The first series of Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators ended up being a surprise hit, scoring high ratings for daytime TV and being one of the BBC’s most
successful daytime dramas. There has been a lot said that it deserves a primetime slot, as a lot of people won’t be able to catch it when it is broadcast. I wouldn’t have myself if not for the Beast from the East last year!
But, in any case, it is back for a second series, in the same time slot, and in more or less the same week a year on! The method of having an episode each weekday stayed too, so with 10 episodes in the series that makes two weeks.
It is a comedy-drama set in Stratford-upon-Avon about former cop Frank Hathaway (Mark Benton) who starts his own private investigator business, and he is joined by Luella Shakespeare (Jo Joyner), an ex-hairdresser who has invested money into the business, and is joining in the investigations, so there is a sort of veteran/rookie dynamic as well, Frank the old hand and Luella the fresh new learner.
Shakespeare and Hathaway have help from actor Sebastian Brudenell (Patrick Walshe McBride), and costume shop owner Gloria Fonteyn (Roberta Taylor).
They also frequently encounter Detective Inspector Christina Marlowe (Amber Aga) and her sidekick Detective Sergeant Joe Keeler (Tomos Eames).
This is an overview of series 2, so it talks about plot points, twists and revelations, so to be clear, from here on it CONTAINS SPOILERS.
The first episode, ‘Outrageous Fortune’, written by Jude Tindall, dealt with a missing dog named Tim, who was worth “426 times his weight in gold!”. His wealthy owner had recently passed away and left him everything in his will. The executor of the estate, George Gonzalo (Michael Maloney) comes to Shakespeare and Hathaway to ask them to help find Tim.
Rather than a kennel, Tim’s doghouse is a majestic, grand mansion, he’s served Kobe beef on a silver platter and has a whole team of servants, including a butler, a maid, a housekeeper, a chef, a stylist, a groomer, a personal trainer, a chauffeur and a gardener!
Things begin to escalate when a ransom demand and video with Tim held in a cage turns up, and just get worse from there. Tim’s body is found in the grounds of the mansion. He’s given a rather excessive funeral.
But all is not what it seems. The dog in Tim’s coffin was in fact a different one of the same breed, who died of natural causes. Why fake Tim’s death then?
The answer is that it was Gonzalo working with Tim’s vet, Antigone Carter (Elinor Lawless). She had said earlier in the episode that the wording of the will was taken too
literally, in a way that Tim’s master never intended. He wanted Tim to be taken care of in the same way he himself had been, but he didn’t mean that Tim should be treated like a human. Tim, being a dog, isn’t going to understand, let alone appreciate, what a mansion and a human luxury lifestyle is, if anything it’s most likely going to unsettle him. The will stated that after Tim’s death, all the estate would be split between several animal charities. So Gonzalo and Carter were well intentioned really. Faking Tim’s death means that the money will go to good causes, the servants won’t have to put up with having such an absurd job, and Tim himself can go to a good home where he can actually be a dog!
In the end, Tim is renamed Jim, and his new owner is Gloria, who had recently lost her own dog.
Highlights from the episode:
Gonzalo: “When the extremely rich are mad, they are more usually described as ‘eccentric'”.
The staff tampered with the CCTV so they could have a party without Gonzalo knowing. (He did know as it happens, which ends up being an important plot point).
Frank calling Gonzalo “Speedy Gonzalo” as he tries to run away.
There is a lot of cute animal stuff in this episode, not least Tim, played by a dog called Barley. Tim is seen carrying a bunch of flowers in his mouth to lay at his master’s grave. At the vets, we also see a cute kitten which has been rescued from a sack that had been thrown in a river.
At “Tim”‘s funeral, one of the women attending is dressed in a large, dalmatian print coat, which is a little… Cruella De Vill as a fashion choice, especially for a dog’s funeral!
There is mention of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Tybalt, after a character in Romeo and Juliet. Ironically, in William Shakespeare’s time, Tybalt was actually a popular name for cats, and jokes are made about that in the play!
