Ben Elton

Ben Elton

Date of birth: 03-05-1959
© BBC / Guy Levy

Fans praise Upstart Crow's emotional finale

'The most tragic, beautifully done ending since Blackadder Goes Forth'

Upstart Crow fans have praised the third series finale after it ended with the heartbreaking death of William Shakespeare’s 11-year-old son.

Viewers drew parallels with writer Ben Elton’s final scenes of Blackadder Goes Forth as the playwright, played by David Mitchell, had to come to terms with the loss of Hamnet.

The Bard learns the news that he has succumbed to the plague after returning home to Stratford after a theatrical awards bash in London.

On learning to the news, Shakespeare rages against an unjust God, but ultimately reassures his wife Anne (Lisa Tarbuck) that Hamnett would live on after they look to him for succour.

The five-minute scene is based on the real-life death of Shakespeare’s only son in 1596, which scholars say had a profound effect on his work.  He also had two daughters: Susanna and Hamnet’s twin sister Judith.

Viewers took to Twitter to praise the scene.

Emily Whitehouse write: ‘Wonderful final episode of #UpstartCrow this evening. Such a heart-rending last scene, the bitter poignancy starkly juxtaposed with the comedy beforehand. Had a similar effect as that very last scene of Blackadder. Great writing from Ben Elton, respectfully performed by the cast.’

Rhianna Evans tweeted that is was ‘the most tragic, beautifully done ending since Blackadder Goes Forth and the Mitchell & Webb Old Holmes sketch. The best comedies are the ones that are brave enough to make us cry as well as laugh’

Zarina Kapasi said: ‘Well I was not expecting the last episode of #UpstartCrow to have me in floods of tears. The last few minutes were utterly heartbreaking.’

Adrian McMenamin added: ‘Terribly sad end to Upstart Crow. Brilliant writing from Ben Elton, of course.’

And Margaret Evans tweeted to David Mitchell: ‘Thank you for a very touching Upstart Crow this evening. I knew Hamnett would die but I thought as it was a comedy that you and Ben Elton would miss it out in some way. But you didn't and it was wonderful the way you dealt with it. Teary thanks.’

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Published: 3 Oct 2018

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