Roman's Empire

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This article is about a British sitcom. For the U.S. version, see Roman's Empire (U.S. TV series).
Roman's Empire
Genre Comedy
Created by Harry Williams
Jack Williams
Starring Mathew Horne
Neil Dudgeon
Montserrat Lombard
Sarah Solemani
Scarlett Rose Patterson
Carla Mendonça
Chris O'Dowd
Nicholas Burns
Morwenna Banks
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 6 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Sophie Clarke-Jervoise
Producer(s) Ben Cavey
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Tiger Aspect Productions
Distributor Endemol UK
Original channel BBC Two
Picture format PAL (576i)
Original run 12 April 2007 (2007-04-12) – 17 May 2007 (2007-05-17)
External links

Roman's Empire was a British television comedy show starring Mathew Horne, Neil Dudgeon, Chris O'Dowd, Montserrat Lombard and Sarah Solemani. Written by brothers Harry and Jack Williams (sons of writer Nigel Williams) as their TV writing debut, the programme's first episode was shown on BBC Two on 12 April 2007.


The programme centres around Leo, the ex-boyfriend of businessman Roman Pretty's middle daughter Nikki, who still works and lives with the family. Nikki's new boyfriend, Seb, has a shady past, which Leo tries to reveal to the Pretty family but usually ends up making himself look a fool. His best mate Jase is married to the eldest sister, Jenny, and is constantly attempting to get away from her and their new-born daughter.

After a complaint from Roman in a restaurant, Japanese chef Mr Hokkasawa loses his job. He had sworn that he would never use his sword again but later takes the job of the Pretty family gardener. Mr Hokkasawa is always plotting against Roman, but falls for his youngest daughter Kelly. All the characters live in a large house owned by Roman, which is where the majority of the story is set.



  • Episode 1: 12 April 2007 - Leo meets Nikki at the airport only to discover she has a new boyfriend. Worse still the new boyfriend turns out to be an old school rugby union rival called Seb. Leo starts to formulate a plan to win back Nikki when he remembers Seb and his gangs' strange traditions. However Leo's plan to expose Seb's past ends up backfiring, making his situation with Nikki even worse.
  • Episode 2: 19 April 2007 - Jase fakes his own death after previous attempts to get away from strange wife Jenny and her newborn baby have failed. Roman starts plans for a new theme park called "Romania", unaware that a country with the same name already exists.
  • Episode 3: 26 April 2007 - Roman's successful brother Jesus comes to stay with the family. Roman tells Leo that he should stay with Jesus at his country lodge, but after looking through Roman's financial records with Seb he realises that in Christmas of 1989, £1 million was given to the company. Leo realises that this was when Jesus mentioned that Roman's wife Morwenna had stayed at the lodge, and comes to the conclusion that Roman had "pimped" his wife for financial support from his brother, and that the same fate was happening to him to receive funding for the new theme park, Romania. Seb is made to go after Leo refuses and pretends he is ill, but when him and Nikki are home alone he tells her what is going on and they drive to the lodge. Leo walks in alone and sees Roman's brother and Seb naked, talking to each other which proves his theory. He is then confronted by Roman and Nikki enters but when Leo tries to explain and show her what is happening, Jesus is sitting on his own, fully clothed. Meanwhile Jase tries to sell the baby while Jenny goes along with it as she believes she is using reverse psychology on him. Jase arranges to meet someone local on the internet who is interested in buying a baby boy. After dressing the baby as a boy and waiting on a bench, Roman arrives and Jase realises he is there to buy the baby. Roman explains that he was disappointed when Jenny gave birth to a baby girl and only wanted an heir to his fortune.
  • Episode 4: 3 May 2007 - When Leo wakes up in bed with his ex-girlfriend Nikki's younger sister Kelly after a drunken night of passion, he sees that this could be the perfect way of making Nikki jealous and realise what she's missing. Jenny tells Jase that she wants another baby, so he tries everything to make sure he's unable to conceive children, eventually dropping a brick onto his groin. Nikki and Seb are the stars in a risible film called "The Squid" and the entire family attend the premiere of the film at the end of the episode, where Seb proposes to Nikki.
  • Episode 5: 10 May 2007 - When Roman has a brush with death, or so he thinks, when actually it is just heartburn, he hands over the running of his business empire to Nikki. Roman's plans for Romania are seemingly scuppered when the National English Green Rights Organisation prohibits building. Leo and Nikki hatch a variety of plans to try and persuade the Organisation to come round to their side. Roman, however, takes up a variety of Yoga and Pilates classes with his gardener, Mr Hokasawa, who is actually trying to kill him. Seb and Kelly take it upon themselves to make a 'wang shape' video which backfires when they discover the copyright has already been bought by a theatrical group who specialise in the 'art' of 'genital sculpture' already alluded to in a dictionary close-up. Eventually Roman becomes himself again, fires his gardener and has to pay a fine for the copyright and agrees to bribe the National English Green Rights Organisation. Jase converts to Judaism to get away from Jenny, but his plan backfires. Roman's gardener goes to work for Jesus and swears to kill Roman Pretty.
  • Episode 6: 17 May 2007 - Last in series. When Nikki has second thoughts about marrying Seb, it looks like Leo has one last chance to win back the girl he has always loved. At the same time, Jesus tries to enlist the help of Leo to destroy Roman's Empire. Seb sleeps with another man, but is determined to go ahead with the wedding. Leo discovers that Roman is actually just drilling for oil in the area he is planning to build 'Romania'. Jesus' plans to destroy the wedding backfire when Roman redirects the oil supply. Jase discovers that Dr Hartley is obsessed with his wife Jenny and a plan is hatched to make Jenny fall in love with him and finally leave Jase. The episode concludes with Seb and Nikki getting married and Roman re-accepting Leo back into the family. The episode concludes with Roman and Leo dancing to the classic Elton John tune, 'Tiny Dancer.'

