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Upstart Crow (BBC-2 2016, David Mitchell, Liza Tarbuck)



Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina

Premiering as part of the BBC’s 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death Upstart Crow takes us back to the year 1592 when William Shakespeare is starting to make a name for himself thanks to the success of Henry VI and Richard III. As the series begins Shakepeare is getting ready to stage his new play Romeo and Juliet. He is struggling with the demands of theatre life in London and family life back in Stratford-upon Avon with wife Anne, daughter Susannah, his mother and father and his servant Bottom. He also regularly finds himself at loggerheads with rival Robert Greene.

A wonderful return to sitcom for Ben Elton, Upstart Crow is very Blackadder like at times, there are lots of nods to that series as well as Ricky Gervais series The Office. There is a nice twist on the oft told rumour of Christopher Marlowe really being the author of Shakespeare’s plays with Shakespeare actually authoring all of Marlowe’s plays.

There is going to be a Christmas special and a second series has been commissioned. Elton said of the commission “Making a sitcom for the BBC is the holy grail of British comedy writing. I am absolutely thrilled that Upstart Crow has earned a second series and am sorry for some of the things I thought about the Bard while studying for my English Lit O Level.”

production details
UK / BBC Two / 6×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 9 May – 13 June 2016

Writer: Ben Elton / Music: Grant Olding / Executive Producer: Myfanwy Moore / Producer: Gareth Edwards / Director: Matt Lipsey

David Mitchell as Will Shakespeare
Liza Tarbuck as Anne Hathaway
Paula Wilcox as Mary Arden
Helen Monks as Susanna
Harry Enfield as John Shakespeare
Gemma Whelan as Kate
Rob Rouse as Bottom
Mark Heap as Robert Greene
Dominic Coleman as Henry Condell
Steve Speirs as Richard Burbage
Spencer Jones as William Kempe
Tim Downie as Kit Marlowe