Second series for Upstart Crow | David Mitchell to return in Ben Elton's comedy © BBC/Colin Hutton

Second series for Upstart Crow

David Mitchell to return in Ben Elton's comedy

BBC Two has ordered a second series of Ben Elton's Shakespearean sitcom Upstart Crow.

The announcement was made on air after the first series ended last night.

Six more episodes plus a Christmas special will air in 2017 and all the cast, including David Mitchell as the Bard, are expected to return.

Upstart Crow – named after an unflattering nickname rival Robert Greene gave the playwright –  also starred Harry Enfield and Paula Wilcox as Shakespeare's parents, Liza Tarbuck as his wife Anne Hathaway and Helen Monks as his grumpy teenage daughter Susanna.

Stand-up Rob Rouse played his London manservant Bottom and Gemma Whelan was the maid/would-be actor Kate; while Spencer Jones played the clown Will Kempe as an impersonation of Ricky Gervais.

The show began six weeks ago with a robust overnight audience of 1.3 million viewers and plenty of critical acclaim, with many reviews saying Elton had regained his form.

However, ratings slid to a series low last week of 820,000, working out at an average just shy of the usual 1million for that 10pm Monday slot.

BBC controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen said it would be 'madness' not to bring Upstart Crow back for a second series.

Elton added: '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.'

Last night's series finale also acknowledged the similarities to Elton's previous Elizabethan comedy, with Gabrielle Glaister reprising her role as cross-dressing Bob in Blackadder – but now the character had become a judge.

David Mitchell: I'm playing Shakespeare as nerdy and uncharismatic...

Published: 14 Jun 2016

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