Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Roman Mysteries Season Two

the four friends & their bodyguard
It was exciting to see such great publicity in the run-up to the premiere of Season Two of the Roman Mysteries TV show today.

There have been reviews in almost all the major UK papers, including The Times, The Independent, The Sunday Times and The Mail on Sunday. Here are some excerpts:

'The Roman Mysteries is a tremendous way for younger viewers to learn about Roman history... they graft child-friendly adventure on to careful research... with the help of a strong cast and healthy-looking budget...'
The Times

'Impressively staged children's drama - a sort of Rome for pre-teens - about four friends in AD79.'
The Independent

It's the Famous Five in togas – or, given this week's plot about well-muscled gladiators hitting town, the tweenage Spartacus...'
The Sunday Times

'The adventure series set in ancient Rome returns, with some nice acting by the young cast...'
The Mail on Sunday

'... a high-quality drama series, aimed at children...'
DigiGuide

'...you certainly don't have to be a child to enjoy this adventure series set in the days of the Roman Empire and boasting some very decent production values, convincing fight scenes and crucially, good storylines.'
East Anglian Times

The Gladiators from Capua, BBC adaptation of the Roman Mystery
What do I think of the series as the writer of the books on which it is based? Some of the TV episodes are a lot like the books. The Colossus of Rhodes and The Slave-girl from Jerusalem follow my stories closely. However, other episodes don't.

For example, today's episode - The Gladiators from Capua - is a completely different story from the book. This is because the BBC didn't quite have the budget to reproduce the opening day at the Colosseum when 50,000 people watched a tightrope-walking elephant, 4,000 animals slaughtered in the morning beast hunt, criminal executions at lunch, carefully paired gladiatorial combats in the afternoon and sea-battles in the flooded arena by night. Also, the actor who plays Titus (Nicholas Farrell) was unavailable so they decided to use the excellent Duncan Duff as Domitian instead. In spite of the changes, the characters and spirit of the books remain true.

On the whole there aren't too many moments when I run screaming from the room.

Children who aren't as sensitive as the author will get a good idea of what Ancient Rome looked like and will be carried along by an exciting story with four different kids doing brave and funny things. It might even inspire them to read the books!

Caroline Lawrence on the Bulgarian set of Roman Mysteries season 2
Both seasons of the BBC Roman Mysteries TV series are now available in the UK and Europe on DVD. They are a good resource to use in tandem with the 17+ books in the Roman Mysteries series. Perfect for children aged 9+, especially those studying Greeks, Romans & Egyptians as a topic in Key Stage 2. 

29 comments:

  1. Glad to see the series getting the attention it deserves! I've finally started on season one by downloading it from iPlayer and watching it on my portable media player on the bus in the mornings - an episdoe is just the right length for my journey from Brighton to Lewes, and makes it go by really quickly! Looking forward to carrying on with series 2 next. xx

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  2. Hannah7:37 PM

    Salve Caroline the new series of the roman mysteries is brilliant much better than the first. i'll definitely be getting series I on dvd and series II when it comes out. My favourite character's Flavia as well as I think I'm most like her - definitely a book worm and bossy!:P

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  3. Kitty7:25 AM

    The first episode was fantastic of the new series! I feel the actors are becoming very good all rounded actors now that they have grown up and have got familiar with the characters they are playing, it was really interesting from a teenager's point of view to learn about Ancient Rome!
    I watched the second episode on the CBBC channel and that was great as well can't wait for the next episodes!

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  4. I discovered The Roman Mysteries by chance while looking though the BBC iplayer. I really think this could have a far broader audience than its intended market. It’s a shame the books can only be found in the 8-12 age range of most book stores and only seen on CBBC. Over all a very good series that links a bridge of discovery for younger viewers with charming characters, interesting plots and well researched facts, and can easily be appreciated by people of all ages.

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  5. Thanks, David! You can actually watch the series on BBC1 on Tuesdays at 4.35. Tell your friends!

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  6. Hi,
    I love the books, I read the Dolphins of Laurentum a few years ago and I've been hooked since, I've read the first ten a million times over. I love the TV series aswell but I keep managing to miss it because it coinsides with another thing I do. I hope people people who watch the TV series read the books aswell because they are awesome......:)I have one question if thats alright, is Aristo in the TV series?? I haven't seen him but I might just be missing the episodes with him in??
    From a massively huge fan of your amazing books and just as amazing tv series of many years..:)

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  7. Salve, Kat!
    Aristo will be in the last two episodes of season two: The Fugitive from Corinth and The Slave-girl from Jerusalem.

    You can see a picture of the actor who plays Aristo on the bottom of this page.

    Fugitive is on BBC2 next Tuesday at 4.35pm, repeated on Sunday at 5.30 on CBBC.

    If you missed The Colossus of Rhodes, you can see part one HERE and part two HERE.

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  8. Beverley9:33 AM

    Salve Caroline,
    Thank you for writing amazing books and I love reading them. I am not very good at writing mysteries and I know it is really hard so you must be a brill author, studying history and writing about it for children. Thank you again!

