Boudica film stays true to legend

By Aynsley DavidsonAFTER all the furore over where it was filmed, the blockbuster movie about Boudica has finally hit the screen – and been praised for staying faithful to the legend.

By Aynsley Davidson

AFTER all the furore over where it was filmed, the blockbuster movie about Boudica has finally hit the screen – and been praised for staying faithful to the legend.

Boudica, a two-hour feature film starring ER actress Alex Kingston as the East Anglian warrior queen, was broadcast on ITV last night.

It told of how Boudica, the queen of the Iceni tribe, defeated the Romans in Colchester and London, before the emperor dispatched some of his most feared soldiers to quell the uprising.

The East Anglian Daily Times asked Colchester local historian Patrick Denney to watch the multi-million-pound epic and give his verdict on how true it had stayed to the historical facts.

"This was a good adaptation of the life of this warrior queen and her battles with the Roman army. The story had obviously been well-researched, resulting in a fascinating mix of historical fact, imagination and myth, all of which blended to produce a believable narrative," he said.

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Boudica told how following the death of Boudica's husband, Prasutagus, king of the Iceni, she tried to renegotiate the pact he had signed with the Romans.

But she was flogged for her impudence and her two daughters were raped in front of her, prompting Boudica to lead an uprising of the native tribes against Rome – famously razing Colchester, then called Camulodunum, to the ground.

Mr Denney said: "The story begins in the camp of the Iceni tribe and goes on to relate how their king Prasutagus agreed to forge an alliance kingdom with Rome.

"The Emperor Claudius himself is seen being carried into the enemy camp and negotiating the terms of the proposed alliance, which may or may not have actually happened as portrayed.

"The fact that Claudius stayed in Britain for no longer than 16 days may not have allowed him time to make personal visits such as this, and in any case it is extremely unlikely that the Romans would have put the life of their Emperor at risk by leaving the relative safety of their own camp.

"It is far more likely that Prasutagus, or his representatives, travelled to the Roman camp at Camulodunum to treaty, or that the alliance was forged at some later date after Claudius had returned to Rome."

Mr Denney said the character of Claudius had been fairly well-portrayed, as had the destruction of Colchester, but was critical of the conclusion of the film, where the Romans finally defeat Boudica and her army in open battle.

"Having maintained a degree of historical accuracy throughout the film, the closing scene shows one of Boudica's daughters seemingly walking with a group of modern-day school children, which, if anything, slightly marred an otherwise entertaining account," he added.

"But on a final note, I was pleased to see that the queen was portrayed as Boudica and not the erroneously-pronounced Boudicea, a name which most of us were probably brought up with."

Boudica was made by Box Film and filmed on location in Romania, which had angered Colchester MP, Bob Russell, who had called for the movie to be shot in East Anglia.