Upstart Crow. Will Shakespeare (David Mitchell). Copyright: BBC
Upstart Crow

Upstart Crow

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two
  • 2016 - 2020
  • 21 episodes (3 series)

Sitcom about the life of jobbing playwright William Shakespeare, struggling to find inspiration in Tudor London. Also features David Mitchell, Rob Rouse, Gemma Whelan, Liza Tarbuck, Harry Enfield and more.

  • JustWatch Streaming rank this week: 1,504

Episode menu

Series 2, Episode 4 - Food Of Love

Upstart Crow. Image shows from L to R: Bottom (Rob Rouse), Kate (Gemma Whelan), Burbage (Steve Speirs), Marlowe (Tim Downie), Will Shakespeare (David Mitchell), Condell (Dominic Coleman), Sir Robert Greene (Mark Heap), Kempe (Spencer Jones), Lucy (Jocelyn Jee Esien), Morley (Noel Fielding). Copyright: BBC
Will invents the musical. He needs help from the greatest songwriter of the age, Thomas Morley, who has some ideas of his own.

Further details

Will Shakespeare takes it badly when everybody tells him his new play about two sets of identical twins separated at birth and given the same names is rather far-fetched, until he hits on a sure fire way to stop any audience minding when the plot gets really ridiculous - make it a musical.

In fact, he's going to make it the first ever musical. And to really guarantee a hit he wants to use the songs of Thomas Morley, a rocking, rolling, madrigal-composing, tax-avoiding Tudor music legend.

Back in Stratford, Will's dad John is determined to get Will to use his new-found writing fame to make the Shakespeare family properly posh, which turns out to be rather a big ask.

Broadcast details

Monday 2nd October 2017
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Wednesday 8th May 2019 9:20pm Gold
Thursday 9th May 2019 1:00am Gold
Monday 30th September 2019 2:40am Gold
Tuesday 1st October 2019 12:55am Gold
Sunday 9th February 2020 2:35am Gold
Sunday 1st March 2020 11:10pm Gold
Saturday 5th September 2020 12:40am Gold
Sunday 6th September 2020 12:00am Gold
Tuesday 23rd February 2021 11:55pm Gold
Wednesday 24th February 2021 3:10am Gold
Tuesday 20th June 2023 11:00pm Gold
Monday 31st July 2023 12:20am Gold
Monday 31st July 2023 3:20am Gold
Sunday 8th October 2023 11:05pm Gold
Monday 9th October 2023 3:30am Gold
Monday 20th November 2023 10:00pm BBC2

Cast & crew

David Mitchell Will Shakespeare
Rob Rouse Bottom
Gemma Whelan Kate
Liza Tarbuck Anne Hathaway
Harry Enfield John Shakespeare
Paula Wilcox Mary Arden
Helen Monks Susanna
Steve Speirs Burbage
Tim Downie Marlowe
Dominic Coleman Condell
Mark Heap Sir Robert Greene
Spencer Jones Kempe
Jocelyn Jee Esien Lucy
Rosanna Beacock Judith
Joe Willis Hamnet
Guest cast
Noel Fielding Morley
Andrew Bicknell Spencer
Mark Phoenix Kydd
Simon Coleman Nashe
Writing team
Ben Elton Writer
Production team
Richard Boden Director
Gareth Edwards Producer
Chris Sussman Executive Producer
Jake Bernard Editor
Julian Fullalove Production Designer
Alex Beverly Production Designer
Catherine Willis Casting Director
Leah Archer Costume Designer
Vanessa White Make-up Designer
Martin Kempton Lighting Designer
Grant Olding Composer
Paul Mottram Composer


Upstart Crow facts - series 2 episode 4: Food of Love

A look at the true facts behind this episode.

Jazzy Janey, A Dose Of David Mitchell, 2nd August 2020

Upstart Crow, Food Of Love, BBC2 review

This second series of Upstart Crow has felt a little under the radar. I'm not sure whether that is to do with the blink-and-you'll-miss-it 8.30pm scheduling or the fact that we are now not so delighted by Ben Elton's Blackadder-ish turns of phrase as we were first time round. It's been good but it has not really blown me away.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 1st October 2017

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