For Frank Hathaway (Mark Benton) and Luella Shakespeare (Jo Joyner), they are just where we left them, continuing to solve crimes in Stratford-Upon-Avon assisted by
Sebastian Brudenell (Patrick Walshe McBride). Though Frank has a nice new haircut, given to him by former hairdresser Luella!
There is a change this series – Christina Marlowe (Amber Agar) isn’t in. She’s been promoted to special task force, and Joe Keeler (Tomos Eames) has got her old job!
This gives a different dynamic, as while Frank and Christina had a close, if awkward, bond, Frank and Joe just don’t much care for one another, so Joe is a lot less keen on helping out than Christina was.
However, while Joe has taken Christina’s place in one sense, the space left for a new regular character has been taken by, well, a new regular character. P.C Viola Deacon (Yasmin Kaur Barn) who is friends with Sebastian.
But other than that, the series continues as it has done. Expect lots of Shakespeare references!
The rest of this post CONTAINS SPOILERS and revelations!
The opening episode, ‘How The Rogue Roared’, begins with a flashback to eight years ago and Frank’s days on the force. There’s a bank robbery, and the culprit is an old nemesis of Frank’s, Eddie Monmouth (Vic Reeves! But in the end credits he’s referred to as his real name, Jim Moir).
Eddie holds Frank up at gunpoint inside an ambulance, but Frank releases a can of nitros oxide – better known as laughing gas – inside the ambulance! Both Frank and Eddie end up in fits of hysterical laughter, and Frank manages to get the gun from Eddie, so he is arrested.
In the present day, Shakespeare & Hathaway have a case when snooty property developer Henrietta Bolingbroke (Josette Simon) isn’t happy about “a seedy gambling den” (i.e., a bingo hall), and wants them to investigate it.
The bingo hall is called Lucky’s Hall, managed by the rather smarmy Gareth “Lucky” Green (Nathan Harmer). Regular attendees there are Viola, and a glittery pink hat
wearing old lady named Bo Quickly (Marlene Sidaway) who has a flask full of whiskey covered in cat pictures. People working there include a cheesy bingo caller in a gaudy jacket Joseph JJ Jaques (Ted Robbins), bimboish assistant manager Megan Poins (Me’Sha Bryan) and Eddie, who is working as a caretaker.
Frank is immediately suspicious of Eddie, and they have a confrontation. Frank tells Eddie how his crimes ruined lives, Eddie says he’s paid for that, not least that his life was ruined too, his wife left him and he hasn’t seen or heard from his daughter for the majority for her life, and says he’s left a live a crime behind.
Luella spots Lucky and Henrietta talking in a car together. Soon after, Lucky is murdered. Henrietta comes to the office the next day, wondering if Shakespeare & Hathway had Lucky bumped off, saying that isn’t what she wanted and she “won’t be billed for it!”. She says what she and Lucky were talking about was Lucky selling the bingo hall to her, but the contract has now gone missing.
This leads to a minor conflict with Frank and Luella. Frank is convinced Eddie is the culprit and wants to focus on nailing him, while Luella thinks they should be concentrating on finding the contract.
The investigations unearth a few things. Eddie and JJ were in the same prison at the same time. JJ was in for assualting a baliff, as he had a lot of debts due to gambling. Megan has also been embezzling, the accounts are filled with fake invoices, charging for things the hall doesn’t have from companies which don’t exist, and pocketing the profits from there. Luella confronts Megan on this, and she admits it, but claims JJ bullied her into it.
Frank thinks he’s caught Eddie in the act of cracking the safe, but he is doing so a bit like Parker in Thunderbirds used to. Basically, JJ and the Joe are making use of Eddie’s skills to get the safe open, as the combination to it died along with Lucky. Inside the safe turns out to be… nothing!
However, later Joe comes in to arrest Eddie for Lucky’s murder, and Eddie confesses right away! Far from being pleased, Frank is now unsure if Eddie is the culprit after all. They know the murder weapon was a trophy, and Sebastian goes to Bo’s house. She has a lot of bingo trophies – and one of them is bloodstained. Bo isn’t the killer though. She found the trophy in a skip, saying Megan dumped it.
Yep, Megan seeming like a bimbo and claiming to be manipulated into commiting fraud was all an act. She was in fact the mastermind of the whole thing. If we remember, JJ had debts, and Megan found a way of getting him out of it. She also “took care” of the problem of Lucky finding out about it, by braining him with a trophy!
The (bloodstained) contract is found – after a demand for 100 grand for it’s return, another money making scheme by Megan before she is caught. But the regular customers of Lucky’s Hall will most likely buy the bingo hall, so it won’t end up as yet another part of Henrietta’s empire.
