When ITV1 commissioned and, along with PBS in the States, subsequently broadcast the one-off prequel, Endeavour, starring Shaun Evans as the young DC Morse in 2012, both the critical acclaim and audience response that followed left everyone immediately wanting more. More is what you will be getting soon as, beginning this Spring on ITV1 and Summer on PBS as part of the Masterpiece Mystery! series, there will be four new episodes coming to a telly near you.
Endeavour creator/writer, Russell Lewis, sat down with Radio Times’ David Brown recently to discuss just what makes the early days of the character played so brilliantly by John Thaw back in the days of the original “Inspector Morse” series of episodes. “The fact that he’s the eternal outsider is the key to him,” says Lewis. “There’s a sadness to him, a melancholy that chimes with people. It’s a certain trope with crime fiction that most detectives are loners with some deep-rooted unhappiness somewhere. And that’s certainly true with Endeavour.”
Set in 1965, the upcoming set of four new episodes will make their way to telly this Spring/Summer. Of particular significance to Morse fans is that there will be a number of familiar names who have been a part of Morse’s life since his early-60’s days at Oxford. To start with, audiences will be introduced to PC James Strange, a uniformed officer who goes on to later become Superintendent Strange (as played in the original ‘Inspector Morse’ series by James Grout).
I’ve often wondered whether or not from a writer and/or actor perspective if it was important for either to understand a complete back story when it comes to the character they are writing about or playing. In the case of Lewis, it seems important, obviously, given that within the context of Endeavour it’s a prequel that requires the creation of such a back story.
As Brown determines from Lewis, it’s quite possible that there will be plenty of room in the future for such other notable figures as Morse’s former fiancé Susan Fallon (seen the 1992 episode ‘Dead on Time’) and, possibly, his mentor Desmond McNutt, from ‘Masonic Mysteries’.
“Possibly, very possibly,” says Lewis, with a smile. “You’ll find names flying around left, right and centre.”