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  9. Thanks, Bev! I've put up a link to your blog on my blog! :-) Good luck with your writing!

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  10. Anonymous1:59 PM

    I have seen on TV The Colussus of Rhodes. It was brilliant!! I hope to be reading the book very soon. I have read a book that was like the episode but the book didn't have that element of mystery and I could always see what was going to happen to the main character and her friends. It's always interesting watching episodes based on Lupus and his family. You get to know lots about Flavia and Johnathon's family but Lupus has a very interesting past.

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  11. Anonymous12:37 PM

    EUGE! I LOVE YOUR BOOKS AND HAVE READ EVERY ONE UP TO THE SCRIBES OF ALEXANDRIA!

    PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME WHEN SERIES 2 WILL BE ON DVD AND ABLE TO BE BOUGHT.
    WILL THERE BE A SERIES 3?

    YOUR BIGGEST FAN

    CORNELIA XXX

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  12. Salve, Cornelia! I have heard a rumour that the second series will be out in October, but no confirmation so far. Check my TV series diary page regularly. As soon as I hear anything, I'll post news there first.

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  13. Anonymous3:37 PM

    SALVE CAROLINE! I WENT ONTO THE LINK YOU SUGGESTED BUT YOU WROTE ON IT THAT NEXT TUESDAY WILL BE THE LAST EPISODE EVER!?!

    DOES THAT MEAN NO SERIES 3?? :(

    P.S- I AM 14 YEARS OLD, ARE YOUR BOOKS MEANT TO APPEAL TO THOSE AS OLD AS ME?

    YOUR BIGGEST FAN

    CORNELIA (AGAIN)

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  14. Yes, Cornelia! I'm afraid there won't be any more episodes after The Slave-girl from Jerusalem. Though they may repeat them.

    (If you want to carry on this conversation, email me at flaviagemina@hotmail.com.)

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  15. Emma :)12:32 AM

    Hiya,
    I just want to say I adore your books, but I never really got into the TV series as I felt it missedout so much of the depth and detail that I love, so I was wondering what do you think of the TV series and how involved were you in the making of it?

    love Emma x x

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  16. Salve, Emma!
    It's always hard making books into TV, and it's even harder to please fans who started by reading the books. Not everything is the way I would have wanted it. But I think they got the 'look' of ancient Rome down brilliantly. And if the TV series makes more people read my books then: Euge! (Yay!)
    Vale! Caroline

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  17. Anonymous4:41 PM

    salve everyone!

    i just love to read the roman mysteries books from my school's library. i am even going to write my own book of roman mysteries in september when i start latin at my school so i am concentrating the tital and front and back cover.

    goodbye!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  18. i was in the gladiators of capua part 1 :) i was the blonde little girl called livia who was a little bit rude to flavia. It was an amazing experience for me and the set was amazing. I had to fly to Sofia, Bulgaria. I love the series and the books.

    Christina Ostend :D

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  19. hello i'm christina, i played livia in the gladiadotrs of capua part 1



    i love the books :)

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  20. Anonymous6:37 AM

    what episode is the picture of Lupus, Jonathon, Nubia and Flavia from? BTW LUPUS IS THE BEST and my friend Grace agress.

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  21. They were filming the final episode, The Slave-girl from Jerusalem, but I took that photo while they were resting between takes! :-)

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    1. Anonymous4:45 AM

      that is soooo cute. i love ur books. they put a whole new spin on rome and when people as me how i know sooo much abut rome i reply "I read roman mysteires" i own both seasons and 8 of the books which i boughtin england.thank u 4 writing this series. my fav book is the dolphin of lurrentum, its the first book i read

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  22. Anonymous10:49 PM

    hiya Caroline my name is Kymmi Jarmson i am 13 and have read all the books at least 4 times

    i was absolutely devastated when you put out there are no more TV series i do hope they will change there mind as i waited 4 months on just getting them on DVD

    your truthfully Kymmi Your Number One Fan
    (p.s. i also own all of the books.)

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    1. Sorry, Kymmi! They stopped filming the series in 2008 so those kids are all growed up now! :-/

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    2. Anonymous6:55 PM

      aww ok thank you anyway x

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  23. Anonymous7:02 AM

    hi my name is Gemma and I have this big sister crush on Lupus. What did he do after the series ended? I know he was apprentice to a music group but did he do anything else. It would be awesme if you replied. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE your books.

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    1. Hi Gemma! After the Roman Mysteries, Harry did Oliver! on the London stage. He's still in school and has just got his driver's license so I guess he's at least 17 now (June 2013). I'm sure you will be seeing more of him on stage and screen. Check out his IMDb page! http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2354688/

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  24. Anonymous2:40 AM

    hi Caroline, it's Gemma again
    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I will go check the page out. I've recently reserved the last 2 books in the series that I haven't read, the scribes from Alexandria and the book with all the mini mysteries. can't wait to read them as soon as the come into the library.
    Your an amazing author and I love your books. Now I'm going t go and watch the DVDS which I got for my birthday last year.

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