The episode ends with Frank and Eddie having a heart to heart. Frank says he sort of misses the old days when it was “black and white” for them – Eddie was a crook, Frank was a cop. But, in this case their roles in it were a bit more complicated. Frank was a private investigator, and Eddie was perverting the course of justice. OK, there was a bit more to it than that this time. Both Luella and Joe pointed out in this episode, Frank’s obsession with past grudges clouded his judgement in this case, and Eddie was prepared to take the fall for Megan. Eddie says the reason he did it was that Megan is about the same age as his daughter, and on some level it was trying to, in his mind, make up for the fact he wasn’t in his daughter’s life. Frank gives Eddie the email address of Eddie’s daughter, so now they can have some contact at least and take it from there.
Highlights from this episode for me:
Eddie using a Henry Hoover.
Luella mentions a new cafe that has opened – called Hamlet and Eggs! Reminded me of that cake place in The Simpsons called Much Ado About Muffins.
Frank and Luella use fake names in this that are genderflipped versions of their real names. Luella calls herself “Fran”, and Frank calls himself “Lou”.
Episode two, ‘See Thyself, Devil’ was about elderly heavy metal singer Tony King (David Schofield). He was the frontman of metal band Caliban’s Claw, later described by Frank as “the hardest rocking band to come out of the West Midlands!”
Tony’s rockstar days were a long time ago, and he now has a cider farm. He’s out driving his tractor, and gets off when he sees a strange demonic figure on the grounds. The tractor then almost runs him over, but his daughter Grace Reagan (Kristin Atherton) stops the tractor, telling Tony he left the handbrake on. But Tony is convinced he saw the Devil! “The Dark Lord, here for his bargain!”
He goes to see Shakespeare & Hathaway. Frank recognises him, but Luella doesn’t. Tony tells them he made a deal with the Devil, all of Caliban’s Claw sold their souls for fame and fortune, in a contract signed in blood! We later see it, and it is signed in blood, but it’s just a scrappy bit of paper. Tony says that it was seen as a bit of a joke at the time, and was a product of their druggy rockstar excess. But now he feels the Devil really is after him! He later claims to see the demon again, saying it tried to “kebab” him with a pitchfork – and we do see the pitchfork sticking in his chair!
The drummer from Calbian’s Claw, Ricky Cornwall, died in an accident (very Spinal Tap!), and the third member, Earl Albany (Sean Connoly) now does “hymns instead of headbanging”, and became a vicar!
Luella spots semi-regular character Gloria Fonteyn (Roberta Taylor) and Grace talking to Earl at the church. She decides she must ask Gloria about that, and this makes this episode quite significant, as we discover a lot of things about Gloria’s past. Caliban’s Claw drummer, Ricky Cornwall, was Gloria’s fiance – he proposed to her on the night he died! The roadie, Bushy, later died of an overdose. But Gloria doesn’t believe in curses, reasoning that death is a part of life. Ricky and Bushy’s lives may have been unneccessarily cut short, but “it’s life, not black magic”.
Soon, there is yet another death. The demon pops up behind the pulpit in Earl’s church, and terrified Earl runs out into the road, getting run over by a bus.
Frank and Luella suspect Grace might have something to do with all this, as she has secretly been going to a solicitors to get the farm off her dad. Grace admits this, but says it’s because she wants the farm to be a success. Tony is neglecting it, and wasting all their money on his past glories and his doomed attempts at a solo career.
However, the culprit is Tony’s new drummer Cliff Curan (Ned Derrington), who it turns out was Bushy’s son. Bushy blamed himself for Ricky’s death, and Cliff blamed Tony for Bushy’s death. Cliff mostly intended to frighten Tony more than anything and never wanted anyone to die, but it’s fair to say he took things way too far.
By the end, Tony decides it is for the best if Grace takes over ownership of the farm after all.
Sebastian’s disguise was Yorick, a journalist for a rock music magazine. Sebastians accent was… well, it seemed like a terrible mash-up of German, Norweigan and Eastern European. But he looked good as a goth!
Tony was probably not related to the King sisters from ‘Nothing Will Come Of Nothing’ in series 2, as King is a very common surname, but it might have been fun if he was.
Gloria, a bit like a talking head on a music documentary, says this about Tony: “I always thought the great tragedy of the band is that they wouldn’t have got anywhere if it wasn’t for him, and they could have been so successful if it wasn’t for him”.
Another development for Gloria’s character is that she has been like an aunt to Grace, and something of a mother figure too. Grace’s biological mother “traded Dad in for another rocker in L.A.” and more or less abandoned Grace.
At the end, Gloria and Tony reminisce about a trip to Amsterdam.
Gloria’s rock chick past made me think of Marsha Klein from Spaced (who was played by Julia Deakin, who plays Luella’s mum in this series!). Marsha even married a drummer in a rock band, though it didn’t exactly work out too well – he ran her over leading to her promising athletic career ending, introduced her to alcohol leading to her becoming an alcoholic, gave her “a rare form of syphilis” and walked out on her, leaving her to bring up their daughter Amber on her own!
Frank wears his old Caliban’s Claw T-shirt to come and investigate Tony’s case!
