ITV Magazine - New Year 2019
Fans of the nostalgic detective series are in for a treat on Sunday evenings as an approaching new decade is marked by Seventies moustaches and more aggressive policing. Buckle in… Endeavour is back
There’s something going down in the heart of Oxford. Around the corner comes Police Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright, hugging the limestone wall. He’s followed by a menacing-looking man in a trench coat, who withdraws a bladed weapon. At the other end of the street is another thug with a bulbous nose and peaked cap. For fans of Endeavour, ITV’s prequel to Inspector Morse, things are about to get very real.
‘It’s like a cowboy shoot-out’, grins Anton Lesser, the actor who plays Bright, as passers-by on bicycles weave around the crew. To say more about Bright’s fate would constitute spoiler territory but, suffice to say, the sixth season of Endeavour offers a major sea-change for the law-enforcers of Oxford City Police CID. The year is 1969 and a new decade is fast approaching.
‘At the end of last season, we all go our separate ways’, explains a suited-and-booted Shaun Evans, the actor who has effortlessly slipped into John Thaw’s brogues to become our eponymous hero, the younger Endeavour Morse. For those in need of a recap, Icarus, the final episode of season five, saw the announcement that Cowley Police Station was set to close, with the dissolution of the Oxford City Police and merger with Thames Valley Constabulary.
‘The idea was to ring the changes with a creative refresh’, admits producer Deanne Cunningham. ‘Certainly, in episode one, viewers will find it’s quite different from where we left them. Everybody’s torn asunder, in separate places’. With all left reeling after the death of DC George Fancy, DS Morse is back in uniform (now complete with a Seventies ‘tache) overseeing a country police station in the ‘one-horse town’, as Shaun puts it, of Woodstock.
Bright, meanwhile, has been reduced to organizing traffic. ‘It’s a come-down for him. His authority is undermined’, says Anton. He also has changes in his personal life, with viewers introduced to Mrs. Bright (Carol Royle) after years of veiled references to her.
‘Everything in his world is reversing and collapsing, and therefore becoming much more interesting and complex’, he continues. ‘It’s what I’ve been waiting for years! I’ve been saying, “Let’s see a bit more of the man behind the uniform.” I think audiences love that: to see into the characters they’ve become familiar with.’
Then there’s Morse’s boss DCI Fred Thursday – played by Roger Allam – who has been moved to the new police station, a brutal concrete structure. ‘He’s been bumped down a rank’, says Roger, who arrives to chat after finishing his scenes for the day. ‘Things are not good in Thursday land.’
The old-school copper must adjust to working with new boss DI Ronnie Box, played by Simon Harrison, ‘an aggressive Sweeney-type’, says Roger, in what feels like an oblique nod to John Thaw, who made his name in 1970s show The Sweeney. Together with his junior, DS Alan Jago (Richard Riddell), Box represents ‘a different way of policing’, says Deanne, ‘rough and ready – Flying-Squad style. It’s anathema to Morse and Fred.’
There’s no question, this four-episode season of Endeavour is straying into darker territory.
With the whole production for series six spanning 20 weeks, there are just 13 days to go now on the fourth and final episode that we’re here to witness being filmed. Directed by Oscar-nominated Jamie Donoughue (Shok), it’s another story that reflects real-life history, namely that of Ronan Point, a tower block in East London that collapsed in 1968, killing four people and injuring 17. After the first episode sees a tower block being erected, this final film shows a catastrophic consequence (requiring some complex visual effects). ‘It’s an epic story’, says Deanne.
‘Within the block, we find a body that has been there for a year, which has a connection to a body we find at the beginning of the series’, says Shaun. ‘It’s a good way to round up and bring back all the characters we’ve introduced this season.’
Technology is rushing headlong into Endeavour’s world. In the new police station, there is a computer. ‘In ’69, Thames Valley did actually have a very early collating computer’, explains Paul Cripps, Endeavour’s set designer. The production borrowed one from the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge. ‘It’s about the size of a small upright piano.’ There are other innovations too – not least a vending machine that causes Thursday some bother.
