More workplace politics ahead for William Shakespeare as ‘Upstart Crow’ returns for S3


David Mitchell returns in the main role of William Shakespeare when the third series of the Ben Elton comedy Upstart Crow begins Wednesday, August 29 at 8.30pm on BBC Two. This time around we’ll see busy at work and home as he struggles to juggle his roles as father, husband, commuter and literary genius. Series 3 will also see Shakespeare put on the first ever performance of Julius Caesar, as well as the world’s first charity fundraising benefit as he continues to try and make it as a playwright in London while managing that pesky family life with his loved ones in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon.

© BBC/COLIN HUTTON

To quickly catch everyone up before S3 begins, the first series followed the writing and preparation to stage Romeo and Juliet after The Bard gained some early career notoriety for his poetry, Henry VI and Richard III. Series 2 finds Romeo and Juliet finally finished but in need of a cast while Shakespeare puts the finishing touches on The Two Gentlemen of Verona. 

For series 3, Harry Enfield, Paula Wilcox, Liza Tarbuck, Helen Monks and Gemma Whelan return alongside Mitchell, known to audiences for his 10+ years starring with long-time comedy partner, David Webb, on The Peep Show, which ran for 9 series (54 episodes) from 2003-2015. Series 3 will see a bit of added pressure for Shakespeare when real-life Shakespearean legend, Sir Kenneth Branagh, stars as a ‘mysterious stranger’ in an upcoming episode.

In keeping with the tradition started in series two where Emma Thompson (Brideshead Revisited, Love Actually, Harry Potter, Howards End, Fortunes of War) and Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh) joined the cast of Upstart Crow, the Ben Elton (The Young Ones, Blackadder) comedy will add Ben Miller (Death in Paradise, I Want My Wife Back), Sir Kenneth Branagh (Wallander, Dunkirk, Harry Potter, Murder on the Orient Express), Lily Cole (St. Trinians), Nigel Cole (The Young Ones) and Adrian Edmondson (Bottom) as guest stars in the forthcoming series.

Upstart Crow S3 returns to BBC2 on Wednesday, August 29 at 8:30p. The first two series are currently airing on many public television stations in the U.S. with series 3 forthcoming in early 2019.


In: Comedy

  • jt

    I liked Ben Elton most whence he collaborated with Richard Curtis. The two together were an unbeatable team. Elton alone always seemed a bit to ribald for my tastes; however, Upstart Crow is one of the most enjoyable comedies I have screened in a long, long time. I thoroughly enjoy the programme. Kudos to Elton and the cast! I cannot wait until we receive season 3 here. : )

  • jt

    Generally speaking, I preferred Ben Elton and Richard Curtis collaborations. Writing solo, Elton’s humour was always a touch too ribald for my taste, but I do not find it so in Upstart Crow. It is the best thing penned by Elton that I have seen in a long time. I genuinely look forward to screening these episodes.

    I doubt the real Shakespeare was anything like the character is written here, but this series is so much fun, I like the characters, and the costumes, etc., are pretty well done for a comedy. I hope we see a few more series of Upstart Crow before the BBC eventually cancels it. Well done, Ben!