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Emma Thompson looks unrecognisable as Queen Elizabeth I

Emma Thompson looked completely different as the red-headed Queen!

Emmy Griffiths

Emma Thompson looks totally unrecognisable as the red-haired monarch Queen Elizabeth I in the first photos from the upcoming Upstart Crow Christmas Special, written by Ben Elton. The sitcom, which also stars David Mitchell as William Shakespeare, will see Will rehearsing his latest play for it to be performed for the Queen as part of her Christmas celebrations, but doesn't quite make the right impression on her. 

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Emma looks unrecognisable as the Queen 

The action also follows Kit (Tim Downie), who gets himself invited to Christmas at the Shakespeare household along with Kate (Gemma Whelan), and Shakespeare's nemesis Robert Green (Mark Heap), who has promised to change in time for Christmas. Dressed to the nines as the Queen, the Oscar-winning actress looks totally different in a peach and gold gown, complete with a curly ginger wig.

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David Mitchell stars as William Shakespeare

Speaking about the hit comedy, which will be on BBC Two this Christmas, David told the Independant: "The sitcom cleverly shows that there are lots of forces working against Shakespeare. It's definitely a class thing. Shakespeare is deemed too down-at-heel to be one of the poetical geniuses of his age. Of course, that’s still the view of some people today. Greene's sentiment that Shakespeare is an 'upstart crow' lives on. He can't possibly be an all-time great playwright because he didn't go to the right school!"

Emma will star in the Christmas special

Speaking about the Christmas special, comedy commissioning controller Shane Allen said: "This is the dream combination of masterful comedy penmanship from Ben Elton, a cast littered with well-loved comedy actors both old and new, who lampoon the life and work of this cultural giant we were all taught to revere in school. It’s British comedy at its finest."