We find out that as a child, Luella had a pet chameleon named Karma! And yes, she did name it after the Culture Club song!
Frank and Luella talk about which dog breeds they’d be. Luella thinks Frank would be an Old English Sheepdog. Sebastian and Gloria both think Luella would be a Golden Retriever, and apparently most people say that, but Frank thinks she’d be a poodle… which she isn’t too pleased with!
I really liked this episode, and I thought it had a good moral in terms of how it isn’t always a good idea to anthropomorphise pets, especially if it’s at the expense of their wellbeing.
The second episode ‘The Play’s The Thing’ was about LARP, Live Action Role Play. In this case, a fantasy version of The War of the Roses (so similar but not identical to Game Of Thrones).
Adrian Messenger (Dominic Coleman), the man who created this particular LARP, thinks his wife Maggie (Emma Fryer – Tania in Ideal and Janine in Phone Shop!), who is playing the Queen, is having a very real affair with Tony (Ray Fearon), the man playing the Duke.
To go undercover, Frank, Luella and Sebastian have to take part in the LARP, and Adrian gives them roles. Frank is Davy The Ogre, with fake teeth that make it impossible for him to talk, and a goat horned helmet. Luella is Doll The Charm Fairy, described as “a sharp-tongued fairy who wants to marry a nobleman”, and Sebastian is Owain, a swordsman and poet whose costume is very Legolas like.
The costumes for the LARP were great, and made this a very fun episode. I quite liked that Frank was grumpy about being there while Luella was enthusiastic, as that fitted well with their ogre/fairy characters.
Queen Margaret’s costume was similar to Elizabeth I, whose reign was quite some time after The Wars of The Roses ended. That’s not a criticism, with it being a fantasy why not have a costume which looks good over historical accuracy, just me wanting to drop some history geek stuff in here.
Anyway, they soon prove that the Queen and the Duke are having a real affair, but then some people are seriously injured after real arrows are used in a battle scene – and Maggie has a crossbow! So Adrian now wants them to clear her name.
This episode had a lot of interesting layers of people pretending to be something they aren’t and reality and fiction overlapping. Leaving aside the obvious fact that we’re watching actors in a fictional TV story:
Ewan (Marek Larwood), who played the King ended up falling for Maggie for real, which resulted in the King’s character been killed off and Ewan having to start from scratch with a new role as a peasant.
The Queen and the Duke have an affair in the role play, but had an affair for real as well. As Luella puts it, “Talk about blurring the lines between fact and fiction!”.
And, we have two perpetrators who were also using fake names in their real life! Major Tony Suffolk was far from a decorated war hero, he was Corporal Barry Foulkes, who was discharged due to causing another soldier’s death. That soldiers sister turned out to be Katie Harper (Sophie Stone), who was an assistant to Adrian. She was using a shortened name rather than a completely fake one, as her full name was Catherine Harper Talbot. She’d also arranged a way to get herself shot to look like a targeted victim rather than the culprit.
I liked the bit where Katie says to Frank “You secretly fancy her, don’t you?”. She was talking about their LARP characters Davy and Doll, but could it just as easily be about Frank and Luella?
In ‘This Cursed Hand’ a rich Eastern European lady named Anastasia Kusk (Carol Royle) comes to the office about her missing ex-husband Pavel, who is an oligarch. He
likes Britain, as Anastasia puts it “English people are so polite. They never ask awkward questions”.
There are two thugs about too, Dimitri Kapeal (Adam Wittek) and Alek Hodzic (Kristian Philips).
Sebastian, disguised as a bellboy, makes this discovery. “The good” – he’s found Pavel. “The bad” – he’s dead. “The ugly” – someone cut his hand off! The reason for it is, as Christina puts it, is “they killed him to use his hand as a swipe card!”. To be specific, for a vault which uses palm print recognition.
