Ben Elton returns to the BBC with his comic take on the life of William Shakespeare. As a fan of Blackadder I wasn't certainly looking forward to this spin on our most loved playwright. Sadly it felt like another series of Blackadder would have gone down a lot better.
The main failing in 'Upstart Crow' is the editing and the canned laughter which seems oddly out of place. Mitchell is great as Shakespeare but it is very much a carbon copy of the character of Blackadder. Not only is Blackadder replicated in Mitchell's performance but also in the other cast of characters that seem to have all come from the Blackadder series. We also get a bizarre mimic of Ricky Gervais at one point!
A lot of the humour was puerile and didn't have the same sharp wittiness of Blackadder, or Elton's novels. A lot of people have complained that had Blackadder been aired today in 2016 that it would have got the same angry reaction on Twitter....perhaps. But I'm not entirely sure that is true.
There are a couple of great Elton-esque one liners, but I think most of us would prefer another Blackadder or something without the canned laughter and so many infantile jokes. The few laughs here and there are funny and it is perhaps worth watching more episodes, but I'm not certain if I will rush to catch up with it. Alas.