The Royal Diaries: Cleopatra VII – Daughter of the Nile
September 9, 2000
HBO and Scholastic (an odd partnership if there ever was one) partnered up to create three ½ hour episodes based on the popular Royal Diaries series. This was the first episode in the series. This episode is based on the book Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile.
The life of young Cleopatra is not often a tale told; we usually see her with some combination of Marc Antony and/or Julius Caesar, but her young life was dramatic too. Here we see a bit of her life as a 14 year old girl. Cleopatra’s father flees to Rome after attempts are made on his life and Cleopatra tags along – most of the episode is therefore set on a boat or in Rome, only a few opening minutes are actually set in Egypt. The rest of the episode is of Cleopatra and her father trying to convince Julius Caesar that he should help them restore her father to the throne of Egypt.
As in the other episodes of this short series, the structure of the episode is of Cleopatra writing in her diary – in this case on a papyrus scroll – which at least fit with the feel of the episode. This diary aspect connects the episode with this corresponding book.
This episode had a very limited cast. The primary characters are Cleopatra, her father, and Julius Caesar with some minor supporting characters. I think that the characters, even the supporting characters, looked similar to how their historical counterparts might have looked. The actors seemed to fit the bill. Typically with films set in Rome and Egypt they just don’t quite look the part or have the right type of accent.
As opposed to the episode on Elizabeth I, I think this episode would appeal more to girls, maybe in the tween/early teenage years. There is a lot of political talk and not as much action/fun as the Elizabeth episode and the characters are older and primarily female. I think of the two episodes I have seen so far, the Elizabeth episode was more interesting and enjoyable (this coming from someone who is not the biggest Elizabeth fan!).
You can watch the entire episode on Youtube, which I have linked below for your viewing pleasure.
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