Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators was one of the BBC’s biggest daytime triumphs in years, picking up impressive viewing figures and becoming the best-performing BBC Daytime content on iPlayer in history.
Mark Benton and Jo Joyner’s comedy drama is now back for more, with Frank Hathaway and Luella Shakespeare taking on ten new mysteries in series two.
Here’s everything you need to know…
When is Shakespeare & Hathaway on TV?
Shakespeare & Hathaway series two aired on weekdays on BBC1 Daytime in February and March 2019.
UPDATE: The drama has now been recommissioned for series three and four.
Ten new episodes will be broadcast in 2020, and ten new episodes in 2021.
According to the BBC, when Lu (Jo Joyner) and Frank (Mark Benton) return, “their adventures on this new series sees them dealing with an ageing heavy metal star with a pact with the devil, a Shakespeare museum full of deadly secrets and a King Lear story set in a carpet warehouse.” Patrick Walsh McBride will return as their assistant Sebastian, and Yasmin Kaur Barn joins as new character PC Viola Deacon.
What is Shakespeare & Hathaway about?
Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators is a comedy drama set in the Bard’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon, where ex-detective Frank Hathaway (Mark Benton) and his business partner Luella Shakespeare (Jo Joyner) run an unorthodox but highly-successful private detective service.
Their only employee is Sebastian Brudenell (Patrick Walshe McBride), a young aspiring actor with a particular talent for working undercover. Sebastian lives above a theatre costumier, run by an older lady called Gloria Fonteyn (Roberta Taylor) who is always happy to help.
Luella Shakespeare and Frank Hathaway first met at the very beginning of series one when hairdresser Luella hired debt-laden PI Frank to investigate her fiancé and – in a terrible turn of events – ended up being accused by the police of his murder. She worked with Frank to clear her name, and by the end of the first episode she had bought into his business and become a partner in their joint detective agency.
Since then they’ve taken on a new case in each episode, and it looks like we have some brilliant mysteries coming up in series two.
Shakespeare and Hathaway will be tasked with tracking down a pampered billionaire dog called Tim, and once they’ve solved that case they’ll be drawn into the middle of the action when a fantasy battle in the woods goes badly wrong. We’ll also see sisters at war on a psychic TV programme, the disappearance of an Eastern European oligarch, an episode set in a casino, and even an episode where the two PIs are framed by their own doppelgängers.
Jo Joyner reckons part of the show’s success is “the balance of the buddy friendship that these two have rather than it all just being a serious murder and doom and gloom,” while Mark Benton adds: “Sometimes there’s so much dark drama, so much heavy stuff – which is great and wonderful –but sometimes I think people do want to just sit down and enjoy something.”
Who is in the cast of Shakespeare & Hathaway?
Thankfully, the main cast are all back for more – including Jo Joyner as Luella Shakespeare, Mark Benton as Frank Hathaway, Patrick Walsh McBride as Sebastian Brudenell and Roberta Taylor as Gloria Fonteyn.
Amber Aga will return as Detective Inspector Christina Marlowe in several episodes, with Tomos Eames popping up again as Detective Sergeant Keeler.
Who will guest star in Shakespeare & Hathaway series 2?
There will be plenty of familiar faces in series two, including EastEnders star Annette Badland, Corrie and Da Vinci’s Demons actor Ray Fearon, The Office’s Patrick Baladi, Tessa Peake-Jones (Grantchester) and Benidorm actor Julian Moore-Cook.
Wondering which guest stars you’ll spot in each episode? Take a look at the full list…
Episode one: Michael Maloney, Elinor Lawless, Thomas Dominique and Paul Clayton
Episode two: Dominic Coleman, Emma Fryer, Ray Fearon, Sophie Stone and Marek Larwood
Episode three: David Calder, Adam Wittek, Kristian Phillips, Carol Royale and Paul Moriarty.
Episode four: Janet Dibly, Sian Reeves, Joe Sims, Nav Sidhu and Eileen O’Brien.
Episode five: Dennis Lill, Tessa Peake-Jones, Remy Beasley, Josh Harper and Chloe Harris.
Episode six: Rita May, James Barriscale and Tomos Eames.
Episode seven: Leonardo Salerni, Kate O’Flynn, Annette Badland and Gillian Bevan
Episode eight: Patrick Baladi, Martina Laird and Tia Bannon
Episode nine: Simon Shepherd, Julia Deakin, Mike Grady, Jemma Moore and Julian Moore-Cook
Episode ten: Leon Williams, Alice Barlow, Simon Lowe, Ciaran Griffiths and Lydia Lakemore.
Where is Shakespeare & Hathaway set and filmed?
The drama is set and filmed in Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare and Hathaway work in a rickety mock Tudor building. But many of the cases take them further afield, from tennis courts to idyllic woodlands to stately homes.
Jo Joyner says: “It’s a real privilege to go round some of the places that our locations find, because of that quintessentially British thing – there’s a lot of stately homes or houses.”
Reflecting on how the show’s “Englishness” has gone down so well internationally in countries from Russia to Holland to Japan, she joked: “You couldn’t really have crammed much in there. Tudor buildings! Minis! Earl Grey tea!”
Will there be a third series of Shakespeare & Hathaway?
No official word from the BBC yet – but Mark Benton says: “We love it, we’d love to keep going,” while Jo Joyner agrees: “We do say that when we’re filming it, don’t we?”
Joyner adds: “I really would like to do a Christmas special, because by the time we finish filming every year the Christmas lights are up in Stratford and it’s begging for a Christmas ep.”
Watch this space…