll see them out there.
Hay! Hay! Boy! Boy, come here! Come! Stay with me.
I've called you here because I'm sick and tired Look.
Up, up.
.
.
of the constant complaints that I've been getting from you and others about the severity of the laws I've made against bachelors.
To that I say, stop complaining and get married! Because your complaints don't impress me that much.
And who in Hades do you think you are, Vestal Virgins? You make me sick, the lot of you! Look at that.
Do you know what that is? That is a child.
A Roman child.
How in Hades do you think he got there? By a Roman man and a Roman woman coming together in the same bed.
That is the fine product of a proper Roman union! - Can't you stop that twitching? - I ca-ca Oh, never mind.
Oh, I hear some titters.
You can do better, can you? You murderers of your own posterity! Well.
damn well go and do it now! Quick as boiled asparagus! Or, by thunder, I'll bring in some laws you won't like! And that's all I've got to say to you! Don't try to get round it by getting engaged to nine-year-old girls.
I know that dodge.
A radish may know no Greek, but I do.
Now, which one are you? - Claudius.
- Oh, yes, Drusus' boy.
Shouldn't you be at your lessons? Don't you like your lessons? No.
I don't like mine.
- You can't do nothing all day.
- Get back to your lessons at once.
He's been helping me.
I used him as a model - A model of what?.
Idiocy?.
- No, no.
Never mind.
Off you go.
That child should have been exposed at birth.
- We don't do that anymore.
- More's the pity.
He twitches, stutters and limps.
Even his mother can't stand him.
Well.
he's quite harmless.
He gets on my nerves.
He talks to himself and irritates people.
- I want to talk to you.
- What about?.
Marriage.
That's what I've been talking about.
There's not enough of it.
Which is why the family should set a good example.
You remember how early Gaius and Lucius were betrothed, and Tiberius too.
- On the subject of Tiberius - Leave me alone on Tiberius.
What harm would it do if he came back to Rome as a private citizen? I know he's your son.
Your feelings are natural in a mother.
But we've had this out before and so many times.
For what he did to Julia, I shall never forgive him.
Perhaps the fault was not all on one side? Perhaps he was provoked? No.
I can't accept that.
I know you'll say I'm her father, she can do no wrong.
But if she's done wrong, let someone prove it.
Black and white, chapter and verse, and not sly backstairs gossip.
Let's not talk about it again.
My mind is closed.
Now, on the subject of marriage.
What do you suggest?.
Agrippina and Germanicus - that's obvious.
Yes.
We should arranged the betrothal as soon as possible.
And Castor and Livilla too.
Castor and Livilla? Are you sure? I thought Postumus.
He's a little monster and Livilla can't stand him.
Well.
if you say so.
She's a bit of a flirt, then.
She teases him a lot.
- That's natural in a girl - Yes, I suppose so.
What about Claudius? Who's going to marry Claudius? I'll find someone.
It won't be easy, but I'll find someone.
Most women marry fools, but it takes them a while to find out.
With Claudius, it's as plain as the nose on his face.
Plautius.
Why didn't you save me from this beast?.
So Father asked me to see his own personal physician, so I did.
Do you know what he told me? He told me not to eat so much.
He said if I stopped eating so much, the palpitations would go.
- I ask you, am I a big eater?.
- Well.
.
I can't live on lettuce.
I'm not a caterpillar.
Hello, Aunt J-J-Julia.
Hello, dear.
Who's that you've got there? His name's Herod.
His grandfather is King of the J-J-Jews.
Really?.
And what's he doing here? He's been sent to be educated in Rome and he's been put in my class.
Well.
how nice.
He's a handsome lad, isn't he? Do I have the honour of addressing the wife of the great Agrippa? Yes, dear, you do.
My name is Herod Agrippa.
I was named after your illustrious husband Marcus Agrippa.
Really?.
Well.
wasn't that nice of your father to do that?.
No.
It was my grandfather who did that.
It was nice of him, then.
He's not very nice, Lady.
He had my father executed soon after I was born.
Oh, dear.
- I am sorry.
- Yes.
So was my father.
This is my m-m-mother.
The great Lady Antonia, daughter of Mark Antony and wife of the noble Drusus.
My, you do know a lot about us.
I have studied you all You are all known throughout the world.
You are famous.
Well.
you may come and visit us whenever you like.
Have you introduced him to Germanicus and Livilla yet?.
Not yet.
C-ccome on, Herod.
Thank you for receiving a mere provincial so generously.
What a polite boy! And how well he speaks Latin.
Julia, not another fig.
