Plebs go fourth to continue the laughs in Ancient Rome

ANCIENT Rome-based comedy Plebs recently finished its fourth series on ITV2 — and is now available on DVD, courtesy of Acorn Media International.

Stars Tom Rosenthal and Ryan Sampson were joined in the fourth series by Jonathan Pointing, who replaced Joel Fry.

Co-creator Sam Leifer told the Jewish Telegraph five years ago, when the first series was broadcast: “Nearly everything I do is imbued with me being Jewish because it is such a strong part of my identity.”

He said that he had read classics at Oxford and had always maintained an interest in the Romans.

“What my friends and I did and what guys do now is no different to Roman times — they are always trying to get the girl and make money,” Sam recalled. “It has always been the same.”

And, while Rosenthal, whose father is Jewish, is not halachically Jewish, Leifer said he is . . . “kind of”.

He added: “Tom obviously has Jewish traits. When he auditioned, he gave it the Jewish neurosis — I treat him as if he is Jewish. He has a very Jewish face.”

Rosenthal, who also plays Jonny Goodman in Jewish sitcom Friday Night Dinner, finally had a Jewish storyline in the latest series of Plebs.

When it is pointed out that his character, Marcus Gallo, looks Jewish, he takes advantage of the situation to find an accountant, joining a Rome synagogue in the process.

But things end painfully for Marcus when the truth comes out . . . after he has been circumcised by the local barber.

Leifer told us that Habonim Dror played a significant role in his career choice.

He explained: “In Habonim we did lots of sketches, so I guess it all began there.

“When I was at uni I started acting in student theatre and I eventually directed student theatre.”

Plebs — which is being touted for an American remake by Seth Rogen — also features Sampson as lazy slave Grumio and Pointing as dumb blonde builder Jason, who accidentally kills Fry’s character of Stylax in the opening episode of the latest series, which saw the hapless trio open a wine bar in a converted toilet.

Other mainstays of British comedy make appearances, including Maureen Lipman, Aisling Bea, Karl Theobald, Robert Lindsay, Doon Mackichan and Tom Davis.

The Jewish Telegraph has three copies of the Plebs DVD boxset — featuring all four series — to give away.

Just tell us who Tom Rosenthal’s famous broadcaster father is.

Email your answer to or post it to Plebs competition, Jewish Telegraph, 11 Park Hill, Bury Old Road, Manchester M25 0HH by Friday, June 15.

Please include your full name, postal address, telephone number and email address.

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