Welsh TV channel S4C has been filming at Chester’s amphitheatre for a series which explores the history of towns and cities along the Wales-England border.
Straeon y Ffin (Border Stories) has been made by Caernafon-based production company Cwmni Da with the series due to be shown in late spring.
Presenter Gareth Potter came to Chester’s amphitheatre where the crew shot scenes of gladiatorial battles, reenacting what would have taken place 2,000 years ago in the Roman legionary fortress town of Deva.
S4C spokeswoman Sioned Williams said: “The filming was for a new S4C factual series, Straeon y Ffin (Border Stories) which explores the history of the towns and cities along the Wales/England border and examines their relationship with both countries.”
Paul Harston of the Roman Tours company provided gladiators, a Roman soldier and a team member dressed as a bear.
Paul explained that entertainment at the amphitheatre was for all classes of society attracting between 5-7,000 spectators.
The warm-up act saw beast pitted against beast with animals including boars, bears, bulls and wolves. This was followed by a battle between a gladiator and an wild animal. Criminals would then be forced to fight each other to the death or be eaten by a beast.
Finally, the matinee performance saw gladiator versus gladiator in a contest that sometimes, but not always, resulted in the demise of one of the prize fighters.
“It was a story of horror,” said Paul, whose company often works for TV production companies as well as running Roman tours for school parties. Paul is also behind ambitious proposals to transform an old quarry site into a Roman fort and Iron Age village at Hope in Flintshire.