But, not only did they cut off the wrong hand, it was the wrong guy! It was actually Pavel’s twin brother Petrov (both played by Paul Moriarty). And the vault doesn’t contain museum art, it contains pictures painted by Pavel and Anastasia’s little boy who passed away years ago.
This brief exchange between Christina and Frank noted their past. Christina wants to do things “by the book”, but Frank replies “I taught you how to read that book!”. This is will become quite interesting later on in the series.
‘This Cursed Hand’ featured:
Lots of hand puns. The best was probably Frank’s “second-hand”.
A cafe in a converted train carriage.
A hammmy old AC-TOR character, aptly named Harold Hamworthy (played by David Calder). At one point Harold drinks straight from a squeezy tomato ketchup bottle!
Luella trying that “cushion up your jumper to look pregnant” trick.
Luella, armed with a fire extinguisher, can’t get it to work in time to attack the baddies, so Frank ends up getting the brunt of it instead!
Frank says his clothes say he’s “a dangerous carefree maverick”. Luella thinks they say he “had chicken tikka masala last night”.
I liked Luella’s toucan brooch.
Carol Royle and Adam Wittek’s performances were good, with Adam Wittek totally Bond villaining it up as Dimitri.
‘Beware The Ides Of March’ was about suspicious accidents on a TV show with two “psychic” sisters, with both sisters getting heavy studio equipment falling on them and
landing them in hospital. As Frank noted, they didn’t see those accidents coming!
Frank doesn’t have much time for “psychics”, as a lot of stuff they say are things which could apply to most people (desire for success and admiration), and people who go to them will most likely have deceased loved ones, and you can probably make an educated guess on whether the person is talking about, say a grandparent or a partner. These two sisters it turns out are using earpieces, and sued one family for going public with it, and there are unintended consequences for that.
The episode features Sebastian being hypnotised to become a soccer hooligan.
I liked this line from Frank “Romeo and Juliet doesn’t equal the Macbeths”, i.e secret lovers don’t equal a murderous couple.
‘No More Cakes And Ale’ begins with two burglars in clown masks trying to steal a quad bike from a barn. The farmer Eddie Doberry (Denis Lil) comes in with a gun to
defend his property, but gets hit on the back of the head by one of the burglars. There’s also a bag lady who’s been sleeping in the barn who has witnessed the whole thing.
Shakespeare and Hathaway are visited by Portia Montgomery (Remy Beasley) the solicitor for one of the burglars. He is Ant Donahue (Josh Harper). They are pinning everything, including the assault, on him, but he says he didn’t do it. However, he refuses to grass the other burglar up.
The bag lady is named Cynthia Sly (Tessa Peake-Jones), and by an amazing coincidence, it turns out that Portia is her long-lost daughter! And they were estranged for very good reasons, namely Cynthia being an alcoholic and a bad mother, but they manage to reconcile a bit by the end.
There is more to the case than meets the eye too. It’s just one in a string of poultry farm burglaries. It’s masterminded by corrupt poultry business owner Dennis Reagon (Cliff Parisi), and a large picture of his face with a rather grotesque expression is plastered all over his vans. (Not the smartest idea to use those vans for criminal purposes, then!) The burglar who committed the assault was Nate Naplin (Josef Davies). Not only that, but Nate was having an affair with Ant’s girlfriend Stacey (Chloe Harris), Nate is actually the father of Ant and Stacey’s baby, and Stacey was in on the burglaries and lies in court in an attempt to get Ant sent down! What a bunch of arseholes! They get their comeuppance, though.
Sebastian’s costume this episode is a chicken suit, to promote a local fast food outlet.
A side character is smarmy lawyer Rupert Shylock (Alex Caan), who is the prosecuter.
Cynthia gets a makeover courtesy of Luella, and looks completely different. But I still didn’t recognise her until I saw the end credits. She’s RACQUEL FROM ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES!
