Nic Wright

Mum and Upstart Crow get second outings

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BBC Two sitcoms Upstart Crow and Mum are to return for a second series, the BBC has confirmed.

The BBC has commissioned six further 30-minute episodes of the shows, plus a 2017 Christmas special for Upstart Crow.

Upstart Crow launched in May 2016 on BBC Two. It was commissioned as one of the highlights of the BBC’s Shakespeare Festival 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of the writer’s death. Series one episodes consolidated with over two million viewers.

Shane Allen says: “What with the brilliant response to Ben’s re-imagination of Will Shakespeare’s world and the uniquely entertaining cast, it would be madness not to bring Upstart Crow back for a second series.”

Ben Elton says: “Making a sitcom for the BBC is the holy grail of British comedy writing. I am absolutely thrilled that Upstart Crow has earned a second series and am sorry for some of the things I thought about the Bard while studying for my English Lit O Level.”

David Mitchell says: “I’m thrilled that we’ll be making a second series of Upstart Crow, but sad that my favourite part of the creative process – the quote for the press release – is now over.”

Upstart Crow is written by Ben Elton, and follows the life and times of Will Shakespeare as he starts to make a name for himself in London while trying to balance life as a husband, father and son for his family in Stratford-upon-Avon. Beyond his wife Anne, daughter Susannah and mother and father, other characters include his servant Bottom, his friends Kate and Marlowe, his theatrical troupe and his rival Robert Greene.

Upstart Crow explores Shakespeare’s world and uncovers the surprising stories of where many of his ideas came from. Series two is set to continue in this vein as Ben draws inspiration from characters like Othello and Falstaff, and plays like Henry V and The Taming Of The Shrew. Marlowe takes a spy trip to meet Two Gentlemen In Verona, and Will and Anne’s lodger turns out to be a Jesuit assassin with his sights set on the Queen.

Cast members for series two will be confirmed in due course.

Starring Olivier Award winner and Bafta-nominated actress Lesley Manville, Mum is a family sitcom seen through the eyes of Cathy (Manville).

Series one followed a year in her life as she moved on from the death of her husband. Starting with the family gathering for the funeral in January and ending on New Year’s Eve, viewers saw Cathy and her family go through the major and minor events of the year. It’s the story of a woman finding who she is again and maybe finding love second time around.

The series, which has been described as a ‘subtle masterpiece’ by The Times, also stars Peter Mullan, Sam Swainsbury, Lisa McGrillis, Ross Boatman, Dorothy Atkinson, Marlene Sidaway and Karl Johnson.

Shane Allen, Controller, Comedy Commissioning, says: “This well-loved and warm-hearted show has been blessed with that rare alchemy of great concept, beautiful writing and terrific cast. Series 2 gives us a more positive Cathy at the core of this world as she moves forward from the lost love of series 1, all laced with deftly drawn characters and comedy sparkle.”