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: 1,177

Episode menu

Series 3, Episode 4 - Sigh No More

Upstart Crow. Image shows from L to R: Dogberry (Adrian Edmondson), Hamnet (Joe Willis), Anne Hathaway (Liza Tarbuck). Copyright: BBC
With the great fug making London too smelly to stay in, Will and his friends have all come to Stratford.

Further details

With the great fug making London too smelly to stay in, Will and his friends have all come to Stratford.

Will hopes for some peace and quiet so he can write, but with Kate and Marlowe bickering, Hamnet obsessed with playing at soldiers, Dad busy with his new role as Master Of The Watch with not-so-able assistance of Sergeant Dogberry, and Sue excited about the upcoming masked ball, there's very little peace to be had.

But when Kate stands in for Sue at the masked ball she accidentally sets of a chain of events that leaves Sue humiliated by the other local teenagers and Will needs to come up with a ruse to turn the tables on the bullies.

Meanwhile in all the confusion Hamnet has gone missing. Anne has a pretty good idea where he might be, and sets off to get back her boy.

Broadcast details

Wednesday 19th September 2018
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Thursday 18th March 2021 11:40pm Gold
Tuesday 11th May 2021 10:30pm Gold
Wednesday 12th May 2021 12:30am Gold
Sunday 21st November 2021 12:15am Gold
Sunday 29th May 2022 11:00pm Gold
Thursday 10th November 2022 11:40pm Gold
Friday 11th November 2022 3:05am Gold
Monday 6th February 2023 12:30am Gold
Monday 6th February 2023 11:30pm Gold
Monday 21st August 2023 1:50am Gold
Monday 21st August 2023 11:55pm Gold
Sunday 29th October 2023 11:20pm Gold
Monday 30th October 2023 2:30am Gold
Tuesday 21st November 2023 10:00pm Gold
Wednesday 22nd November 2023 2:05am 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
Spencer Jones Kempe
Rosanna Beacock Judith
Joe Willis Hamnet
Guest cast
Adrian Edmondson Dogberry
Brandon Fellows Claude
Joshua Wichard Don John
Bessie Coates Margaret
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


Will writes Julius Caesar, having skim-read Plutarch on the privy "while awaiting the appearance of that shy turtle". Meanwhile, Ben Elton references Blackadder's "Bob" episode, as Kate auditions for a woman's role by pretending to be a hermaphrodite. All this and a Brexit gag, too.

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 19th September 2018

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