‘The Offered Fallacy’ was mentioned a lot in the pre-publicity, as it’s the one where there are doppelgängers of Frank and Luella.
Frank and Luella get in trouble due to two con artists who resemble them Phil (Victor McGuire) and Roamy (Rebecca Gethings). At first they claim to be film extras who
don’t know the identity of the person behind the scam. But it turns out to be Romay herself, or rather Lucy Nell, her real name, and she’s doing it out of vengeance, as she had an affair which was uncovered by Frank.
In real life, some tourists from Tasmania who were big fans of the show saw this episode being filmed, and thought Rebecca Gethings and Victor McGuire were Jo Joyner and Mark Benton, and commented on how different they look in real life!
This episode sees the return of computer expert Spider (Darren Evans) from series one.
Rita May – Mags in Childrens’ Ward! – plays Mrs. Emilia Merchant. I know she’s been in loads besides, but I always remember her as Mags in Children’s Ward.
‘Nothing Will Come Of Nothing’ was set in a casino. It is owned by the two King sisters, Rose, (who prefers to be known as Ms. King), and Queenie.
Ms. King (Annette Badland) is a rather masculine woman who wears suits and a bowler hat. Her sister Queenie (Gillian Bevan) is more feminine, wearing dresses and lots of jewellery. They have a similarity, in that Ms. King carries a cane, while Queenie carries an umbrella.
Lorenzo Foyle (Leonardo Salerni) goes missing. He is a gambler, and a former local butcher… who was shut down for putting dog food in his meat pies! He has lots of
debts and a pregnant wife, Ava (Kate O’Flynn).
A heart is delivered to the casino, “a pound of flesh” as Frank puts it. A message says the heart is Lorenzo’s, but it is in fact a pig’s heart. The old Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs trick the Huntsman in that story did.
Lorenzo was having an affair with Lady Eugenie Chaucer (Clare Wille), who keeps a dummy of Lorenzo with his photo on! They had a video of them playing strip poker,
which becomes used for blackmail, and both Lorenzo and Lady Chaucer end up bumped off.
Ms. King turns out to be the murderous villain mastermind, and it was a great performance by Annette Badland, but then, she usually is great. Ms. King reminded me a
bit of the Penguin in Batman, who I’m fairly sure was a casino owner at some point in the comics. That said, Ms. King also has some similarities to Two Face, who let a coin decide if he was going to take a good or evil course of action. In Ms. King’s case, she lets a spinning roulette wheel of death decide. Red, her victims can live, black, they will die. Of course, “the house always wins”, so if it goes to red, she’ll just get her sister to kill them instead!
Another character we meet in this is creepy, slimy Jasper Snout (David Langham) .
Luella turns out, to her own surprise as much as anyone elses, to be a natural at card counting!
There are a lot of playing card references. Lady Chaucer’s garden is filled with heart, club and spade statues.
There’s also a King (Rose), a Queen (Queenie), an Ace (Ava), and possibly a Jack (Jasper).
‘In Memory Lock’d’ sees an amnesiac (Patrick Baladi) stumbling to Shakespeare & Hathaway, so they try to find out who he is. He has no wallet, mobile phone or I.D. of
any kind, but he’s wearing an expensive watch and there is a key. It is all eventually traced back to a posh hotel, and a staff I.D card is found which has the amnesiac’s face on it, albeit with glasses and a beard. It says he is the caretaker Bertie Crudburke…. but in actual fact, he is the hotel owner Alfred D’Angelo, working undercover. The hotel manager Claudia Farrell (Martina Laird) had been siphoning money into a secret bank account.
But that’s not all that went on! The reason for Claudia’s embezzlement was she wanted to treat the staff fairly and pay them a decent wage, which resulted in the hotel running better. And Alfred was a nasty piece of work, as upon discovering this he blackmailed Claudia’s daughter Izzie (Tia Bannon) into sleeping with him – but she couldn’t go through with it in the end.
