Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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All Roads Lead to Rome 

While the Doctor and Vicki meet with Nero, Barbara is taken to Rome to be sold while Ian is forced to work as a galley slave.


Christopher Barry


Dennis Spooner


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Episode cast overview:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Maureen O'Brien ... Vicki
Derek Sydney ... Sevcheria
Barry Jackson ... Ascaris
Peter Diamond ... Delos
Michael Peake Michael Peake ... Tavius
Dorothy-Rose Gribble Dorothy-Rose Gribble ... Woman Slave
Gertan Klauber ... Galley Master
Ernest C. Jennings Ernest C. Jennings ... 1st Man in Market (as Ernest Jennings)
John Caesar John Caesar ... 2nd Man in Market
Tony Lambden Tony Lambden ... Court Messenger
Derek Francis Derek Francis ... Nero
Brian Proudfoot Brian Proudfoot ... Tigilinus


While the Doctor and Vicki meet with Nero, Barbara is taken to Rome to be sold while Ian is forced to work as a galley slave.

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TV-G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This episode saw the first use of stock footage for a cliffhanger, in this case, a lion. See more »


William Hartnell flubs the lines "my dear, it was an accepted thing in this age to hire an assassin. Preferably someone dumb." See more »


Featured in Dennis Spooner: Wanna Write a Television Series? (2009) See more »

User Reviews

Fiddling while Rome burns

Review of all 4 parts:

This 4 part historical adventure from writer Dennis Spooner is a mix of serious drama and comedy. It takes place in Roman times and brings the time travellers to the court of Emperor Nero leading up to the burning of Rome. It features murder, intrigue and humour, some of which is reminiscent of a 'Carry On' film.

This is quite well liked by a fair amount of viewers but I find it pretty weak. The tone is uneven, slipping jarringly rather than smoothly between whimsical humour and dark drama throughout the adventure and descending to full on crazy farce in episode 3. This farce element is silly and just does not work as far as I am concerned, especially when mixed with the story's dark themes, making episode 3 not much better than the very weakest Who episodes. The drama is relatively uninteresting at times throughout the story too. If it were not for the strength of the main cast it would fall totally flat. Luckily the cast carry it off to some extent and I can accept that amongst dark stories such as The Dalek Invasion of Earth and weird sci fi drama The Web Planet a story like this is intended as a fun interlude. I just find it mostly not very well done. Writer Spooner was also the show's new script editor. His tenure had problematic humour and a drop in quality (with the exception of The Crusade).

A few good aspects to the drama and the funnier moments of humour along with some entertaining interaction and dialogue for the main characters (including a decent performance by newcomer Maureen O'Brien as Vicki) keep standards from being entirely poor but this was a disappointing adventure for me.

My Ratings: Episode 1 - 6.5/10, Episode 2 - 6/10, Episode 3 - 4/10, Episode 4 - 6.5/10

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Release Date:

23 January 1965 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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