Plebs
GenreComedy
Starring
Theme music composerOliver Julian
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series5 (+1 special)
No. of episodes38
Production
Executive producers
  • Caroline Leddy
  • Sam Leifer
Producers
Production locationsNu Boyana Studios, Bulgaria
Running time25 minutes
Production companyRise Films
Release
Original networkITV2
Original release25 March 2013 (2013-03-25) –
present
External links
Website

Plebs is a British comedy series broadcast on ITV2.[1] It was first broadcast in March 2013, and is produced by Tom Basden, Caroline Leddy, Sam Leifer and Teddy Leifer. It stars Tom Rosenthal, Ryan Sampson, Joel Fry (Series 1–3), and Jonathan Pointing (from Series 4), who play young residents of ancient Rome (plebs were ordinary non-patrician citizens of Rome). The format has been compared to The Inbetweeners, Up Pompeii and Blackadder.[2] The first series, comprising six episodes, was broadcast between 25 March and 22 April 2013. Three subsequent series of eight episodes each were broadcast between 22 September and 3 November 2014, between 4 April and 16 May 2016, and between 9 April and 21 May 2018. A fifth series was commissioned with Rosenthal, Sampson and Pointing all returning.[3] The fifth series started on 30 September 2019, ending on 11 November 2019.[4] On 30 April 2020 it was confirmed a sixth series would not be commissioned and instead the series would end with a feature-length special.[5]

The show makes comical use of anachronistically modern parlance and concepts in a historical setting and uses predominantly ska/rocksteady music during all the opening and closing titles and during each episode as background music.

Premise

The show initially follows new arrivals from the provinces Marcus, Stylax, and their slave Grumio, as they deal with daily life in Ancient Rome. Marcus and Stylax work in the scriptorium of a grain company with their manager, Flavia, the water-carrier Aurelius, and communications officer Claudius. They live next door to two Britons: Cynthia, an aspiring actress, and her slave Metella, with their ever unscrupulous landlord a constant thorn in their sides.

Cast

Only main and recurring characters are listed.

Character Appearances
1 2 3 4 5 Special
Marcus Phillipus Valerius Gallo Tom Rosenthal
Stylax Rufus Eurisces Joel Fry
Grumio Ryan Sampson
Aurelius Tom Basden
Landlord Karl Theobald
Flavia Doon Mackichan
Davus Tom Davis
Landlady Maureen Lipman
Jason Brindisi Jonathan Pointing
Gloria Ellie Taylor
Cynthia Cogidubna Sophie Colquhoun
Metella Lydia Rose Bewley
Claudius Adrian Scarborough
Cornelius Neil Stuke
Delphine Bella Dayne
Maya Laura Elsworthy
Gregory Maximilien Seweryn
Paeon Kim Wall

Production

Plebs is filmed at Nu Boyana Film Studios, Sofia, Bulgaria, as were 300:Rise of an Empire, The Expendables and The Hitman's Bodyguard.

Cynthia and Metella departed in Season 3, and introduces Delphine, a woman from Gaul, who begins a relationship with Marcus.

The fourth series replaces Stylax with a new character, Jason, played by Jonathan Pointing and gives Aurelius a leading role. The four endeavour to run a bar in a renovated public toilet.

Episodes

Series overview

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1625 March 2013 (2013-03-25)22 April 2013 (2013-04-22)
2822 September 2014 (2014-09-22)3 November 2014 (2014-11-03)
384 April 2016 (2016-04-04)16 May 2016 (2016-05-16)
489 April 2018 (2018-04-09)21 May 2018 (2018-05-21)
5830 September 2019 (2019-09-30)11 November 2019 (2019-11-11)
SpecialTBD

Series 1 (2013)

