Pliny the Younger was a man of letters in 1st century Rome. In this 5 part drama, Hattie Naylor – who dramatised Pepys Diaries, making him accessible to a modern audience – does the same with Pliny.

Pliny becomes a young man bullied by his mother, disrespected by his slaves and generally just trying to get through life, in a series of incidents recorded in Pliny’s letters. Both amusing and enlightening. The Emperor Domitian rules Rome with a rod of iron, and is dangerously unstable and paranoid. There are spies everywhere. Venta, Pliny, his mother Marcella, and Doris the Greek cook will have to have all their wits about them if they are to prevail.

As a teenager Pliny witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius from his home across the bay. Many years later, following a request from his uncle Tacitus who is an historian, he takes time off from being a lawyer to travel to Pompeii and Herculaneum where he hopes to find out what happened to his uncle, Pliny the Elder, who died in the eruption. But upon returning to his villa outside Rome, he finds a letter from the Emperor which throws the whole household into panic.