I, Claudius (1976)
3 user 1 critic

Poison Is Queen 

Germanicus returns from Germania in triumph and he and Claudius catch up on family news - Claudius now has a son but is not enjoying married life. He tells Germannicus what Postumus had ... See full summary »


Herbert Wise


Robert Graves (novels), Jack Pulman (screenplay)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Jacobi ... Claudius
Siân Phillips ... Livia
Brian Blessed ... Augustus
George Baker ... Tiberius
Patrick Stewart ... Sejanus
Patricia Quinn ... Livilla
David Robb ... Germanicus
John Castle ... Postumus
Carol Gillies Carol Gillies ... Camilla
Jonathan Burn ... Fabius
James Bree ... Montanus
Graham Rowe Graham Rowe ... Junius
John Evitts John Evitts ... Meno
Alan Thompson Alan Thompson ... Praxis
Michael Segal ... Quaestor


Germanicus returns from Germania in triumph and he and Claudius catch up on family news - Claudius now has a son but is not enjoying married life. He tells Germannicus what Postumus had passed onto him about Livia's murderous exploits and Germannicus in turn tells the emperor. Augustus is pleased with Claudius and apologizes to him for doubting his capabilities. As Augustus visits Postumus to restore him to his will Livia works out what has happened and initially suspects Livilla, believing Claudius to be too stupid. Augustus is determined to survive any efforts to poison him and resolves only to eat food he has grown himself. However he falls ill and dies as Livia has presumably poisoned the fruit trees in his garden. Postumus is killed by the brutal soldier Sejanus and at last Livia has her wish - to see Tiberius declared emperor of Rome. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Release Date:

11 October 1976 (UK) See more »

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Did You Know?


This episode takes place from 13 to 14 AD. See more »


A minute or so after he dies, Augustus' left eyelid twitches slightly. See more »


Livia: If Jhove wanted to talk to us, don't you think he'd talk to us in Latin; not Etruscan? What would be the point in that, you fool?
See more »

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User Reviews

If nothing else, watch it for "the scene"
25 May 2013 | by winstonfgSee all my reviews

I'm not going to try and compete with Marcin Kukuczka's excellent (and detailed) review, save to say this: "Poison is Queen" is arguably the best episode in one of the best drama series ever made; and it contains without doubt the best single scene I've ever witnessed on TV.

Brian Blessed is better known these days for his loud voice, attempts on Everest, and general good-natured bombast; so it's easy to forget that he was also a _hell_ of an actor.

The scene that Marcin mentions (the death of Augustus) takes just under four minutes, and for 2 minutes and 15 seconds of that the camera is focused completely on Blessed's face. He can't move, he can't speak, he can't blink, and yet about 40 seconds from the end, you do indeed see "the light go out of his eyes" as we hear Livia in the background justifying her actions as a Claudian and being 'for the good of Rome'.

It's an absolute tour-de-force; and anyone who thinks that acting is simple should watch it.

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