He’s pleased to find an ultra-rare Japanese import vinyl record of the band at Tony’s house. He says if you play it backwards you’re suppose to hear a secret Satanic message. He does, and says it sounds like “Goat head! Demon man!”. Luella says, quite rightly, that it just as much sounds like “Toasted cheese and ham!”. It’s strange to think that such things were a real moral panic, and in fact there was a real court case involving heavy metal band Judas Priest, with the frontman Rob Halford making a very similar point that Luella makes, that songs and speech played backwards can sound like almost anything.
There was also the pretentious Michelle Oswald (Ginny Holder), who was working as Tony’s P.R. Her alibi for where she was when the tractor incident was happening was
“I was doing Bikram yoga in the bathroom”. She was secretly going off to snog Cliff, and only cared about the publicity all the deaths and stories of curses would generate.
Viola questions whether Tony has a permit to hold his solo rock concert. Tony goes all “rock and roll doesn’t have permits”, “You don’t get a permit for a volcano, you don’t get a permit for a T-Rex!”. Viola replies “You would need a DWA licence for a T-Rex, well you would for any dinosaur I think”.
‘The Sticking Place’ was about pensioners who were to be forced off their allotment. Luella speculated they may be growing cannabis there. They found no evidence of
it, though they did have some “extra special” chocolate brownies…
Gerald Fitzallan (Steve John Shepherd) wanted to dig the allotments up to make way for a guest house. But, Frank wondered, why build it on the allotments when there were 38 empty acres?
Gerald received a letter, which, after reading, he threw in a fire. Sebastian, disguised as a chimney sweep, managed to rescue a piece of the letter, which read “Bentley don’t be a”. Then Gerald was seen driving a bulldozer… and being dead at the wheel! He had been poisoned with hemlock, which grew around the allotment area. The shocking news just kept coming, as it was discovered that Gerald Fitzallan had been dead for four years. The man that had just been found dead on the bulldozer had stolen his indentity, and his real name was Richard Rathbone.
Rathbone was a notorious robber, behind an infamous bullion raid at Bentley Square (which explains the burnt letter). There was another member, who turned out to be
the lady of the manor, Lady Mortimer (Sara Stewart), previously known as interior designer Tatiana Gervais before she married Lord Mortimer. And before that she
was known as Tracy Jarvis, a blacksmith’s daughter who worked as a croupier at a casino. She was the fifth member of the heist, the getaway driver, and basically like Grampa Simpson with the crooked ’50s gameshow he was on, she ratted on everybody and got off scot free. She kept her share of the gold too. She told Rathbone it was buried under the allotments, but that was a lie. Another Simpsons reference here, but it’s like all that stuff about pirates burying treasure. In real life they were more likely to, as a pirate in The Simpsons suggests, instead of burying the treasure “use it to buy things, things we like”. In this case though, as a blacksmith’s daughter, Lady Mortimer knew how to melt gold down.
I did guess Lady Mortimer’s secret, due to the episode beginning with her knowing Rathbone and being somewhat less than pleased to see him, plus comments about how she
wasn’t born into money, and also the fact they kept saying they were looking for a fifth man – that’s kind of a big clue it will turn out to be a woman. However, Lady Mortimer wasn’t the killer. The Butler Did It! Chamberlain the butler poisoned Rathbone, and in hindsight it was signposted, as he was spotted adding something to his drink!
I quite liked that they pulled that twist, not least that “the butler did it” is what TV Tropes call a “Dead Unicorn” – i.e a “dead horse” that never really existed! “The butler did it” isn’t something which has actually happened very often in murder mystery novels, but it is something which has been referenced and parodied as a cliche very, very often. Either way, I like the twist here.
Other highlights from this episode:
Dolly Tearsheet (Carol MacReady), who was in fact a professor who made herbal teas and remedies.
Luella accidentally running over a scarecrow.
‘The Serpent’s Tooth’ has Yasmin bring in her friend Poonam Raja (Alexandra D’Sa) who wants Shakespeare & Hathway to investigate the death of her uni friend Haroon
Malik (Varun Raj). He was “crushed by falling carpets!”. Haroon had got a job at a carpet warehouse which was owned by Mr. Raja (Madhav Sharma), Poonam’s dad. Poonam
asked Haroon to keep an eye on her dad, as she has lost touch with him four years ago. She had been worried about his declining health, and felt she and her two sisters should take on more responsibility for it, but Mr. Raja thought that Poonam was attempting to take the company from him, and his two elder daughters sided with him and Poonam was forced out.
Haroon sent Poonam a text message. “It’s not what you think Your Dad’s safe Poonam”. Haroon also had a book of Shakespeare quotations, which was a gift with an inscription on it signed “P”. But the Raja sisters all have names beginning with P, the other two are called Parthi and Pia.
While looking around the Raja household, Luella runs into Mr. Raja, who is angry with them and throws both Luella and Frank out. However, Luella meets Mr. Raja just a
couple of days later and he doesn’t recognise her. Sadly, it seems he has dementia. He thinks his daughters are still in school, and that his wife is still alive.
