A psychedelic acid rave fit with Celtic tribes, cutthroat Romans and trippy druids which look like fingertips after being soaked in the bath for too long. Yep, that’s Britannia, and season three has just been released.
If you’re one of the few people that hasn’t watched Game of Thrones, see our review here
Britannia has already been on UK screens since 2018, with seasons one and two already available, however it has failed to attract the masses of viewers that a show this unique deserves. Set in 43 AD, it follows the Roman army’s attempts to conquer the Celts but, unlike your history GCSE, it doesn’t exactly stick to the historical script.
Far from the thatched rooves and agricultural rituals of the real Celtic Britain, Britannia’s island nation is closely linked to the unruly underworld, governed by druids and female warriors, characters who feel plucked out of what The Telegraph’s Ed Power describes as a “high-camp fever dream”.
Power goes on to describe the series as “Game of Thrones if filmed backstage at Glastonbury circa 1975 and where everyone’s coffee was spiked with premium-grade LSD”, extending this metaphor to the notion that “like a really great music festival, specifics are hard to hold on to – but Britannia’s sheer sensory overload brings its own bonkers rewards.”
Creators Jez and Tom Butterworth mesh the real-life horrifying history of the Roman invasion with the even more horrifying surreality of what The Guardian’s Jack Seale describes as a “Mardi Gras of gnarled mysticism, gamey dialogue and ultra-gore, with a bubbly sitcom undercurrent”, leaving us with a show which is, in The Guardian’s Phil Harrison’s words, “daft but engaging”, therefore a must for those who love a historical drama but are bored of the genre’s mundanity.
Britannia is as impossible as it is improbable, but somehow it just works.