Shakespeare and Hathaway stars promise romance for Frank and Lu…

... but it might not be with each other!

The Bard’s observation that “the course of true love never did run smooth” rang true for Luella Shakespeare (ex EastEnders star Jo Joyner) when her cheating fiancée was murdered in the first episode of crime-based comedy-drama Shakespeare and Hathaway.

But as the hit daytime series returns for a third series, romance is on the cards for hairdresser-turned-private detective Lu and her business partner Frank Hathaway (Mark Benton) – although not with each other!

We caught up with Shakespeare and Hathaway stars Mark Benton and Jo Joyner to find out what’s in store as the series returns today…

Is there any romance on the cards in the new series?

Mark Benton: “In one of this week’s episodes, there’s a really beautiful lady of the manor – Lady Mortimer – and Frank has a real crush on her and smartens himself up a bit!”

Jo Joyner: “Lu invariably has a crush on anyone remotely handsome. Later on in the series, a movie star who is an old friend of Sebastian’s [the aspiring actor who works with Lu and Frank] comes to play Hamlet in Stratford, and she absolutely falls in love with him!”

The Shakespeare and Hathaway team are back!

What about between Frank and Lu?

Mark: “They’re like an old married couple really, aren’t they? Once you lose that, a lot of the show’s charm would disappear.”

Jo: “It’s almost liked Frank and Lu skipped the dating stage and have been married for 20 years! It would be like Ross and Rachel in Friends if they got together, wouldn’t it? Mark and I had an idea for the next series. Wouldn’t it be funny if they did speed dating, and found out they were really compatible?!”

 What guest stars should we look out for?

Christopher Timothy as Major Terence Benedick in episode five, The Sticking Place

Jo: “Christopher Timothy is in this week’s story about foul play on some allotments!”

Ted Robbins as bingo caller Joseph ‘JJ’ Jacques in episode one, How the Rogue Roar’d!

Mark: “We’ve also got Don Gilet, Phil Jackson and Josie Lawrence!And in the first episode, look out for Ted Robbins and my good friend Jim Moir – aka Vic Reeves. He watches the show and asked me if he could be in it, so I had a word with the producers. Our first scene is in an ambulance, and we just fell about laughing for five minutes!

What Shakespeare and Hathaway merchandise would you like to see in the shops?

Jo: “I love Lu’s accessories, and this year she wears a fun necklace with her name on it, so it would have to be a fabulous necklace. Or perhaps an old-fashioned pen like a quill, but with a bright pink feather!”

Mark: “Maybe an action figure of Frank, with a pull-string that makes him say: ‘I’m not doing that!’”

What cop shows did you watch growing up

Jo: “Juliet Bravo, Cagney and Lacey and The Fall Guy [starring Lee Majors as a stuntman who’s also a bounty hunter] – I liked that one for the driving!”

Mark: “I wanted to be in Starsky and Hutch, sliding across the bonnets of cars. But Frank is more akin to Columbo!”

Mark, have you encouraged Jo to follow in your Strictly Come Dancing footsteps?

 Mark: “Only all the time! She’d be brilliant – she is a fantastic dancer and she’s got the personality to go with it.”

Jo: “He’s always telling me I should go on it, but I can’t dance for toffee. Well, I can if I’m really drunk – then I’m fantastic! But to be honest, the idea terrifies me!”

What mystery or crime in your lives would you like Shakespeare and Hathaway to have solved?

 Jo: “My daughter’s guppy fish just disappeared! We looked everywhere – in the filter, and next to the tank in case it had jumped out. And we don’t have a cat…”

Mark: “I got burgled when I was a student. All I had to my name was a tenner, and they took it! I had to ring up my mum and dad and ask for more money! I’d have called Shakespeare and Hathaway in for that. To this day, that crime has not been solved!”

If you could appear in any crime drama, which one would you choose?

Mark: “Maybe they could remake Hart to Hart [the 1980s US TV series starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers]. I could play the Harts’ butler, Max!”

Jo: “Stranger Things [the hit Netflix series] is a sci-fi, but I’d love to be in that! From Shakespeare & Hathaway to Stranger Things – stranger things have happened!”

Does either of you have a secret talent we don’t know about?

Mark: “She’ll kill me for telling you this, but Jo is an amazing pianist. However she won’t play the piano front of me!”

Shakespeare and Hathaway returns to BBC1 on weekdays at 2.15pm from Monday 3 February 

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