The text message is a case of the meaning not being most obvious one. “Safe” wasn’t referring to being out of danger, it was referring to a locked cabinet for storing valuables. And “Poonam” was the security code, that is if you spell the word Poonam on a keypad with letters on as well as numbers, it would be 766626.
The killer was Parthi, who did it partly due to the fact that she fancied Haroon and he didn’t fancy her (she was the “P” who gave him the book), and partly because he had
discovered that the company were closing down their stores to sell stock at knock-off prices and forging invoices. She killed him by padlocking the fire exits and driving a forklift to snap a chain and crush him with rolled up carpets!
Sebastian and Poonam use personas of Cornelius, a junior doctor who is “annoyed he’s been bought to [the carpet warehouse] on his day off”, and Miranda, “his social climbing wife who’s very house-proud”.
This episode has a King Lear influence, the basic plot of an old man who is losing ability to be in charge due to his advancing age, mistrusting his good, youngest daughter who only wanted what was best for him (Cordelia/Poonam) and foolishly siding with his evil older daughters who want power (Goneril and Reagan/Parthi and Pia). King Lear/Mr. Raja’s mental state declines to the point where he isn’t fully aware of what’s going on. However, Cordlia/Poonam has always been her father’s true favourite, and Goneril/Parthi in particular was always deeply jealous of that. Oddly enough, and intentionally or not, this version is actually closer to the original myth of King Leir which Shakespeare’s play was based on. Shakespeare gives it a tragic ending, but in the myth King Leir regains his power and passes his land on to Cordelia, which is more or less what happens here for Mr. Raja and Poonam.
There are also references to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a comany called Puck Consultants, and some carpet warehouse workers are laughting about something which
finished with a bloke being chased off by a bear, a nod to the “Exit, persued by a bear” stage direction in The Winter’s Tale.
‘Thy Fury Spent’ begins with a museum opening a Shakespeare exhibition which Frank and Luella are attending. It gets gatecrashed by protesters in white robes and red masks, who call themselves the Herstorians. Luella’s reaction is “Hashtag What the Hell?!”. The next day, the museum owner, stuffy, effete Sir Tim Forbes-Allen (Simon Williams) comes to Shakespeare & Hathway’s office, telling them the museum curator Lucien Shaw (Aaron Anthony) has gone missing.
Lucien is eventually found in a crate in the basement, alive. The Herstorians are responsible, having written “Idiot Man” in Latin on the crate, and the words “Payback
Time” on his back in marker pen – which they were going to tattoo on him!
Things get more sinister from there, as Sir. Tim is found stabbed to death with a pair of scissors! His widow, Lady Athena Forbes-Allen (Diana Hardcastle) doesn’t seem too bothered. She tells Frank and Luella that “It’s common knowledge ours was a marriage of convienience. He was cultured, I was wealthy”.
Dr. Helen Middleton (Josie Lawrence), an academic who openly slated the museum and Tim makes a statement outside the museum confessing to his murder. But Luella and
Frank correctly assume that it’s false. Luella says “Was that a confession or a plug for her new book?”. Frank replies “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. As he later puts it, Helen is “an insufferable, self-promoting narcissist, but she isn’t a killer”.
Lucien then turns up as Shakespeare & Hathaway’s office. He wants them to find a letter he sent Tim – it was a love letter! He and Tim were having an affair. Athena knew about it too. Tim had plenty of affairs, and she had plenty of affairs too.
Sebastian discovers that Jasra Hatoum (Chandeep Uppal), who works at the museum, is a member of the Herstorians. When Frank and Luella question her, she says she is in fact the leader. But she says they didn’t kill Tim, they know nothing about any letter or even that Tim and Lucien were lovers. Frank and Luella probably shouldn’t have let them get away scot free with what they did to Lucien to be honest, but I suppose the murder storyline is coming to a head.
Lucien goes missing again, and they find a note sent to him telling him to come and collect the letter. Luella recognises the handwriting as Athena’s. They get to her house, and Lucien is holding her at knifepoint – well, with Tim’s letter opener. But he isn’t the killer, it’s Athena! She was planning to make Lucien eat all of Tim’s love letters (“Washed down with Tim’s favourite red, I’m not a monster” she says). She did care about Tim having an affair after all. It’s true that both she and Tim had multiple affairs, but the “rules” were that was alright as long as neither of them fell in love and they stayed in the marriage. Tim actually fell in love with Lucien, and he wanted to leave her to be with him. She also would quite like Lucien to kill her and for him to get a life sentence in prison for it, but Luella and Frank persuade Lucien not to.
The episode ends with a mention that Lady Macbeth is the only statue of a woman in Stratford – and she’s a fictional character made up by Shakespeare, which says a lot.
Josie Lawrence and Diana Hardcastle get to deliver some lines in very acidic way! From Athena complaining that the museum opening is serving Processco instead of champagne, Helen calling the museum a “glorfied gift shop”. Athena has a particularly bitchy one, when she says to Luella, who is wearing a yellow scarf, “Marriage is like yellow. Doesn’t suit everyone!”.
