David Mitchell has well and truly pulled his ruddy finger out recently with his return to work with Robert Webb in their new Channel 4 comedy Back, and he’s only gone and added Upstart Crow Series 2 into the melting pot with all episodes available to watch on BBC iPlayer. The biopic parody sitcom sees Mitchell back as William Shakespeare and if you missed the first series you can check out the mini trailer below to get a glimpse of him in character in the show.
It’s been a little over a year since the first series aired on BBC 2, and the new series picks things up with Will and his mismatched band of merry followers and family members as he attempts to make a name for himself at the twilight of the Elizabethan-era. Obviously, the rest is history, but with so few personal accounts of William Shakespeare’s life, there’s a lot of free reign for creative license, which the show takes advantage of mercilessly.
Episodes and air date
There’s a total of six 30-minute episodes in Upstart Crow Series 2, which air on Mondays at 8.30pm. However, all of the episodes arrived on BBC iPlayer at once, so you can binge through the entire series like its a box set on Netflix, or a volcano of pies that overfloweth with the bounty of meat and potato eruptions and a river of warm ale.
The first episode of the new series is called The Green Eyed Monster (referring to Othello) and it’s due for an air date of Monday the 11th September 2017 at 8.30pm on BBC 2. It will see David Mitchell’s William Shakespeare courting favour with wild abandon from the College of Heralds in a bid to get his family its own coat of arms. The only snag is that his arch nemesis Robert Greene is the Master of Heralds, but the arrival of African prince Otello gives him an idea to get the gentry on-side.
Episode 2 airs on the 18th September and it’s called I Know Thee Not, Old Man, which refers to a line from Henry IV Part 2. It will feature a catholic spy hunt and Will’s frightening old school teacher as the Bard heads to Stratford to knuckle down with some serious writing.
In addition to the six main episodes, there will also be a Christmas Special where Will gets summoned by the Queen to present a special performance of Twelfth Night. However, it’s still only an early draft by that stage, going by the working title Eighth Night, so there’s plenty of scope for it all to go udders to the pole star before four more nights get added.
Series 2 will feature the same faces from the original six episodes with Lisa Tarbuck starring alongside David Mitchell as Will’s wife Anne, and Helen Monks (Raised By Wolves) returns as his daughter Susanna. The cast will also see Gemma Whelan back as Kate, Tim Downie as Kit Marlowe, Rob Rouse as Bottom, and Mark Heap as Robert Greene.
Harry Enfield will reprise his role as Shakespeare’s potty-mouthed dad John, along with Paula Wilcox as his mother Mary Arden, Dominic Coleman as Henry Condell, Steve Speirs as Richard Burbage and Spencer Jones as William Kempe.
The BBC has also confirmed that Steve Toussaint will play Otello in the opening episode and Noel Fielding (Luxury Comedy) will star in a later episode as composer Thomas Morely. The Christmas Special will feature Emma Thomson as Queen Elizabeth I.
You can keep up with the latest from David Mitchell on his Twitter page.
Ben Elton is the man behind the quill of the show once again, penning the episodes for the second series with Richard Boden directing. Gareth Edwards is producing with executive producer Chris Sussman.
Upstart Crow Series 2 is another witty parody of the life and times of William Shakespeare. The comparisons to Black Adder and Maid Marion are pretty well founded, but with a lot more contemporary parallel references, which you can see in the trailer below. The addition of Noel Fielding and Emma Thomson as guest episode cast members should work out well and with Ben Elton pushing the ink there’s as many clever lines as the first series.