British Comedy Guide

Upstart Crow gets Series 3

Monday 16th October 2017, 9:24pm

  • Upstart Crow will return for a third series and new Christmas special in 2018
  • There will also be a special on TV this December, guest starring Emma Thompson as Queen Elizabeth I
  • Talking about returning next year, David Mitchell says: "I think I'm even pleaseder to be doing a third series"
Upstart Crow. Will Shakespeare (David Mitchell). Copyright: BBC.

Ben Elton's Shakespearean sitcom Upstart Crow will be back on screens for a new, third series.

The comedy's second series concluded on BBC Two tonight (16th October), with the announcer confirming that the previously announced Christmas special will be followed by another run of the period comedy in 2018.

After the success of Series 1 last year and the continued popularity of Series 2 for the past six weeks, Comedy Commissioner Shane Allen has ordered six further 30-minute episodes, and a 2018 Christmas special. The five episodes of Series 2 for which overnight ratings information is currently available, have attracted an average audience of 1.15 million.

Launched in 2016 during a season of programmes marking 400 years since his birth, the sitcom sees David Mitchell star as playwright William Shakespeare, attempting to make his mark in Tudor London.

His wife and parents in Stratford-upon-Avon are played by Liza Tarbuck, Harry Enfield and Paula Wilcox, whilst Shakespeare's contemporaries in the capital include Bottom (Rob Rouse), Kate (Gemma Whelan), Marlowe (Tim Downie) and enemy, Greene (Mark Heap).

The regular cast is concluded with Helen Monks as Shakespeare's teenage daughter, Susanna; Steve Speirs as renowned actor Burbage; plus Dominic Coleman and Spencer Jones as fellow thespians Condell and Kempe.

Following the broadcast of the Christmas special - which will guest star Emma Thompson as Queen Elizabeth I - filming for Series 3 is likely to take place early in 2018, for broadcast later in that year.

Ben Elton says: "I am so pleased that the BBC have decided to commission Upstart Crow Part 3. As Shakespeare himself proved with Henry IV, his very long play cycle about a not very interesting Henry, if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing thrice."

David Mitchell says: "I think I'm even pleaseder to be doing a third series of Upstart Crow than I was to be doing the second. In fact, given the choice, I would have done the third one second and saved the second till third. That would have made me pleasedest, but still, this is tremendous news."

Chris Sussman, Head of Comedy at BBC Studios, comments: "I'm absolutely thrilled that we're getting to do a third series, as we haven't yet had a chance to explore some of Shakespeare's major works such as Pericles and The Two Noble Kinsmen."

Series 1 is available now to buy as a DVD or digital download, with Series 2 due to be released next Monday.


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Upstart Crow - Series 1

Upstart Crow - Series 1

Based on the facts we know about William Shakespeare, Ben Elton's sitcom is about the life of the world's favourite bard as it just might have been.

It's the 1590s and Will (David Mitchell) is still at the start of his career. In London his plays are looked down on by his sinister rival Robert Greene, while his friends and fellow actors are baffled by Will's weird new ideas. He's not taken very seriously in Stratford either, where his mum and dad say his plays are boring, his teenage daughter makes fun of his flowery language and his wife Anne wonders how he can claim to be a great writer when he can't even find his quill.

Packed with gags and sparkling wordplay, Upstart Crow pays comic homage to the greatest writer in the history of the English language - and reveals some rather surprising stories about where his best ideas came from...

First released: Monday 20th June 2016

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Upstart Crow - Series 2

Upstart Crow - Series 2

Ben Elton's Shakepearean sitcom returns to see talented but low-born baldy-boots Will Shakespeare (David Mitchell) continue his quest to make his name as a playwright in Tudor London, a city where unfortunately being posh and well-connected turns out to be more important than being a genius.

Meanwhile, Will also has a bit of a problem with his work/life balance and it's one hell of a commute back and forth to Stafford-upon-Avon to spend time with his loving but loud family.

This series reveals some of the surprising stories behind Will's plays, including a brush with an African general with a bit of a jealous streak; a shrewish teenage daughter who may or may not need some "taming"; the early draft of Twelfth Night, working title Eighth Night; the little known story of how Shakespeare invented musical theatre with the help of a madrigal-writing rocker (Noel Fielding); the original inspiration for Falstaff; a very merry Shakespearean Christmas featuring Emma Thompson in a regal guest role; and of course a great deal of wit, ale, pies and women dressing as men.

First released: Monday 23rd October 2017

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This story was updated on the 17th October to include the quotes.

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