The final moments of the city that was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, are re-created using dramatic reconstructions, historical descriptions and computer imagery to follow a cast of characters that includes lovers, soldiers, slaves and families. Pliny the Elder: Tim Pigott-Smith. Julius Polybius: Jim Carter. Pliny the Younger: Martin Hodgson. Stephanus: Jonathan Firth. Fortunata: Rebecca Clark. Celadus: Robert Whitelock.