Figs are good for you.
You sound just like Lucius.
You'll miss him when he goes to Spain.
Mmm.
I shall miss that good-looking friend of his even more.
Quite a collection! It certainly doesn't lack variety, does it?.
I hope these names will stand up to examination? Everything there can be verified.
Who, for example, is Gershon? One of the house slaves - from Africa.
Scandalous.
Are there any other slaves on this list?.
One or two.
The rest are mainly Romans of good birth and family.
Not quite good enough, it appears.
- You've done well - Thank you.
You've no qualms about betraying your friend's mother?.
- In matters of state, I - Oh, you do learn fast, don't you? And what about your friend, as distinct from his mother?.
You are ambitious.
- When you tell Caesar Augustus - Oh, I shan't tell him.
He wouldn't appreciate it coming from me.
You see, he would question, in his mind, my motives.
No, no.
I must find someone else to do that.
But your name won't be mentioned.
I may have another little assignment for you.
If I can be of service.
It may not be quite so enjoyable.
One can't always combine business with pleasure.
No.
And, usually, it's better not to.
You may go now.
You knew about it! You knew all along, but you did nothing.
Nothing! - What could I do? - You could have gone to Augustus.
I thought he knew but had just closed his ayes to it.
Shame on you! Shame you should think him such a man when he thinks so highly of you! - Would you have me inform on my mother?.
! - You could have come to me! To me! Do you think I'd have stood by and done nothing? I'd have tried to save her.
Now it's too late to save either of you.
Gods.
- I should have told you.
- You should have told him.
It's not for that alone that he'll condemn you.
That you did nothing is bad enough, but you did more.
- You aided and abetted - No! No.
You acted as her pimp and her procurer! - That's not true! - Liar! You introduced your friend Plautius to her for that purpose.
Plautius? Do you deny he has been her lover?.
Do you deny he was the organiser of her orgies in Antium and in Rome? He's not the first of your friends to wind up in her bed! - It may look that way to you - How will it look to Augustus? Like mother, like son - that's how it will look.
Oh! What a blow this will be to him.
Not enough that his daughter is revealed as the town prostitute, but that her son, whom he groomed for the highest office, has connived with her, encouraged her and even supplied her with lovers.
- What can I do? - Nothing! There's nothing you can do.
You and your mother have destroyed the two dearest things in his life.
And to think that I, his wife, should have to expose the corruption in his own family.
Let me do it! Please! Give me this once chance to make good.
- You? - Please.
My sin was one of omission, nothing else.
Give me this chance to redeem myself.
Give me the list.
Very well Let it be your doing and not mine.
You, Aelius Sextus Balbas.
Is it true? Have you slept with my daughter?.
- Caesar, I - Answer the question.
Yes, Caesar.
And you, Marcus Volunsius Saturnius? Have you slept with my daughter?.
- Caesar - Just answer the question.
Yes, Caesar.
And you? Have you? And you, Publius Norbanus Flaccus? Once, Caesar.
Ah, only once? That's all?.
Not slept, Caesar.
Not slept?.
You mean it happened standing up, perhaps? Or in the street or on a bench? Not slept?.
(YELLS) Is there anyone in Rome who has not slept with my daughter?.
! Take them out! I'll decide what to do with them later! - Grandfather - No, no! I'm all right.
This must have been hard for you.
Terrible.
It's a wonderful thing you've done.
I'm proud of you.
I shall banish her! Banish her for life.
Don't tell me where she's gone or mention her name.
But let her! Let her be all alone.
All alone until she dies! She's not fit for human company! (SCREAMING) Father! Father! Please! Please let me in! Let me talk to you! Let me explain! Father?.
Father! Please! Please don't send me away! Please, please, please don't send me away! I couldn't bear it! I couldn't bear it! Not alone.
Please! Plea-ea-ease! Please! Please, Father! Please let me talk to you! Father, please! Please.
Give me another chance.
Please.
(SHE SOBS) Please.
This is your doing, isn't it?.
Don't think I don't know.
You think you're very clever.
You think that by discrediting me, he'll bring your son back.
You're so transparent.
You want that precious son of yours to follow him when he dies so you can come into your own.
But I have two sons, and they both come before yours.
So make your mind up to it, Livia.
When my father dies, you won't be wanted anymore.
So take my advice and climb on the funeral pyre with him! (SHE TRIES DOOR HANDLE) So you've come out of your room at last.
I'm cursed, Livia.
I'm cursed.
First Gaius, then this.
What have I done to deserve this? Yes.
It's a hard thing to see a child banished.
