Shakespeare and Hathaway… and Father Brown to get new series on BBC1! Find out what they're investigating....

Shakespeare and Hathaway
(Image credit: BBC/Gary Moyes)

Luella, Frank and Father Brown are back on the case...

Fans of light-hearted sleuthing series have never had it so good as both Shakespeare and Hathaway – Private Investigators and Father Brown are getting new episodes as the BBC today revealed fresh details about the recommissioned shows.

Shakespeare and Hathaway, which stars Jo Joyner and Mark Benton as unlikely detective duo Luella Shakespeare and Frank Hathaway, will be getting two more series, plus a new regular character, PC Viola Deacon (played by Yasmin Kaur Barn).

Jo Joyner and Mark Benton star in this new daytime weekday drama, brought together when Lu Shakespeare (Jo) asks private investigator Frank Hathaway (Mark) to find out if her fiancé is having an affair.

There's more crimes for grouchy Frank and upbeat Luella to solve (Image credit: BBC/Mark Bourdillon)

The BBC revealed that the 10-part third series of Shakespeare and Hathaway will be shown next year, with a fourth 10-part series to be screened in 2021.

Series three will see Lu and Frank deal with an ageing heavy metal star with a pact with the devil and a Shakespeare museum full of deadly secrets. Fans will be pleased that their struggling actor assistant Sebastian (Patrick Walsh McBride) will return.

Describing Shakespeare and Hathaway, Jo Joyner once said: “They’re like chalk and cheese! Lu’s very bubbly, positive and upbeat, which makes people open up to her, while Frank’s an old hand and he’s a lot more cynical.”

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Father Brown

Father Brown (Mark Williams) is making a welcome return to BBC1 (Image credit: BBC/Gary Moyes)

Meanwhile, Father Brown, starring Mark Williams as the charismatic crime-busting priest, will also be returning for two more series.

The eighth series, which will be shown next year, will see Father Brown investigate the murder of an eccentric beekeeper, plus be in a race against time to save Bunty from the hangman’s noose when she is tried for murder! Regulars Bunty (Emer Kenny), Mrs McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack) and Inspector Mallor (Jack Deam) will all be back. Series nine will be shown in 2021.

Mrs McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack) is taken hostage in Father Brown

Mrs McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack) returns for more Father Brown adventures (Image credit: BBC Studios/Gary Moyes)

Star Mark Williams once said of Father Brown: “Father Brown’s a real whodunnit hero. He’s worried about saving people’s souls and, as such, these crimes really trouble him. His faith is strong and very important to him.”

Dan McGolpin, Controller BBC Programming and iPlayer, said: “Fans can now look forward to another 20 episodes of Father Brown over the next two years and the same again for Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators.

"These comic crime series are much loved by viewers in the daytime on BBC1 and by others at any time on BBC iPlayer. They are masterfully produced by the team at BBC Studios, with a hugely talented cast on each series.”

BBC Studios will produce both shows.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!