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [6]
11"The Orgy"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden25 March 2013 (2013-03-25)1.16
Marcus and Stylax are pleased when two attractive young women, Cynthia (a would-be actress) and her slave Metella, move into the apartment next door. Marcus offers to show Cynthia around the city, but his attempts to form a relationship with her are ruined when he tries to invite her to an orgy. Meanwhile, Stylax arranges to attend the party with their boss, Flavia, but discovers that he is part of the entertainment.
22"The Gladiator"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden25 March 2013 (2013-03-25)0.94
Cynthia's charming new gladiator boyfriend Cassius (Danny Dyer) impresses everyone except jealous Marcus, who arranges with their sleazy landlord to have him put up against a formidable opponent in his next bout. In the meantime, Cynthia breaks with Cassius when she finds out what he really does for a living, but Marcus is unable to call off the fight. However, a devastated Cassius is not in the right frame of mind for the occasion.
33"The Erotic Vase"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden1 April 2013 (2013-04-01)0.80
It's Grumio's birthday and he receives an erotic vase featuring a girl that the boys think looks like Cynthia at a certain angle. Marcus, under pressure from the girls to be nicer to his slave, suggests they swap roles for the day. Grumio takes full advantage of the situation by blackmailing Marcus, threatening to tell Cynthia about the vase. Meanwhile, Stylax hangs out with his cousin Lucretia (Naomi Bentley), with whom he has an unusually close relationship. Marcus and his other friends consider this to be incest, and he is forced to break it off with her.
44"The Herpes Cat"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden8 April 2013 (2013-04-08)0.69
To endear himself to Cynthia, Marcus befriends a mangy cat she's rescued from the courtyard, but the cat is accidentally killed. Stylax is suffering from a disturbing itch and visits a sexual health clinic where he falls for an attractive nurse. Flavia recommends an ointment for his condition. Meanwhile Grumio buys a lottery ticket from the landlord.
55"Bananae"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden15 April 2013 (2013-04-15)Under 0.59
Mass immigration from Thrace puts the boys into contact with a sexy Thracian lodger Irina and a dazzling yellow exotic fruit, the banana (plural, "bananae"). Meanwhile, Marcus has an unfortunate encounter with an aggressive elderly war veteran (played by Brian Murphy) who is collecting for charity. Irina, far from being the useful addition to the household that Stylax anticipates, has brought along her husband, and yet more Thracian couples turn up, overcrowding the apartment. The bananae catch on and become a craze with Marcus' fellow-workers. When Marcus is approached again by the veteran, he fights back and injures him, and has to avoid the veteran's friends who are looking for revenge. Grumio points the old soldiers in the direction of Irina's husband. The Thracians flee Rome, leaving behind a pineapple.
66"Saturnalia"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden22 April 2013 (2013-04-22)Under 0.66
It is the festival of Saturnalia and the celebration on the stroke of midnight is the perfect opportunity for Marcus to make a move on Cynthia, but she thinks she is cursed and doesn't feel like coming out. They think they have struck lucky when Flavia invites them to her party along with Aurelius the water carrier, until all three discover that they are expected to wait on the real guests; to escape in time for the public festivities, they rig the water clock so that Flavia thinks it is already midnight. Meanwhile, Grumio goes on a mission to make sure that sacrificial meat doesn't go to waste. Befriended by a priest, he thinks his luck is in until he discovers he is being taken to Cyprus for castration.

Series 2 (2014)