Frank eats a banana he found in Lucien’s bag while he was missing!
Sebastian mentions going undercover at a cat cafe – not a pleasant task for him, as he seems to be allergic to cats! The cats are named after Shakespearean actors like Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh.
‘Reputation, Reputation, Reputation’ sees Luella revisiting the world of her old job, hairdressing, and some former aquaintances from then!
Odette Dixon (Jacqueline Boatswain), who’s very well put together but extremely stuck-up, is the owner of the salon Hair By O, comes in after her salon has been burned down, leaving one of her stylists, Joelle, injured. The salon has been targetted for months, and Odette is convinced it is her arch rival and former business partner Isobel Harris (Sally Lindsay). Luella has met both Odette and Isobel before – she didn’t get on with Odette, but she did get on with Isobel. She books an appointment at Isobel’s salon, Hair Ado, and finds out that Isobel dislikes Odette just as much as Odette dislikes her, but nothing concrete that proves Isobel is the culprit. Ruby Montano (Eleanor Fanyinka) used to work at Hair By O, but now works art Hair Ado. She was a friend of Joelle, and her ex-fiance was dopey Cassius Bennett (Tej Obano), who still works at Hair By O.
It transpires that Joelle wasn’t popular at Odette’s salon. There’s a social media post of Odette with Cassius and full-of-himself stylist Winston Hoyte (Don Gilet) calling themselves the “Friday Night Dream Team”. Joelle had replied saying “Thanks for the invite”, and Winston replied to her “When you deserve one, we’ll invite you!”, which was liked by Odette, Cassius… and Winston himself!
Odette also seems more concerned with the insurance money than Joelle ending up in a coma. However, when Joelle dies, Odette angrily comes into Isobel’s salon and accusses her of murder.
Both Hair By O and Hair Ado are competing in the Graziano hairdressing awards. Here, a lot of things come out. Isobel had indeed been targetting Hair By O for months, stealing sandwich boards, making massive orders that it didn’t need, and throwing a stink bomb in it. Winston has been secretly going out with Isobel and having private clients on the side, something Odette forbids. Cassius had dumped Ruby for Odette – and this is the key to case. Joelle wasn’t supposed to be there on the morning of the fire, Cassius was.
Ruby is the killer, and, distraught at killing her best friend instead of killing her ex-fiance, she lures Cassius to a warehouse, lying that she’s pregnant with his kid, and has a second go at killing him by locking him in a burning building. However, Frank and Luella stop her in time.
Something I found out in this episode is that there are “open 4s and closed 4s” – like on a computer/laptop keyboard it tends to be a closed 4, but with calculators and digital clocks it tends to be an open 4 (with a gap at the top). In handwriting most people, like Odette, favour an open 4. But Isobel writes her with a closed 4. Why this matters in this episode is that Isobel can forge Odette’s signature accurately (which she does for the fake order) but overlooks the difference in how they write 4s.
Joelle was blackmailing Odette, Winston, Cassius and Isobel. Whether this is what made her unpopular in the first place or whether this was her reaction to the Hair By O’s nasty, cliquey treatment of her is unclear.
When finding out Isobel’s alibi for the fire was that she was having Botox, Odette says “Well, Little Miss Au Naturel, holding back the hands of time with artificial enhancements!”. Of course, Odette’s in no position to throw stones. She gets Botox as well, it’s not “good genes” as she claims!
Luella and Sebastian both go undercover as customers Hair Ado, both ending up with overdone perms, with Sebastian being so embarrassed he keeps it hidden under a
beanie hat for most of the episode!
Isobel’s salon, Hair Ado, offers organic Processco, and when Sebastian asks for a fresh juice he is served with a blendered spinich and beetroot juice, served with a stick of celery some cucumber. And, judging by Sebastian’s reaction, it doesn’t taste or smell any better than it looks or sounds!
I liked Luella’s glittery cherry brooch, and Isobel’s sun and moon earrings and necklace.
The opening scene of the burning hair salon with the live wire crackling and electric sparks flying everywhere was quite well done!
At the end, as a peace offering, Odette comes into Hair Ado with a present – it’s a cactus! A bit of self-deprecation due to her being “prickly”.
When she was a trainee hairdresser, Luella had a regular customer who she liked, a sweet old lady called Mrs. Peaseblossom. One day, Mrs. Peaseblossom passed away under the dryer. Far from being sympathetic to Luella, the other hairdressers dubbed her “The Angel of Death” for a while!
The title of the episode is a quote from Shakepeare’s Othello, and Cassius is named after Cassio, a character in that play.
This episode is notable for looking a lot like a soap opera crossover, with three of the main guest stars playing regular characters in three different soaps. Jacqueline Boatswain played Simone Loveday in Hollyoaks, Sally Lindsay played Shelley Unwin in Coronation Street, and Don Gilet played Lucas Johnson in Eastenders. If you count Holby City as a soap, then Eleanor Fanyinka played Morven Shreve for a few series, and Tej Obano played a nurse in a couple of episodes of Eastenders, so technically it was a full guest cast of ex-soap actors!
