An upcoming British/American TV drama exploring life in ancient Rome features so much graphic sex and violence, Italian broadcaster RAI has decided to screen a heavily edited version of ROME next year (06).

The $108 million (GBP60 million) co-production between the BBC and US network HBO, which has taken five years to make, is uncompromising in its depiction of the brutality of the ancient world, featuring scenes of rape, full frontal nudity, bloody murder and crucifixion.

RAI executive PAOLA MASINI says, "We realised from the start that the makers of Rome had a different concept of ancient Rome than we do.

"If we had broadcast the version being shown in Britain or America, it would have been incomprehensible to Italians."

Rome, which is drawing in four million viewers in the US, will premiere on 2 November (05) in the UK with its creators accusing critics of being prudish.