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Race to the Death: Rome's Charioteers - C4

RACE TO THE DEATH: ROME'S CHARIOTEERS. A chariot race in full swing
(Image credit: Production Company)

In Race to the Death: Rome's Charioteers, we discover what life was like for the Roman version of Lewis Hamilton

In Race to the Death: Rome's Charioteers, we learn about the dangerous but thrilling sport practised when Julius Caesar ruled the roost.

It's a historical documentary about the ancient Roman sport of chariot racing, in other words.

It was the Formula 1 of its day, but now archaeologists have uncovered new evidence that reveals much more about this brutal sport and about one of its superstar racers called Scorpus.

Records show he was a slave, but he won 2,048 races and died aged just 26.

A modern-day chariot maker, Robert Hurford and chariot historian Mike Loades build and try out a replica of a Roman chariot and discover how difficult they were to control, especially with four horses at the front galloping at full pelt.

Pompa Parade in the Circus

Ben-Hur, anybody? Pompa Parade in the Circus

Being a charioteer was a dangerous occupation, the average life span was just 25, but the fame and fortune it could bring tempted many to try their luck.

At the height of its popularity chariot-racing could fill a stadium of 150,000 people – twice as many as our modern day Old Trafford.

TV Times rating: ****