I’m a bit of a Jacqueline Boatswain stan, so I liked this episode a lot.
In ‘Best Beware My Sting’, eco-warriors Mortal Coil break into energy firm Minola Energy. There was an oil spill Minonla energy were responsible for, and now the owner Gordon Minola (William Travis) is trying to get a fracking contract. Mortal Coil break into Minola Energy firm, ransack and grafitti the place. Security guards come in, and catch one of the activists. Awkwardly, it’s Gordon’s daughter Kate (Caitlin Drabble)!
Gordon hires Shakespeare & Hathaway to keep an eye on Kate, who he is keeping in the house and confiscating her phone and computers (technically she can leave, but if she does he will persue a prosecution!). Gordon also wants Frank and Luella to make sure the wedding of his younger daughter Bianca (Lucy Pearson) passes without incident, as he thinks Mortal Coil will try to cause problems there.
The wedding goes fine, but the horse and carriage turns up to the reception late – and without the coachman, the bride or the groom! Just a ransom note saying they have taken Bianca and her new husband Lucas De Boulay (Rupert Lazarus) captive!
Gordon is willing to pay the ransom, but Bianca escapes and hitches a ride back home. She gives a description of one of her attackers, and it’s very like Curtis Price (Bhav Joshi), the leader of Mortal Coil. Then Lucas is found stabbed to death! Case closed it seems, but Kate then wants Frank and Luella to help prove Curtis is innocent!
They find evidence Curtis wasn’t in the area at the time Lucas died, and also CCTV footage of Bianca walking around in a change of clothes after she had been taken, but before she “escaped” – and then she was still wearing her wedding dress. Bianca in fact was behind the whole thing. Kate says the police are looking for more evidence in the woods, which is a set-up for Frank and Luella to catch her in the act of digging evidence up.
Bianca, frankly, really is an evil, hateful little bitch! She only married Lucas for his money, she murdered him because with him dead and she stands to inherit all of the money. She framed Curtis for the murder so that Mortal Coil would be discredited and “Daddy” would get his fracking contract. Then, when caught Bianca tries to blame it all on her ex! Everyone sees right through it though.
Speaking of her ex, Rufus Hortensio (Timothy Renouf) was an accomplice, but no way was he the boss of the operation! He was however a slimy, poncey prick who worked for Gordon’s company and was a massive suck-up to him.
Kate ends up working for Minola Energy in the end – as Gordon has promised to “go green!”.
Sebastian’s alter ego in this episode is Basil, a green activist. I’m sure the herb-like name was an intentional pun!
Gordon wonders what he’ll tell the reception after getting the ransom note – Luella points out that they’re now so drunk he can tell them whatever he likes!
What was interesting about this episode for me was that both Kate and Bianca played “roles”. Bianca played the victim, and Kate played up to the image of a spoiled brat. But in reality, well in some ways it was the other way round – Gordon admitted at the end that he’d indulged Bianca too much, and through most of the episode his treatment of Kate seemed harsh. But there was also more to them than those two roles – Bianca was far more devious and heartless than your average spoiled brat, and Kate worked out Frank and Luella were private investigators, managed to outsmart both of them a couple of times, she was the first to spot how odd it was that nobody seemed to care about Lucas’ death.
‘All That Glisters’ was of podcasts and crosswords.
Emilia Belmont (Daisy Badger), who has a podcast where she investigates cold cases, decides to do one about the mysterious death of her mother Leah. Apparently she crashed her car in a ditch when Emilia was six.
It involves a group of enigmatologists – people who set crosswords. One is Anthony Belmont (David Acton), Emilia’s father who sets the crossword for the local newspaper.
There are a number of clues and riddles in this episode, such as “Follow the Queen” – meaning the Queen in a newspaper chess game – follow the moves the Queen makes
on the chessboard and cross reference that with a grid on a map of the town. Then there are postcards with a word on each spelling a message to “Seek Out My Legacy”, and the pictures being very like an Only Connect picture clues question, showing a golden eagle, a silver birch, a bronze shield and a lead statue. But that’s just a red herring, as it’s not the pictures that are important, but the postmarks. Duckinfield Station – i.e the duck in a field being the old picture for the sign of the Mucky Mallard pub, Gun Hill referring to a painting in the pub – and so it goes on. It all leads to a ring in a pawn shop. They mention that the shop was offered a lot of money to keep the ring rather than sell it, because it would hardly be a safe bet that nobody would have bought the ring in all those years. Of course, the pawn shop itself could quite easily have gone out of business in those years too, but hey.
Anyway, the BIG TWIST is that Leah was never dead at all, she just left one night, and Anthony invented the story to spare Emilia’s feelings, which… was a terrible idea! OK, I know that her mother abandoning her wouldn’t exactly be a pleasant thing to deal with, but surely it’s better than thinking her mother is dead, and getting suspicious that her dad murdered her. Even more so that this all leads to Emilia pushing Anthony, and accidentally killing him. Frank and Luella manage to track Leah down and reunite her with Emilia in the end, so, yeah. That’s that.
