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: 1,162

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Series 3, Episode 1 - Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!

Upstart Crow. Image shows from L to R: Kate (Gemma Whelan), Marlowe (Tim Downie). Copyright: BBC
Will is just finishing writing A Midsummer Night's Dream but the other actors tell him it lacks a little comedy.

Further details

Will is just finishing writing A Midsummer Night's Dream, a tale of love potions, enchantment and a wood full of fairies. He's very pleased with how realistic it is, as he based it on his own experience. But Burbage and the other actors tell him it lacks a little comedy, like say a character with a funny name or a big visual joke. Meanwhile, back in Will's lodgings, where on earth is his servant Bottom going to put that donkey head?

Kate has problems of her own, because Lord Egeus - a rather old but very wealthy gentleman - has taken a shine to her, and Robert Greene is determined to be the matchmaker. Along the way we learn a little more about how Will and Anne found love, and how Will managed to get hold of a love potion.

Broadcast details

Wednesday 29th August 2018
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Monday 15th March 2021 11:40pm Gold
Monday 10th May 2021 9:55pm Gold
Tuesday 11th May 2021 12:35am Gold
Sunday 31st October 2021 12:50am Gold
Thursday 14th April 2022 11:00pm Gold
Sunday 22nd May 2022 9:50pm Gold
Monday 7th November 2022 11:20pm Gold
Tuesday 8th November 2022 2:35am Gold
Monday 14th August 2023 12:20am Gold
Sunday 15th October 2023 11:40pm Gold
Monday 16th October 2023 2:30am Gold
Monday 13th November 2023 12:00am Gold
Monday 13th November 2023 11:00pm Gold

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
Rosanna Beacock Judith
Joe Willis Hamnet
Guest cast
Ken Nwosu Puck
Nigel Planer Egeus
Writing team
Ben Elton Writer
Production team
Richard Boden Director
Gareth Edwards Producer
Chris Sussman Executive Producer
Andy Bennions Line 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
Kate Daughton Commissioning Editor


TV preview: Upstart Crow, Series Three, BBC2

David Mitchell returns as aspiring playwright/superstar William Shakespeare in Ben Elton's return-to-form sitcom. I say return-to-form with a couple of caveats.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 29th August 2018

Upstart Crow, series 3 episode 1 review

An astute way to reinvent our love for toilet humour.

Jasper Rees, The Telegraph, 29th August 2018

Upstart Crow - TV review

Some gags could fall flat without the laughter of a studio audience.

Gerald Gilbert, i Newspaper, 29th August 2018

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