The Beeb announced its new daytime detective drama, Shakespeare And Hathaway – Private Investigators, starring Mark Benton (Eddie The Eagle Film), in September 2017, before it went on to air on BBC 1 in February 2018. It had some pretty big boots to fill with the likes of Columbo and Diagnosis Murder as its most influential predecessors in the genre, but this is a British detective drama, so it’s got more in commen with Daziel And Pascoe, Morse or Jonathan Creek with a little Car Share wit thrown in for good measure. If you’ve seen series 1 and want to know what the theme music is, you can listen to the song in the YouTube video at the bottom of the page and find out more about composer Debbie Wiseman below.
The 10-part series didn’t get its air date until Monday February 26th, with filming taking place in just after the production and cast was announced, so there was a fairly lengthy wait. The opening series had a daytime broadcast at 2:15pm, which saw it going out when the majority of of viewers are at work. Fortunately, the show was also be available on BBC iPlayer, so there was plenty of opportunities to catch up. It’s no longer available on iPlayer, but a DVD is available from all good retailers with prices in the region of £19.99.
Shakespeare And Hathaway – Private Investigators sees Mark Benton playing seasoned private investigator Frank Hathaway, who takes on a relatively inexperienced assistant, Li Shakespeare. The show takes place in and around rural Warwickshire, continuing the stylistic links to the BBC’s previous detective dramas, which are often set in quiet countryside settings.
The two of them make a very unlikely duo, but with so many secrets, lies and serious crime to look into, they’re too busy to even notice. They have everything from kinky affairs and foul industrial sabotage to celeb psycho stalkers, rabbit puller murderers, babysitter abductions and professional hit people to investigate, so they have to use all of their combined skill to crack the cases.
Mark Benton might be pretty well known for his comedy roles over the years with the likes of 90s sitcom classic Barbara, the 2016 Outnumbered Christmas Special and those annoying Nationwide ads (Armando!), but he’s also done a couple of stints on the crime trail too. He starred in Murphy’s Law with James Nesbitt and then Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, so the casting isn’t completely out of nowhere.
He’s be joined in the cast for the new series by Jo Joyner as Hathaway’s rookie sidekick Lu Shakespeare. She’s mostly known nowadays as one of the many random characters that appear in the BBC’s leading soap, which rhymes with Yeast Vendors, but she was at her best in No Angels. She’s also had a number of comedy roles in recent years with Marley’s Ghost on Gold and Mount Pleasant on Sky 1, so brings a few funny moments to the new show too, especially with Mark Benton as her partner. You can see more from Mark and Jo on their Twitter accounts @dollyjoyner and @markbenton100.
The show brought together pretty well and it has managed to make all of the potential stick making Shakespeare And Hathaway – Private Investigators another great detective drama from BBC 1. It has already been picked up for a sequel and you can expect to see more from the odd couple in Series 2 when it gets its air date in 2019 following another September filming schedule.
Shakespeare And Hathaway theme music:
The Shakespeare And Hathaway music has been composed by Debbie Wiseman and you can listen to it in full in the YouTube video above. It’s a great piece of classical music to go along with the light crime drama music, swirling in elements of the Poirot theme tune. You can listen to more of Debbie Wiseman’s work on her soundbytes page, which includes a stream of the song, alongside her music for Wolf Hall and A Poet In New York.