Mark Bento and Jo Joyner as Shakespeare and Hathaway - Private Investigators

We love a bit of daytime TV here at Shouting at the Telly; sitting down with a chocolate Hob-Nob to watch Countdown; a Garibaldi during Tipping Point and a Jammy Dodger watching Bargain Hunt.  Ok, we actually like biscuits more than daytime TV, but just as a game of village cricket is something nice to watch when having a picnic on a summers day, so daytime TV is the perfect accompaniment to a biscuit and a cup of tea.  (FYI I am writing this whilst eating a biscuit.  I think I many have a problem).

Daytime dramas are a funny beast.  They fall into 2 categories; soaps and….errr, non-soaps.  You have your soaps;  Neighbours, Home and Away’s and Doctors…and then then rest.  The 2:15 slot on BBC One has thrown up some interesting fayre.  The Fast Show’s Mark Williams plays Father Brown which is sort of Agatha Christie meets Father Ted (not to be confused with Father Dowling which starred Richie Cunningham’s dad from Happy Days).  The latest offering is Shakespeare and Hathaway – Private Investigators.  The premise of this is we have two investigators (of the private nature) called Luella Shakespeare (Jo Joyner) and Frank Hathaway (Mark Benton) who are based in (wait for this) ….Stratford-Upon-Avon!  What are the chances of that happening!  (Apparently the original idea was to have two private investigators Luella George and Frank Stephenson and it was to be based in Darlington.  They would mainly investigate “train related murders” but the commissioners thought that that may be “a little too niche”).

So, this is what we learned from the episode which we watched:

  • There is a lot of Stratford in it. This could do for Stratford’s tourist industry what Inspector Morse did for Oxford.
  • They have a nice office. They are based in a Tudor building and have even gone to the trouble of making up screensavers for their computers with their logo.  Personally, I always chose my private investigator on their branding abilities.  However, they still seem to use blackboards and not whiteboards.  Perhaps they have run out of money.  I bet they are paying a pretty penny in rent for that place.
  • They have a hapless sidekick called Sebastian. He appears to be the stereotypical camp actor, presumably so they can keep sending him into the theatre undercover.  The episode we watched revolved around an incident in a theatre and we’re guessing this may be a reoccurring theme. (In the original proposal George and Stephenson the Sebastian character was called Harry and he was a train spotter).
  • They haven’t got a big costume budget. Frank never had a costume change all episode and Lu had the same pair of boots on for the duration. The theatre director in the story also never changed his scarf all episode.  (All theatre directors wear a scarf, all the time. Fact).
  • There were some strange “in” gags. Jo Joyner (ex EastEnders) declaring “I do like a good soap” and mark Benton’s character saying that “he didn’t like the sound of working in TV”.  Bit weird, or perhaps I’m just reading too much into it.

Saying all that, Shakespeare and Hathaway Private Investigators is a decent way to spend a 45 minute sit down with a cup of tea (but not a biscuit.  I am starting to worry that I may have diabetes).  It’s no Endeavour of Broadchurch but it is far more realistic than the Frankie Drake Mysteries.  Now what can I have instead of biscuit?  I’m sure I have some fun size Milky Way’s at the back of the cupboard….

Where to find it

Shakespeare and Hathaway – Private Investigators are on BBC One weekdays at 2:15 or you can catch up on iPlayer.

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  1. Nice review. Bad weather gave good excuse to watch first 5 episodes – had to go to BBC iplayer for rest but it was better than Neighbours and usual gamut of game and antique shows!! Perhaps spend a few more quid and get it on Sunday night after the Midwives……currently too much nasty stuff on at moment!

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