There are several attempts to kill Alfred, and I guessed who it would be. It was Darren the bellboy (Jack James Ryan). The clues of him having a crush on Izzie, motor oil on door handles and soil from pot plants dropped from a balcony, comments about “not wanting to get your hands dirty”, and that the bellboy had clean white gloves were all TV signposts to him being the culprit.
But the episode was quite interesting in having someone with amnesia and them discovering that they are actually a horrible person.
Sebastian’s disguise is a cowboy outfit. Luella has a couple of disguises too, as a bag lady and a hipster barman, complete with a beard!
One of the best episodes was ‘The Envious Court’, which saw the return of Luella’s mum Genevieve (Julia Deakin).
Genevieve is the social secretary of a tennis club, and wanted Luella to join, despite the fact Luella can’t play tennis. Genevieve saw that she could get her discount and the opportunity to set Luella up with an eligible bachelor as more important! Anyway, Genevieve is also dating the owner, Frederick Greenwood (Simon Shepherd).
Frederick is glad that Luella is a private investigator, as he thinks someone is trying to kill him. Mainly because someone has defaced his office portrait with the words “I’m going to kill you!”.
The men’s captain Orlan Rowlands (Julian Moore-Cooke – Callum in Benidorm!) is poisoned with aconite on his tennis racquet (making him see yellow and compare Frank to
Whoever is doing these things is demanding money, 200 grand. Thinking about suspects, Shakespeare and Hathaway consider the groundsman Adam Oldknow (Mike Grady) as
he might have access to monkshood, the plant aconite comes from. Sebastian goes undercover, in the guise of Corin Silvus, environmental health officer, and finds that
Adam is burning the aconite plants. Adam threatens Sebastian with a garden fork, but ultimately Sebastian calms him down, and believes Adam’s explanation that he found the plants growing in the garden and didn’t want to be accused.
Luella comes to her own conclusion – that Frederick in fact set the whole thing up himself! It makes sense, as he doesn’t actually have much money. He put his fortune into buying the tennis club. And Genevieve has lent him the two grand in a suitcase to pay the blackmailer! But there are further twists, and some very funny scenes.
Luella sees tennis coach Rose Lin (Jemma Moore) drinking lots of champagne. Rose is angry about a lot of things that have been going on in the club and has quit. She mentions that Frederick’s granddaughter Celia (Looby Mills) worked with Adam at first – except she was too lazy to do any work, but she did find out about the aconite.
Luella then catches Celia in the act of taking the suitcase full of money. We see just what an evil, spoilt brat Celia is. Though she has some brilliant bitchy lines!
Celia set it up as she won’t get much inheritance out of her grandfather’s will, and she poisoned Orlan out of petty revenge as much as anything else. She had been dating Orlan, and he’d cheated on her with all the other girls in the club, including “playing mixed doubles with a beautician and couple from Clifford chambers”. She also, in a rather catty way, mentions that Rose is a lesbian (“She’s more of a Navratilova kind of girl”). She’s also locked Genevieve in the sauna, and says Luella has a choice between saving Genevieve’s life and keeping Celia from leaving with the money. Celia tells her “You’d better hurry. She must be a well-stewed prune by now!”.
Luella does manage to get to Genevieve in time, and Frank and Christina are on their way, meaning Celia is cornered in the tennis court. She then decides to fire lots of tennis balls at Frank and Luella using the tennis ball machine. Luella hits one back with a racquet, going right in Celia’s face giving her a well-deserved nosebleed!
Luella takes her private investigator exam and brings in a lot of mascots, including a Jesus figure and a maneki-neko.
Genevieve is also a fan of mascots, having come up with one for the club called Perry the stag. There are soft toys and a costume, though the costume gets a knife through it and a note demanding 100 grand in the course of this episode!
Luella tries baking cookies to calm her nerves. The results of that are apparently not very tasty!
Luella has another tropical bird brooch – this time a flamingo.