I wasn’t too keen on this episode, but I don’t like crypric crosswords, so perhaps this one was just never going to be for me.
Sebastian’s disguise is a birdwatcher with a thermos flask.
In ‘O Thou Invisible Spirit of Wine’ there are suspicions that a pub is haunted! Cue full moon, fog and flicking lights!
Pub landlady Melanie Montague (Ella Kenion) thinks that her pub, the Barchester Arms is haunted by Old Lil, her great, great grandmother Lilian Montague. An antique photo of her has been stolen. Ghost hunter Penelope Lawrence (Rosie Jones) has come to investigate too, with lots of weird equipment and an “operations centre” (an old caravan). There is a legend about Old Lil. The story goes that 100 years ago she won ownership of the pub and land fair and square, but was murdered by the Capulet family, the current owners of the land. The pub’s lease is due to expire and then it will belong to the Capulet family.
The Capulets are property developers who own a family business, the Capulet Group, which has a signet ring with the family crest on it. Stephen Capulet (Richard Lintern) very much wants the Barchester Arms to be part of their empire.
It transpires that Penelope has a history of faking evidence of paranormal activity, and she leaves an answerphone message confessing to stealing Old Lil’s photo “for the story”, but she then says she’s found something important. However, then it sounds like she’s in trouble. Frank and Luella go to her van, and find that she has been murdered!
What you might have noticed is that the surnames in this episode, Montague and Capulet are the surnames of Romeo and Juliet respectively. We have rival families, but where are the starcrossed lovers? In this case, they are both men! Ben Montague (Joe Gaminara), Melanie’s son and the chef of the Barchester Arms, and Chris Capulet (Josh Collins), Stephen’s son who works for the Capulet Group. Ben and Chris have secretly seeing each other for a while, but, just as in Romeo and Juliet the intense rivalry between their families means they can’t be together publicly.
It all gets wrapped up neatly. What Penelope discovered was evidence that there was some truth to the legend of Old Lil owning the pub, Stephen found out about this and killed her. The contract from all those years ago is hidden in the pub fireplace. I loved how it was a rolled up scroll with a wax seal, because it reminded me of being back in school History class where we had to make our own Magna Carta and we all rolled it up into a scroll and used teabags to stain it to make it look old.
Unlike Romeo and Juliet, Ben and Chris do end up happily together and their families make up too. I wish that when that moment happened that Ben and Chris had kissed though, rather than just held hands and hugged.
Frank was in a heavy metal band at school, called Staliyon! We knew he was a heavy metal fan in ‘See Thyself, Devil’.
Luella claims to have seen a ghost – her aunt’s Bichon Frise dog, which she saw in the park the day AFTER it died. Sebastian sees the obvious answer to that: “You didn’t think that maybe it was just another Bichon Frise?”.
Sebastian’s persona in this episode is a cameraman with a false beard and…, well I think it was supposed to be Welsh accent….
I loved the parts where Frank and Luella were secretly investigating, and Penelope, the Montagues and Sebastian took the effects of it to be evidence of ghosts! Frank and Luella both knocked stuff over, which was taken to mean there was a poltergeist, and when outside Frank grabbed a wire which caused the lights to flicker inside!
It’s mentioned that Ben appeared on a TV show called “Cake Off“. I see what they did there!
Penelope Lawrence was named after Friar Lawrence, a character in Romeo and Juliet.
Yasmin says, of D.S. Keeler: “The man looks like he’s sucked a lemon at the best of times, but you should see him when he’s called out of bed in the night!”
This was my favourite episode this series, I thought it was very funny, I liked the pub ghost story and it was a creative way to do the Romeo and Juliet story. I have to admit a large part of my appreciation of this episode was that Joe Gamina was so gorgeous and handsome and Josh Collins so dashing and cute, even more so that they were playing boyfriends.
The final episode, ‘Teach Me, Dear Creature’ is the closest we’ve had to a “Sebastian episode” so far! Sebastian dreams of playing Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and his former roommate from when he was at RADA, Rory Harrison (Ed Brody) is doing just that! When he meets him again with Luella, Rory also not-so-casually mentions American success (“L.A. can get a bit crazy sometimes”) and Luella is starstruck (“A real actor!”). Frank also wonders why Sebastian hasn’t told them about his “claim to fame” (i.e knowing Rory) and Luella asks “Was he like totally amazing when you were at RADA?”). You can’t blame Sebastian for being a little envious.
But Shakespeare & Hathaway as usual have a case. Jessica Duke (Tamzin Outhwaite) comes to them, saying she is concerned that her 16-year-old son Charlie (Gus Barry)
might have done something illegal. “He won’t get into Oxbridge with a criminal record, will he?”. Her 19-year-old daughter Isabella (Hannah Saxby) is about to go to Oxford University.
Jessica tracks her children’s movements and internet search history, and found Charlie has been searching on the internet about what prison is like and how to destroy a phone.