Don't I know that?.
But how much harder when one knows the banishment is undeserved? Have you thought of that?.
Have you thought how I have felt these years? Yes.
You must let my son come home.
With Lucius in Spain, we need him here in Rome.
And besides, can't you see now what has been plain to me for years? That it was her wickedness that drove him away.
I'll never bring him back - never! He drove her to it! He set her on that road.
This wouldn't have happened but for him! I'll never bring him back! He can stay there and rot! Excellency, there's a ship in the harbour.
I know.
I'm sure it will bring important letters for you.
I thought they might have arrived.
No, Thrasyllus, nothing has arrived.
What do you see in your horoscope? It must be good news.
I'm not looking at mine.
I'm looking at yours.
At mine? You must be joking.
If there's good news, you'll find it in your horoscope, not mine.
Mine has been so indecisive lately, I thought I'd examine yours.
But why?.
What could that possibly tell you? I decided today that if nothing pleasing came off that boat, I would have you thrown down the cliff into the boy.
That's very funny.
Very funny.
What exactly does it say?.
Can you see anything? Oh, yes, it's very clear.
It confirms my worse fears for your safety.
Extraordinary how accurate these things are.
How would have thought I could have made a decision about you and seen it clearly reflected in your chart?.
Perhaps you've cast it wrong.
Not as wrong as you've been casting mine.
There's news coming from that boat.
I'm sure of it.
Didn't you see the eagle on your roof this morning? There are no eagles in Rhodes.
Exactly! Yet the whole town was pointing at it.
It can mean only one thing - good news.
Alas, but not for you.
Sentor! Let me look at the chart.
A man's destiny is not so easily read.
Yours is.
I wrote it myself this morning.
Sentor, escort my friend down the cliff path.
And take care, I have a terrible feeling he may slip.
His stars speak of disasters.
Yes, master.
An imperial courier has arrived with despatches.
Show him out.
My friend can wait a while.
You see, a horoscope, like the heart of a man, is not so easy to read.
Let's see what the despatches say, shall we? Your prophecies haven't inspired much confidence lately.
Imperial despatch from Augustus Caesar for Tiberius Claudius Nero.
Lucius is dead.
I am to return to Rome.
Dead? Dead.
Dead? Dead.
Sir, all Rome is drowned in grief.
Well.
of course they are.
That's only natural - What happened? - A terrible boating accident.
A boating accident?.
- Where? - In Marseilles.
He was on his way to Spain.
He and his friend.
- His friend? - Caius Plautinus Silvanus.
They were waiting for the boat to take them to Spain.
While they waited, they went fishing.
Fishing? I don't understand.
Why are you laughing? It's nervous laughter.
Go on with your story.
Well.
go on, go on.
The boat overturned.
- Overturned? - Yes.
Shall I go on? Plautius behaved like a hero.
He swam for two miles holding on to his friend trying to save him, but when he got to shore, his friend was dead and he was in a state of exhaustion.
What a terrible thing.
Gaius and Lucius within 18 months and their mother banished in between.
That family is beginning to resemble a Greek tragedy.
- Is your ship returning to Rome? - Yes, sir.
Tomorrow.
We'll join it.
You may go now.
Curious the fates are.
My exile ended and you predicted it.
Brave Thrasyllus.
I never lost faith in you.
So you've come home? Yes, Caesar.
I am here to do whatever you want.
Well.
let bygones be bygones, eh? Families quarrel.
they make it up.
That's in the nature of things.
My two grandsons are dead.
My daughter People say, "Bring her back".
They shout at me in the street.
You know that?.
"Wicked!" they say.
"Bring her back.
" But no, no, no, no.
She's not my daughter anymore.
I've forgotten her.
Anyway, we'll talk later.
There's a lot to be done.
Trouble in Germany.
The Parthians are at it again.
That king always stirring up trouble.
I've got his son as a hostage.
I swore I'd execute him.
But he's such a likeable little chap.
Anyway, we'll talk later.
Later.
The likeable little chap is now the king who's causing all the trouble.
His mind is going.
Yes.
But mine isn't.
You'll dine with me tonight and we'll talk.
Yes, Mother.
Ch-ch-cheer up, Postumus.
Come and play nuts.
What's the m-m-matter?.
Nothing.
Oh, sir, be cheerful Caesar has adopted you into his family and made you his heir.
That is an honour.
It means you'll succeed him.
Yes, Herod.
But he's adopted my stepfather too and we both can't succeed him, can we? I'm frightened.
I want my mother.
I want my brothers.
Where are they?.
Where are they?.