Roman Kemp


Doctore (David McIntosh)

Dominius (Tom Bell)


Electric Ray for ITV2, 14 September to 2 November 2017 (8 episodes in 1 series)


We've had a papyrus scroll from the ITV press office. It says:

Eight 21st century lads are to be transported back to the Roman Empire to see if they can cut it as gladiators.
The handsome boys will fight it out with help from their loving girlfriends. They may have the muscles but do these lads have what it takes to go down in history? Cameras will follow eight modern day couples as they're transported to an ancient world where they'll live and fight like gladiators did 2000 years ago.
Along the way there’ll be blood, sweat, tears and plenty of laughs. However, only the very best will make it through to the Emperor's Games where one of them will emerge victorious and take home the Emperor's gold.
Gladiators, ready. Pugil sticks, ready.

When we saw it, each episode had a similar formula. There was a small and a large challenge for the men, and an activity for the women. Dominus and Doctore consulted with the Emperor, and one couple was banished from Rome. Throughout, we see the players reflect, talk to each other, and talk to their partners.

While most of the attention was on the men, their girlfriends played a part. Some challenges were team events, and the women gave counsel in the "banishment" phase.

Bromans was praised by Roman scholars, as it portrayed the real life of gladiators - sweat and swearing and a brutal existance. In the opening episode, the Bromans are humiliated: they're chained up, naked, and they will not be freed by their own efforts. Technology is fitting for ancient Rome, particular praise for the reconstructed chariot.

An actual Roman chariot (reconstructed).

There were aspects we didn't love. The editing felt clichéd, Roman Kemp's script tended to the banal. And after every Broman left, he was replaced by another, so the final winner may not be introduced until near the end.

We particularly loved Tom Bell's snarky "Dominus" character, he voices what we're thinking with just the right combination of respect and disgust for his charges. David McIntosh's "Doctore" was the harsh physical taskmaster, commanding respect through fear.


Tom Trotter and Rhiannon Bailey



The press release now repeats in classical Latin.

Nos enim accepti librum fiscellam ad scaenae officii Libera Televisifica. Inquit:

Ex Saeculum XXVIII AUC, octo pueri sunt Imperio Romano revehi si non gladiatores secabit.
Pueri pulchrii erit pugnare cum auxilio ea amicae ab amandi. Habeant musculorum, sed quid pueri quid horum occidere historia capit? Camerae sequentur octo dies modern copulat qui erant in mundo antiquo deferatur, sunt vivat pugnabitque sicut gladiatores fecit MM annis ante.
Per viam sanguis, sudore, et lacrimis multa iocosa erit. Autem, tantum optimum ipso erit ad eam Imperatoris ludis ubi unum vinceret, et auri Imperatore tolle.

Translating the remainder of the review is left as an exercise for the reader.

Web links

Wikipedia entry

See also

Weaver's Week review


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