Series two began on ITV2 on Monday 22 September 2014 at 10 pm with a series-opener double bill. Rosenthal's father Jim Rosenthal appeared in the first episode as a commentator on a chariot race.[citation needed]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [6]
71"The Chariot"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden22 September 2014 (2014-09-22)1.09
Having won 100 denarii each through Stylax's betting on a chariot race, he and Marcus have very different ideas on how to spend the money. Marcus, naturally, wants to spend it on Cynthia, whilst Stylax prefers a more laddish approach. After being rejected for a date with Cynthia, Marcus asks the next-door neighbour out.
82"The Best Men"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden22 September 2014 (2014-09-22)0.87
Surprisingly, Aurelius is getting married. Even more surprisingly, he invites his "best mate" Marcus to be his best man. Reluctant to say the least, Marcus plans a night on the cheap, avoiding the hottest club in town.
93"The Baby"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden29 September 2014 (2014-09-29)0.78
Grumio finds an abandoned baby at the bins, which he decides to parent and starts to develop affection towards her despite Marcus wanting her out of the house. Stylax uses it to get closer to a young wet nurse. Marcus doesn't want to see Cynthia's one-woman play.
104"The Patron"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden6 October 2014 (2014-10-06)0.74
Marcus is unwilling to pay for the medicine that Grumio needs, as he uses his slave's sickness to get closer to Cynthia. A nobleman (James Fleet) shows an interest in Stylax's charioteering career, but seems too good to be true.
115"The New Slave"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden13 October 2014 (2014-10-13)0.84
At an auction, Marcus and Stylax purchase a new slave (Tim Key) who might be a psychopath.
126"The Candidate"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden20 October 2014 (2014-10-20)0.57
Marcus and Stylax get involved in the campaign of Victor of the Gracchi (Simon Callow), a local politician; Grumio takes up with Victor's opponent
137"The Phallus"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden27 October 2014 (2014-10-27)0.77
The boys bump into a former schoolmate, Fabianus (Naz Osmanoglu), who is now a lawyer. Stylax fails to connect with an old flame, Cordelia (Poppy Drayton).
148"The Race"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden3 November 2014 (2014-11-03)0.94
Marcus and Stylax need to raise 3,000 denarii to keep the girls from being deported. Grumio discovers that the landlord is in prison

Series 3 (2016)

Series three began on ITV2 on Monday 4 April 2016 at 10 pm, with the broadcast of "The Beasts" and "Justin Junior".

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [6]
151"The Beasts"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden4 April 2016 (2016-04-04)1.06
The Games are taking place in the city and the boys are desperate for tickets. Marcus meets Delphine (Bella Dayne), a fiery activist from Gaul who is later revealed to have an interesting past, while Grumio clashes with Landlady (Maureen Lipman), the mother of their missing landlord.
162"Justin Junior"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden4 April 2016 (2016-04-04)1.04
Grumio's estranged father returns, prompting a father-son reconciliation.
173"The Vestal"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden11 April 2016 (2016-04-11)1.07
Marcus' parents are staying with the boys, prompting Marcus to attempt to hide Delphine from them. Stylax becomes obsessed with a Vestal Virgin. Grumio begins a business endeavour.
184"The Cupid"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden18 April 2016 (2016-04-18)1.11
After being accused of being uncultured by Delphine, the boys take their first steps into the theatre where Grumio wins the role of Cupid.
195"The Crime Wave"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden25 April 2016 (2016-04-25)0.91
Marcus, Stylax and Delphine take a self-defence course; Grumio begins dating a cake maker.
206"Jugball"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden2 May 2016 (2016-05-02)1.03
The son "Ramases" (Nathan Clarke) of the owner of the office where Marcus and Stylax work visits on work experience; before long Flavia is fired and Marcus finds himself in charge. Stylax invents a new ball game.
217"The New Master"Sam LeiferMatt Morgan9 May 2016 (2016-05-09)1.15
Grumio is sent to work for another master after injuring his slave, where he then prompts a rebellion. Marcus wants Stylax and Delphine to get on better and gets more than he bargained for.
228"The Weatherist"[7]Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden16 May 2016 (2016-05-16)1.10
When a Weatherist "Strabo" (David Bamber) moves in next door and predicts an earthquake, Marcus and Stylax use the opportunity to improve their love lives. Grumio also plans to take advantage of the impending quake when he is denied a dish of curry.