There are quite a lot of interesting developments in this episode. Luella takes the exam to be a fully qualified private eye – she has to leave early because of having a lightbulb moment about the case, so just ticks random boxes. Yet, somehow, she passes! There is also a lot about her rather awkward relationship with her mother, and the fact it ends with Genevieve telling Luella she is proud of her.
Christina also joins Frank, Luella and Sebastian in the pub, which is quite a development.
This was a great episode, Kit Lambert wrote a brilliant script for it!
Looby Mills as Celia Greenwood is one of the best villains the show has had. This is the only credit on IMDB for Looby Mills at the time of writing, but I think we could be seeing a lot more of her in other programmes/films if this episode is anything to go by! I also enjoyed Jemma Moore’s performance in Rose Lin’s drunken scene.
The final episode of this series was ‘Too Cold For Hell’.
It begins with a young newlywed couple Anthony (Leon Williams) and Bianca Percy (Alice Barlow – Rae in Hollyoaks!) just moving into their new home, but the removal man hasn’t turned up. He’s stolen all their stuff!
He’s been doing this a while, under different names. The Percys knew him as Fred Foste, but he’s also gone under Softer and Forest. The names are anagrams. He’s currently using the name Florian Fortes (Simon Lowe).
Upon investigation, Shakespeare and Hathaway find that Billy The Brick (Ciaran Griffiths), who we met last series, is working for Fortes.
This case ends up taking a sharp detour though. In the storage lock-up where Fortes is keeping the stolen property, a couple of gangsters, Claude Mortimer (James Dreyfus) and Mercy (Lydia Lakemoore) show up, demanding to know where something is. They shoot Fortes dead! And Billy, hiding behind some boxes, saw the whole thing!
After the lock-up has been searched by the police, Shakespeare, Hathaway and the Percys come to it. All the property is there, apart from Bianca’s nan’s ashes, which were kept in an angel statue.
Billy is at Shakespeare and Hathaway’s office, and admits that he stole the angel statue, wanting it as a present for his foster mum, but he wasn’t aware they contained a dead person’s ashes. When he found out they did, he left the statue in a graveyard. To make matters worse, it turns out Bianca is related to Claude, and the Mortimers are a notorious crime family. He must have been after the angel statue!
Christina is at this point actually “outsourcing” to Shakespeare and Hathaway, with them in her office. This annoys D.S Joe Keeler, who dislikes Frank in particular. He later spots Frank and Billy going into the cemetery to retrieve the angel statue and follows them. Frank and Billy find the angel statue, Joe finds Frank and Billy, and all of them are found by Mortimer and Mercy!
Held at gunpoint, Frank, Billy and Joe are locked in a transit van and driven to an industrial estate. Frank has a concealed phone, a burner which can’t be traced, and
manages to phone Luella, who was already worried and has contacted Christina to come over. Frank gives them the van registration number, but they are only able to trace the phone call within an eight mile radius. Sebastian suggests they ask Spider for help.
Meanwhile, Mortimer and Mercy put Frank, Billy and Joe into a freezer container, which is going to Hong Kong, and Mortimer intends to have it dumped in the sea! Joe and Billy, rather stupidly, say Frank has a hidden phone in his pocket – so Mercy takes it from him, and now he doesn’t have one, leaving them with no way of getting help!
Christina and Luella drive towards the industrial estate, even though they only know the vague location. Here, they have conversations which mean Luella, and therefore us as an audience, learn a lot more about Christina.
Christina has a son, Jake, and she’s estranged from the boy’s dad. Luella wonders if Frank is the dad. Christina laughs at the very thought of that, or of she and Frank ever being together. Luella then asks why Frank left the force.
It was a case where a child was murdered. They got the murderer, and DNA proved it was him, but the laboratory they used ended up being investigated for tampering with samples, which meant the DNA evidence wasn’t admissible in court. To secure a conviction, Christina planted further evidence, but this was discovered, and Frank, as her superior at the time, decided to take the blame. As it turned out, the murderer was himself killed while on remand, so the trial would never have happened anyway.
