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 new mysteries in series three.
Here’s everything you need to know…
When is Shakespeare & Hathaway on TV?
Shakespeare & Hathaway ten-episode series three began on Monday 3rd February 2020 at 2.15pm on BBC One, with each episode available to watch on iPlayer shortly after broadcast.
In the US, series two is currently showing on Saturday evenings on PBS.
The series has also been renewed for a fourth series, with ten new episodes expected to land in 2021.
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 three.
Among the cases the pair will tackle are an ageing heavy metal star who has entered a pact with the devil, a Shakespeare museum full of deadly secrets and even a King Lear story that involves a carpet warehouse.
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.
Who will guest star in Shakespeare & Hathaway series 3?
There are quite a few big names joining the main cast for the series’s third run. They were exclusively revealed to RadioTimes.com, with names including Tamzin Outhwaite, Jim Moir, aka Vic Reeves and Josie Lawrence.
The ensemble cast is completed by Josette Simon (Lewis), Simon Williams (Upstairs, Downstairs), Christopher Timothy (All Creatures Great and Small), Sara Stewart (Sugar Rush), Philip Jackson (Agatha Christie’s Poirot), Sally Lindsay (Cold Call), Don Gilet (Babyfather), William Travis (Where the Heart Is), Liz Crowther (The Dumping Ground), Rosie Jones (Eight Out of Ten Cats), Ella Kenion (Stan & Ollie) and Richard Lintern (Silent Witness).
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!”
Shakespeare and Hathaway series two airs on PBS on Saturday evenings