Series 4 (2018)

Series four began filming in September 2017.[8][9] The first two episodes aired on 9 April 2018 on ITV2.[10]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [6]
231"The Accident"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden9 April 2018 (2018-04-09)1.19
Stylax is crushed by a slab and unemployed Marcus tries to blackmail builder Crassus (Robert Lindsay) for compensation, but ends up serving his evictions. Aurelius moves in as flatmate while Grumio and ladies' man Jason are in the doghouse. They later burgle Crassus' home for valuable art.
242"The Critic"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden9 April 2018 (2018-04-09)1.06
Marcus spends his savings to open the Crown and Toga pub, and agrees to Grumio's avant-garde menu to appease food critic Athena (Annette Badland). They later forge an unprecedented review and enjoy brief popularity. Meanwhile, Jason tries to connect with the waitresses he hires.
253"The Marathon"[11]Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden16 April 2018 (2018-04-16)1.20
Aurelius is running in a charity marathon and Jason sabotages him to win a bet. Grumio is mistaken for being mentally disadvantaged and Marcus tries to scam money through a charitable foundation, but Grumio soon takes advantage.
264"The Satirist"[12]Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden23 April 2018 (2018-04-23)0.98
Marcus begins a relationship with stand-up comedian Minerva (Aisling Bea) but becomes insecure when she reflects on their relationship at pub shows. Jason, Aurelius and Grumio start a house band.
275"Lupercalia"[13]Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden30 April 2018 (2018-04-30)0.92
Marcus receives mixed signals when Gloria asks him out for dinner on Lupercalia. Jason tries to break up couples for rebound sex, while Grumio accidentally swallows a customer's engagement ring.
286"The Bath House"[14]Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden7 May 2018 (2018-05-07)0.90
The lads extend a "free session" at a bath house for access to great food, a yoga instructor, and business investors.
297"The Accountant"[15]Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden14 May 2018 (2018-05-14)0.74
Threatened with liquidation for the bar's tax debt, Marcus woos a Jewess to do their accounting. Jason takes a barber's tab in hair styling. And Grumio attempts to end their money troubles through snail racing.
308"Beer"[16]Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden21 May 2018 (2018-05-21)0.82
The Crown and Toga lose business to a Germanian pub, and try to steal their recipe for beer. Meanwhile, Marcus runs afoul of an incompetent fire brigade.

Series 5 (2019)

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions)
311"The Vineyard"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden30 September 2019 (2019-09-30)N/A
The boys set off on a wine-buying trip to Tuscany, but when their cart has a collision on the road they are forced to pull in to a nearby village.
322"The Paedos"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden30 September 2019 (2019-09-30)N/A
Marcus offers to tutor Gloria's teenage son Barney, while Grumio is mistaken for a schoolboy and soon finds himself recruited into the under-14s boxing team.
333"The Banquet"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden7 October 2019 (2019-10-07)N/A
The boys gatecrash a posh banquet having received an invitation by mistake. Once there, Marcus attempts to win favour with their host Senator Varus (David Calder), while Jason seduces bored aristocrat Rufina (Amanda Holden). Banished to eat with the other slaves, Grumio overhears what he thinks might be a poison plot.
344"The Grumbrella"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden14 October 2019 (2019-10-14)N/A
There's a heatwave in Rome and Marcus has invested in an exciting new gimmick for the bar - ice. Grumio develops an innovation of his own in the form of a hat-parasol hybrid, which attracts the attention of wealthy entrepreneur Severus (Phil Davis). Jason and Aurelius both join male escort agency the Knights of Eros.
355"The Hooligans"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden21 October 2019 (2019-10-21)N/A
The boys attempt to infiltrate a local firm of chariot hooligans in order to get some big drinkers into the bar.
366"The Dig"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden28 October 2019 (2019-10-28)N/A
The boys begin an archaeological dig in their bar after Grumio unearths an old brooch while sitting on the toilet. They try to keep their activity a secret but others cotton on and when a professor of archaeology, Daedalus Greco (Tony Robinson) goes missing, the boys are brought in for questioning as they paid him a recent visit.
377"The New Flat"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden4 November 2019 (2019-11-04)N/A
The boys face uncertainty when their landlord evicts them without notice from their flat. Marcus hopes his parents, who are visiting for the weekend, will help him onto the property ladder, but his dad has other plans for their savings. Meanwhile, Jason's smooth-talking lands him a job as an estate agent.
388"The Wedding"Sam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom Basden11 November 2019 (2019-11-11)N/A
Jason's brother Darius (Kevin Bishop) is getting married and Marcus desperately wants to hire out the Crown and Toga for the occasion, while Grumio offers his services as wedding planner. But their plans are threatened when they find out that Darius is a serial jilter. Elsewhere, Marcus clashes with their lazy postman.

