The iconic Inspector Morse series that starred John Thaw not only drew large audiences when it premiered in 1987 on ITV and on PBS as part of the Mystery! series, it was hailed by critics as the definition of intelligent television. In 2006, Inspector Lewis came on the scene in a spin-off series with Kevin Whately reprising his role which began as Morse’s Sergeant. Like the Morse series, Lewis is set primarily in Oxford and finds Robbie Lewis has now been promoted to Detective Inspector and assisted by DS James Hathaway.
So, when it was announced in 2012 that a Morse prequel, Endeavour, would premiere in 2012 with a feature length story to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Morse, it’s completely understandable that viewers (me included) would experience a bit of telly trepidation at first when faced with the thought of a prequel to such classic series. Fortunately, all of the fear went out the window with the 2012 premiere episode of Endeavour, which starred Shaun Evans as a young Endeavour Morse who, after leaving his Oxford college without taking a degree and spending a short time in the Royal Corps of Signals as a cipher clerk, joins the police.
Like its predecessors, the audience numbers and critical acclaim for Endeavour were both something to write home about. So much so that a series of 4, 2-hour specials were commissioned by ITV which premiered this past January in the UK. U.S. fans of Endeavour will get a chance to see what all the fuss is about when the new series premieres as part of PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery! series on Sunday, July 7, and running for four consecutive weeks. With both Inspector Morse and Lewis firmly in the rear-view mirror, and based on the UK audience numbers for series 1, ITV just announced that a second series of Endeavour has been commissioned for filming later this year. In addition, the brilliant Roger Allam (The Thick of It, Parade’s End, Game of Thrones) will continue his role as Detective Inspector Fred Thursday in series 2 which has tentative transmission target date of 2014.
Not much known at this point about series 2 other than Russell Lewis will return to pen the four new episodes which will be set in 1966. As Lewis points out, “…1966 – the year of Revolver“. That’s all I need to know at this point. I’m setting the DVR now for both Sunday, July 7 and for 2014.