Running gags[edit]

The obvious Roman references can be seen throughout the series, most notably with the family "forum" and the lack of a male heir for the empire. There is also an incestuous undercurrent, though this seems to be due to the close-knit nature of the family. There is, however, one reference to Roman's whole-body massages.

The family is not averse to nudity, with Nikki declaring she will go to the Squid premiere naked in response to Leo's comment about clothing (Roman following suit), and Seb's infamous Wang Shapes.

Although apparently a shrewd (and morally corrupt) business man, Roman seems to lack certain common sense, and this is reflected on his insistence about the non-existence of geography, most notably Romania (the name for his theme park as inspired by Jase's scribbled escape plan) and later Rio de Janeiro (or Rio, as a combined Roman/Leo empire).

Mr Hokkasawa was sacked from his job as a waiter in Yuki's Japanese restaurant at Roman's insistence (due to Nikki's unfounded accusations of Mr Hokkasawa looking at her legs, which are under the tablecloth). From this point on Mr Hokkasawa plots his revenge, taking up his samurai vows once again, and finding employment as the Pretty gardener. His initial plot of luring Roman to his death in the potting shed (now redecorated as a Japanese house) fails as it is Kelly who is drawn by the sprinklers. Mr Hokkasawa is stuck by her beauty and decides it would be dishonourable to kill Roman and take his daughter as a wife. This becomes a running joke, as each time Mr Hokkasawa is tempted to kill Roman he is also reminded of his love for Kelly.

As Mr Hokkasawa speaks very little English, and as the rest of the cast do not speak Japanese, he often says things direct to the face of Roman, for example his plans to kill. As Roman says, "a wonderful language."

Seb is a rugby-playing man's man who likes men but who is not homosexual. He does, however, enjoy a man-tangle. "It's what men /do/."

Uncle Jesus.

Jase hates the family, his wife Jenny and their baby. He tried to leave twice before the series but was foiled firstly by the death of Jenny's grandfather, and secondly by her announcement of her pregnancy. Throughout the series Jase plots a number of ways of getting out and moving to, for example, Thailand "where the women are cheaper than rice."

Seb always greets Leo with the phrase "Hey, mate!".

Present status[edit]

Roman's Empire was not recommissioned by the BBC and was to remain as a one-off series. Sarah Solemani and Mathew Horne appear in Jack Whitehall's Bad Education (TV series)

A pilot episode of an American remake of Roman's Empire has been commissioned by ABC, as a co-production between Tiger Aspect, Katalyst, and CBS Paramount. It was expected to star Nick Thune.[1] As of October 2012, there has been no further production on the U.S. version.


External links[edit]