Ex EastEnders star Jo Joyner turns Private Investigator in new BBC drama

jo joyner, the abc
(Image credit: PA Archive/PA Images)

Former EastEnder Jo Joyner is teaming up with Mark Benton for a new BBC series, Shakespeare & Hathaway which sees the pair work as unlikely Private Investigators in leafy Stratford-Upon-Avon

Ex EastEnder Jo Joyner is looking forward to transforming into a Private Investigator for  a new BBC drama.

The popular actress who's starred in a range of successful roles since leaving her role as Walford's luckless Tanya Branning will be teaming up with Mark Benton in a new daytime series, Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Detectives.

The ten part drama will see Frank Hathaway (Benton), a hardboiled private investigator and his rookie colleague Lu Shakespeare (Joyner) form the unlikeliest of partnerships as they investigate the secrets of rural Warwickshire’s residents.

THE HALCYON, mark benton

Speaking about the role announced today, Jo said, "I'm really looking forward to playing Lu Shakespeare. She's quick witted, inquisitive, warm and friendly. People tend to open up to her and she's ready for a new adventure."

The 40-year-old mum of twins, whose TV credits include Ordinary Lies, Mount Pleasant and most recently school drama, Ackley Bridge  added ,"Becoming a private investigator looks to be the perfect place to use her skills for the greater good. I'm thrilled to be working with the fantastic Mark Benton and I think viewers are going to really enjoy watching the two characters rub along together.”

This fun and frank series comes to a close with Ackley Bridge’s first open day.

Jo Joyner as Head Teacher Mandy Carter in C4's Ackley Bridge (Image credit: MATT SQUIRE)

Meanwhile Mark, 51, who's starred in The Halycon, Waterloo Road and Early Doors said, "As soon as I read the script I knew I wanted to play Frank Hathaway. He’s a chaotic and old fashioned but lovable detective. Frank and Lu are a real odd couple but they quickly become the perfect duo in an action packed, fun filled drama. I can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into this role.”

Set in leafy Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, home of William Shakespeare, viewers will discover that beneath  the picturesque charm of the city, lies a hotbed of mystery and intrigue and the two intrepid detectives have their work cut out tackling blackmail, extramarital affairs, celebrity stalkers, care home saboteurs, murderous magicians and  abducted au pairs. They're going to be busy bees!

According to the BBC, the odd couple who both love to  snoop and pry, disagree on almost everything yet somehow make a surprisingly effective team.

Dan McGolpin, Controller BBC Programming & Daytime, said: “The BBC One Daytime audience love to escape into a good story and this new series is full of mystery and charm. It will be brought to life by an exceptional cast, we are very lucky to have Jo and Mark in the lead roles.”

Will Trotter, Head of BBC Daytime Drama, added: "Shakespeare & Hathaway is a modern private eye crime drama set in iconic Stratford-upon-Avon and leafy Warwickshire playing upon Shakespearean themes with warm witty characters and compelling plot lines."

Filming begins this week and Shakespeare & Hathaway will air in 2018

Tess Lamacraft
Senior Writer for What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite week, Whattowatch.com

Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.