Tuesday, July 22, 2008

For the love of Derek

When I was a 17-year-old boy, PBS in Buffalo, WNED, played the BBC series I, Claudius. As a 15-year-old, I'd studied Latin for a year in grade 10, and the show lit up my Thursday nights to the point that, over 20 year later, I still remember it was Thursday nights. The central figure of the series, the fourth Roman emperor, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, was played by Derek Jacobi. I've admired him ever since. He played Nicodemus in The Secret of Nimh, a movie I also admired (and gave Wil Wheaton, famous as Wesley Crusher on ST:TNG and Gordie LaChance of Stand By Me, his start).

Lately, I've been renting the Cadfael (CAD-file) series from Zip.ca. Set in Shrewsbury, England near the Welsh border, in the 12th century, the stories are a sort of medieval CSI with the Benedictine monk Cadfael as the defender of the unjustly accused in a world of trial by water and the belief in witchcraft... a man more of our own day anachronistically condemned to live in the past. Cadfael is, of course, played by Derek Jacobi, the admired eponymous lead of I, Claudius. I would cross the street to see Derek Jacobi read the phone book. And pay for it, too.

Do yourself a favour and rent, if you can, the Cadfael series. And, relatedly, the semi-animated tale of the fictional construction of a catheral in medieval France, Catheral, which features the voice of this great thespian.

1 comment:

laura k said...

Derek Jacobi has always been one of my favourite actors. I've seen him onstage a few times, and he was positively riveting.

If you haven't already seen it, you would probably enjoy Breaking The Code, in which Jacobi plays Alan Turing.