Shakespeare & Hathaway Private Investigators Review 2018 TV-Show Series
Creator: Paul Matthew Thompson, Jude Tindall
Review: This show is so feather-light it’s on the verge of floating away, and it’s essentially silly. But I confess I do watch it occasionally. Not sure why. The show’s aim seems to be to be as ditzy as possible without making it a comedy (it’s not that funny). The setting – Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford Upon Avon – is great. It makes for lots of good costumes and batty plots involving thespians, eccentric locals, and tourists. The two leads, playing odd couple private detectives named Shakespeare and Hathaway (get it?) are each as daft as each other. Their camp assistant gets the best lines and gets to dress up and go undercover.
And there’s a local police detective who must be the dumbest in her profession ever, because the Shakespeare and Hathaway are always solving her cases. She just frowns. Just like in the series Midsomer Murders, it defies belief there would be so many murders in this rural backwater. I really can’t see this series lasting very long, because it’s so pedestrian and predictable. It won’t be up for any awards. Surely it could be a bit wittier and nuanced? I guess the audience don’t expect very much.
I have liked Mark Benton ever since he showed up as a semi-regular on Boon and especially after his brilliant turn on ‘Early Doors’. (‘Early Doors’ is one of the top ten British sitcoms of all time in my view.)
Jo Joyner, I don’t know much about, but it is the strength of these two actors that carries this show. What could have so easily have been uninspired, daytime dross is made enjoyable by the two titular characters. The scenery helps, too!
Shakespeare & Hathaway also resembles a ‘Midsomer Murders’ lite, managing to throw an ‘Enid Blyton’ type of attitude to the naughtiness of mankind by focusing less on the crimes and criminals and more on the crime catchers. Round up a few middle-class oddballs and figure out who-dun-it! Lashings of ginger beer for the kids at the end!
And the borrowing doesn’t end there… the ambiance has some parallels with Doc Martin which isn’t scared to let the scenery take center stage! And, of course, there’s the ‘Englishness’ of Stephen Fry’s family drama ‘Kingdom’ thrown into the mix.
The stories are ridiculous… a bit like the ‘plot-by-the-numbers’ absurdity of the ‘Murder In Paradise’ series (which has really lost its way now!) But if you can get past the preposterous plots and the incomprehensible relationship between the cartoon police and the two private detectives, this light-hearted comedy-drama is lots of fun.
The only bad mark is the unfortunate mincing gay character played by Patrick Walshe McBride. How on earth this found its way into the… oh, wait… I forgot, it’s 2018 and this is a BBC production!