Both Charlie and Isabella attended Syracruse Tuition Centre which tries to improve GCSE and A Level results (“Classes evenings and weekends – poor kids!” remarks Luella.)
Upon investigation, Frank and Luella find that Charlie has been chatting online to someone called Cassie, and the only Cassie they can find at Syracruse is the English
teacher Cassie Dorcas (Niamh McGrady).
Rory asks to lodge with Sebastian after his landlady comes onto him, and in return for putting a roof over his head, Sebastian asks Rory to help with Shakespeare & Hathaway’s latest case. Cassie is a big fan of Rory’s, so he asks to come to do a talk at their school. Sebastian’s alter ego is an American agent named Andrew Ticklebus!
Sebastian and Rory later go to Cassie’s house, and find she has been murdered – literally stabbed in the back! Rory finds this hard to handle, but Sebastian has seen this sort of thing before so is much calmer. It turns out that Cassie had reported a fraud just a few hours before she was killed, and Sebastian guesses she must have been having a cup of tea with the fraudster, as there are two cups of still warm tea, so the time from her reporting a fraud, having a cup with someone and being stabbed to death can’t have been very long.
Frank and Luella think that Charlie and Cassie were seeing each other, as Charlie was a pupil in one of her classes. But Charlie denies that there was anything going on between them.
Syracruse Maths teacher Amit Azim (Harki Bhambra) is famous for all his pupils getting A Stars, but he didn’t get on with Cassie, and Frank spots him frantically shredding paperwork. It was because he was getting A Level papers a year in advance! That’s why his pupils all got perfect scores.
On an empty theatre stage there is an amusing, if rather silly, fight between Rory (armed with stage sword), and Amit (armed with a stage spear).
Amit admits to fraud, though he doesn’t regret it particularly, saying that “fudging the figures, working the system” is rampant anyway even if it doesn’t go as far into actual fraud as he did, but he says he didn’t kill Cassie, and in fact has an alibi – he was giving a talk to other teachers at the time of her death.
Isabella had been babysitting for a woman named Susan Frobisher – who sets exam questions! Isabella stole the exam questions a year in advance, and that’s why she
got such good grades. She gave a copy of the maths questions to Amit. Cassie discovered this, and told Charlie. She mainly told him because she thought that Isabella and Amit were seeing each other, which is a bit ironic, as Shakespeare & Hathaway later made a similar mistake in thinking Charlie and Cassie were seeing each other. Anyway, Charlie told Isabella, who told Jessica. Isabella was worried that she would lose her place in Oxford and end up in prison.
Jessica met Cassie for a cup of tea to discuss it, and tried to bribe Cassie to keep quiet. Cassie refused, so Jessica killed her!
As Luella points out, Jessica was a “tiger mother”, a strict, authoritarian parent who relentlessly pushed her children to study hard at the expense of everything else in order to be high achievers in school, and in the long run with their careers and their place in the world. Whatever your position is on that, literally murdering somebody is definitely taking that too far! In Jessica’s case anyway, it’s likely that is what might have driven Isabella to cheat in the first place, and it doesn’t look like it did Charlie’s self-esteem much good. And it turned out all Charlie was trying to do was protect his sister.
Sebastian gets to be Rory’s understudy at the end – so while he still might still be second to Rory, he finally realises his dream of playing Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also gets a chance to go on a two year world tour with the Royal Shakespeare Company playing a minor part, but he turns it down to stay and work with Shakespeare & Hathway. Probably a good thing too, given the fact that we’re in a global pandemic now!
Sebastian’s one trophy is an award for second place – of course, Rory was first place!
Sebastian says he knows about “skeletons in the closet” that Rory has – though it mainly seems to be a Danish fungal cream advert. (Which probably would be easily found “Before They Were Famous” style anyway, but whatever.)
While she was starstruck on meeting Rory, after meeting him and knowing him a few days, Luella finds him a bit up himself.
Frank and Luella go undercover at Syracruse, making up the fake backstory as they go along, and end up being Brian and Barbara, parents to 15-year-old quads!
Frank likes chilli pork scratchings!
Frank at one point says “See you next Tuesday!”. In context, it makes perfect sense, (he’s booking a meeting for the following week with Amit) but I think that might have been getting crap past the radar…
Series three of Shakespeare & Hathaway was one which ran smoothly, and is arguably the strongest to date.
Joe says Christina Marlowe won’t be back “anytime soon”, which I took to mean that she might be back for a one episode guest appearance or something, but there are no plans for her to return at the moment. Joe and Yasmin are both fine, but even combined they don’t completely fill the gap that’s left by Christina’s abscence.
I’ve never been a “shipper” type, but I am increasingly wanting Frank and Luella to get together properly! Although it has been said that it won’t be done, but they basically seem like a couple already.
Having said all that, I don’t think I want anything to change much with Shakespeare & Hathaway! I am pleased with it being commissioned for another series, whenever it turns up, and the fun, nice tone it has plus it being very watchable is something which we should keep, not least with how extremely tough times are at the moment.