‘Plebs’ finale “made me cry”, says star Tom Rosenthal

The sitcom's last ever episode airs this week

Actor and comedian Tom Rosenthal has teased the feature-length final episode of Plebs, the British sitcom that has aired for five seasons since 2013.

The show follows the exploits of three young men in Roman times as they chase romance, try to hold down jobs, and climb the social ladder in the ancient civilisation’s capital. It has won several awards during its run, most notably at the Royal Television Society Award for Best Scripted Comedy in 2014. The finale, Plebs: Soldiers of Rome will premiere on ITV’s streaming service ITVX on December 8.

Speaking ahead of its release, Rosenthal said: “The one-sentence pitch is that we go to war. It starts like a classic episode of Plebs: the army is about, it’s clear there’s something going on and we don’t really wanna be a part of it. But when it becomes evident that Grumio [played by Ryan Sampson] could get some food, Jason [Jon Pointing] could get some girls and Marcus [Rosenthal] could get some money, they’re like ‘well let’s just join the army then!’ Obviously they’re thinking there’s not going to be a war – and then, it’s Plebs, there’s obviously a war.”

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“I think it’s brilliant,” he continued. “The ending made me cry and I’m not the only one.

“It was such a fantastic thing to be a part of. It was special when we were making it because we all knew it was the last one. There was already quite a lot of emotion contained within the shoot. And I think what we have made, and what the finale is, is just a wonderful testament to that. I’m convinced that the fans of Plebs will recognise it to be a really lovely resolution.”

It was first announced that Plebs would end in April 2020, but COVID delays slowed production of the planned finale. It means the last episode of season five aired more than three years ago.

When asked why it’s the right time to close the book on Plebs, Rosenthal said: “Because we’re old, man! I think that [writers] Sam Leifer and Tom Basden have mined all of the stories from their 20s that they could. And I think both just want to write about slightly more adult things than people masturbating with the hand of a dead man and stuff like that.“

He added: “We are also visibly ageing. In the special, my character is 29 turning 30 and… that is a quite clear and obvious lie. We were supposed to film it when I was 31 [Rosenthal is now 34] which would have made sense but now you can just see the crow’s feet creeping around my eyes like ‘he’s lived a life, he’s mid-30s now’.”

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‘Plebs: Soldiers of Rome’ will premiere on ITV’s streaming service ITVX on December 8

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