Special

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions)
391TBASam LeiferSam Leifer & Tom BasdenTBATBD
The boys are off to war, joining the army but unsurprisingly won't return as conquering heroes or cover themselves in glory.

Home releases

Name Region 2 Discs
Series One 29 April 2013[17] 1
Series Two 5 January 2015[18] 1
Series Three 18 July 2016[19] 1
Series Four 4 June 2018[20] 1
Series Five 2 December 2019[21] 1

International broadcast

Plebs premiered in Australia on 8 January 2015 on ABC2[22] and is available for streaming on ABC iview.

Awards

The show has been nominated for and won several awards throughout its run, with two notable wins being the Royal Television Society Award for Best Scripted Comedy in 2014, and the award for Best New Comedy Programme at the British Comedy Awards in 2013.

At the Royal Television Society Awards in 2014, nominations also went to Sam Leifer and Tom Basden for Best Comedy Writing, and Ryan Sampson for Best Comedy Performance. In 2013, Oli Julian was nominated for an RTS Craft and Design Award for Best Music and Original Title Music.

In 2014, Doon Mackichan was nominated for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Role at the British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs), for her role as Flavia in Plebs. Sam Leifer and Teddy Leifer of Rise Films were also nominated for the Breakthrough Talent Award at the British Academy Television Craft Awards that year.

In 2016, the show received nominations for Best Comedy Series at the TV Choice Awards and for Best TV Situation Comedy at the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards. Series 4 of Plebs was nominated for Best Sitcom at the 2019 Rose d'Or Awards.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Plebs". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  2. ^ Donaghy, James (26 March 2013). "How Plebs gets laughs from the past". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Plebs to return for fifth series". Radio Times.
  4. ^ Pointing, Jon (18 May 2019). "Well, we've actually just landed in sunny Bulgaria to start filming Monday".
  5. ^ https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2020-04-30/itv2s-plebs-end-feature-length-special/amp//. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b c d "Weekly top 30 programmes". BARB.
  7. ^ "Plebs Episode 8". itv.com. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  8. ^ Richardson, Jay (4 May 2017). "Plebs to return for a fourth series". Chortle. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  9. ^ @BritishComedy (11 September 2017). ""Shot 1, Take 1"... Filming has just started on Series 4 of Plebs: bit.ly/2wS3AEM" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ @PlebsComedy (8 December 2017). "@PlebsComedy Series 4 coming to @itv2 next year!!! In the meantime people can now watch ALL 3 previous series on @NetflixUK www.netflix.com/watch/80225857?trackId=13752289&tctx=0%2C2%2" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ "Series 4 – Episode 3 The Marathon". Radio Times. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Series 4 – Episode 4 The Satirist". Radio Times. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Series 4 – Episode 5 Lupercalia". Radio Times. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Series 4 – Episode 6 The Bath House". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Series 4 – Episode 7 The Accountant". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Series 4 – Episode 8 Beer". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Plebs [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Plebs - Series 2 [DVD] [2014]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  19. ^ "Plebs - Series 3 [DVD] [2016]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  20. ^ "Plebs - Series 4 [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  21. ^ "Plebs - Series 5 [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  22. ^ Knox, David (6 January 2015). "Airdate: Siblings, Plebs". TV Tonight. Retrieved 6 January 2015.[[