BBC Two has given the green-light to Upstart Crow, a six episode William Shakespeare comedy from The Thin Blue Line and The Wright Way creator Ben Elton which has David Mitchell (Ambassadors, Peep Show) attached to to star.
Upstart Crow is set in 1592 when Shakespeare is just at the beginning of his career and follows both his family and professional life. The series tracks the Bard as he finds inspiration for Romeo from an unlikely source; mislays a nearly treasonous masterpiece; gets tricked into a very embarrassing pair of tights; has a spot of bother with the wife over some sonnets; meets three witches who predict great things for him; and borrows some money on some rather unusual conditions.
David Mitchell leads the cast of the comedy series as William Shakespeare. Rounding out the cast is Harry Enfield (Harry & Paul), Paula Wilcox (Emmerdale), Liza Tarbuck (Mount Pleasant), Helen Monks (Raised by Wolves), Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones), Mark Heap (Friday Night Dinner), Steve Speirs (Big School), Tim Downie (Toast Of London), Dominic Coleman (Trollied), Spencer Jones (Big Babies) and Rob Rouse (Grownups). Further casting is till underway, with more cast additions expected shortly.
Ben Elton, who most recently penned the short-lived BBC One sitcom The Wright Way, created Upstart Crow and is penning the scripts for the series, which is being produced by BBC In-House Comedy and was initially piloted earlier this year. It was commissioned as part of an upcoming season on Shakespeare. Ben Elton will also produce, while Myfanwy Moore is the executive producer.
“Attracting the very best creatives to BBC Two to do their most signature work is exactly what I want the channel to do and so I’m thrilled that talent of the calibre of Ben Elton, David Mitchell and Harry Enfield are bringing us this wonderfully witty new show”, said Kim Shillinglaw, Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four. “Comedy has always been part of BBC Two’s DNA and this extraordinarily inventive new series will be a central part of BBC Two’s Shakespeare celebrations next year, alongside The Hollow Crown and our live show in partnership with the RSC.”