The story of the Roman poet Ovid who died in the year 17AD in exile.
Part 1: Ovid: The Poet and the Emperor
Michael Wood goes in search of the Roman poet Ovid. Metamorphoses made him a superstar but then came scandal and exile. Unique among ancient poets, Ovid left us an autobiography, full of riveting intimacy, as well as ironical and slippery self-justification. Using Ovid’s own words, brought to life by actor Simon Russell Beale, the film tells the story of the poet’s fame, and his fateful falling out with the most powerful man in the world, the Roman emperor Augustus.
Part 2: Ovid from the RSC: The World’s Greatest Storyteller
BBC Four partners with the Royal Shakespeare Company to introduce highlights from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Shakespeare’s best lines reference these shape-shifting characters, but do today’s audiences know why Niobe was “all tears”, or of Phaethon and his “unruly jades”? Featuring spellbinding contributions from Britain’s leading actors including Fiona Shaw and Simon Russell Beale, this film delivers a series of dramatic monologues, interspersed with behind the scenes discussions chaired by RSC artistic director Gregory Doran on the significance of the original texts and their continuing influence on art and literature. By letting Ovid’s original tales speak for themselves, we see exactly why the Roman poet is still regarded as one of the world’s greatest storytellers, 2,000 years after his death.