Spider contacts Luella and Christina (by hacking into their radio!) and says he can tell from the background sound on Frank’s telephone call that an aircraft flew past, and also the specific type of aircraft and where it is landing, which narrows their search down sufficiently.
Mortimer and Mercy have the angel statue, but they still don’t have whatever they’re really after, and threaten to kill Frank, Billy and Joe. Billy manages to escape, and knocks both Mortimer and Mercy out with bricks! Luella and Christina arrive, with further backup on the way. Joe still intends to arrest Billy despite him saving their lives, but Billy escapes again.
The angel statue, along with the ashes, are returned to Bianca and Anthony. As for what Mortimer and Mercy were after, well the statue originally contained something else as well, which Anthony and Bianca had removed a while ago – “pebbles”. Bianca put them in the bowl of her pet goldfish Julius. The “pebbles” were, in fact, uncut diamonds!
Other highlights from this episode:
Frank and Luella pretend to be a soon-to-be-divorced couple who want to move out, and stage a fake argument, to get Fortes to come to them. When they find out Billy is working for him, Luella has to do that Mrs. Doubtfire cover face in face cream “disguise” so he won’t recognise her.
Sebastian’s alter ego in this episode is “Jamie from the BBC”, claiming to be trying to get contestants got a show called Family Tree – a general knowledge quiz show where families compete while in a treehouse 250 foot in the air – harnassed at all times for health and safety reasons.
We find a little more out about Joe too, that he has a wife, Emma, and she’s pregnant with their first child.
There is some black comedy with Mortimer’s “shoot and first ask questions later” way of doing things. After they’ve just killed Fortes, Mortimer deadpans “Perhaps he didn’t know”.
Frank, Billy and Joe use a frozen lobster to cut their cuffs off, and Frank uses a frozen fish to try to break out. Billy later throws a frozen fish at Mercy!
‘Too Cold For Hell’ was probably the darkest episode yet! The removal van thefts were a typical Shakespeare & Hathaway plot, then it shifted to a much more sinister story. We also learn a lot more about Christina, and the depth of her relationship with Frank, and the incident which led to Frank sacrificing his career for her.
James Dreyfus was very good in a part quite different from what he usually plays!
Overall, I think series two was much stronger than series one! But that often is the case in a second series, as those working on the show know more about the setting, the characters and the elements which work.
Other than the main cast, there are a few recurring characters. Spider, Genevieve Shakespeare, taxi driver Ajay Matharu (Asheq Akhtar) and Billy The Brick.
This series also saw a running theme of doubles and doppelgängers, mostly with Frank and Luella themselves getting some, but also two sets of corrupt sisters in business together (the “psychics” Julienne and Marcia Fortby, Queenie and Ms. King), two sets of twin brothers played by the same actor, (Paul Moriarty as Pavel and Petrov, James Barriscale as Ian and Dave Merchant in ‘The Offered Fallacy’).
With hindsight, an arc in this series has been Christina increasingly being a lot friendlier to Shakespeare and Hathway, and more of an ally to them than she was before, and not only do we find out more about her, there are answers to questions about Frank’s departure from the force.
As with series one though, there hasn’t been much of a “will they, won’t they” with Frank and Luella. For what it’s worth, in interviews Jo Joyner said she is rooting for Frank and Luella to get together, while Mark Benton has said he thinks that might affect the dynamic too much. I can see both points. On one level, it would be wonderful if Luella and Frank got together and got a fairytale ending, on another level, a couple finally getting together is a notorious “jump the shark” moment for TV shows.
Jo Joyner also said she would like a Christmas special! That sounds like a great idea!
I would hope that at least a third series is on the cards. The show seems to be increasingly getting acclaim from critics and the general public. The BBC are also repeating the first series and showing adverts encouraging people to watch the boxset on iPlayer, so it seems they are hoping to build on its success so far.