Every civilization has had its fair share of neurotic teenage boys.
It’s The Inbetweeners set in Ancient Rome! That’s the quick sell being used to describe this new comedy series about three young plebeians (as in ordinary citizens, not Downing Street policemen) for whom life is going to be one big toga party — if only the doorman lets them in.
It’s written by rising all-rounders Tom Basden (Fresh Meat) and Sam Leifer (How Not to Live Your Life) and features Tom Rosenthal from Friday Night Dinner as perennially perplexed head pleb Marcus, Joel Fry as his smooth pal Stylax and Ryan Sampson as their disaffected slave Grumio, sporting a suitably (ser)vile haircut.
Rosenthal’s delivery seems to borrow a little from his Friday Night Dinner co-star Simon Bird (but hey, if it ain’t broke…). Also, to have long-term appeal, the jokes will need to come from the characterisation as well as the what-if-they-had-Teletext-in-the-old-days route.
It’s a smart team, a smart cast, and if anyone can make a comedy out of Latin — without alienating half the ITV2 audience — it’s them. You may also find yourself getting your mum to dig out your old Asterix books (don’t worry, they’re still good).
Plebs starts tonight on ITV2