Does this gradual move into the Seventies mean there will be a seventh season in the offing, with Endeavour team joining the dots ever closer towards the Eighties Inspector Morse? ‘When you’re coming towards the end of a project, you need to have a period of peace away from it, to allow the experience to settle’, says Shaun coyly. ‘Who knows…?’ In the meantime, there’s a wonderful sixth season to relish.
The sixth series of Endeavour will return in February on ITV.
The annual Carol Concert at Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford was held last 7th of December, in support of Macmillan Cancer. The concert featured the world-class vocal ensemble the Blenheim Singers and this year's readers were Shaun Evans, Sinéad Cusack, Will Gompertz and John Lloyd. The following photos were taken by: https://www.philipjoycephotography.co.uk/
If you would like to donate to Macmillan you can do so here: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/donate
ACTOR Shaun Evans takes on a Sweeney look as the new series of Endeavour is brought up to 1969. In the sixth series of the prequel to Inspector Morse, the young detective sergeant now has a moustache and boasts an open-top sports car in what appears to be a nod to the late actor John Thaw’s time in 1970s police drama The Sweeney.
By DAVID STEPHENSON - Express
Thaw went on to play the original Inspector Morse, the Oxford detective created by Colin Dexter.
Evans himself will direct one of the Endeavour episodes, following his success at the helm of two episodes of the BBC’s Casualty earlier this year.
And Endeavour Morse has a role change too, starting as a uniformed officer with Woodstock police.
Roger Allam makes a comeback as Detective Inspector Fred Thursday, alongside Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright, Sean Rigby as Detective Sergeant Jim Strange, James Bradshaw as Dr Max DeBryn, Sara Vickers as Joan Thursday, Abigail Thaw – John Thaw’s daughter – as Dorothea Frazil and Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday.
The story picks up from the dissolution of Oxford City Police and the merger with Thames Valley Constabulary at the end of the last series.
But despite their separation, the unsolved murder of Detective Constable George Fancy still hangs over the team.
Other faces in the new series include Two And A Half Men star Sophie Winkleman, Indian Summers actor Blake Ritson and EastEnders actress Alison Newman.
Source: ITV Press Centre
Filming began this month on the sixth series of critically-acclaimed detective drama, Endeavour. Whilst reprising his titular role as Endeavour Morse, much-admired actor Shaun Evans will also be putting his directorial mark on the show, heading behind the camera for the second feature-length film in the series. The move follows his success directing two episodes of continuing drama Casualty earlier this year.
Evans’ character will similarly be trialling pastures new, with Morse having started a new role as a uniformed officer at the Woodstock police department and embracing the fashion of the period by growing a moustache.
Alongside Evans, the new series will see celebrated stage and screen actor Roger Allam return as DI Fred Thursday, alongside Anton Lesser as CS Reginald Bright, Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange, James Bradshaw as Dr Max DeBryn, Sara Vickers as Joan Thursday, Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil and Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday.
Following the dissolution of Oxford City Police and the merging with Thames Valley Constabulary at the end of the last series, the latest instalment is set in 1969 and picks up with the team dispersed as they find their feet in their various new roles. However, despite their separation, the tragic murder of DC George Fancy still hangs over them both collectively and individually, with the case remaining unresolved.
With their new positions also come new colleagues and responsibilities. Thursday must adjust to working with new boss DI Ronnie Box played by Simon Harrison (Fearless) and junior DS Alan Jago played by Richard Riddell (Bodyguard). Meanwhile, Joan has settled back in Oxford and is training to work in social services under the mentor of new manager Viv Wall played by Alison Newman (EastEnders).
Produced by leading drama indie Mammoth Screen in a co-production with Masterpiece, each story in the highly-anticipated sixth series will once again be written by series creator Russell Lewis who has penned each of the 23 screenplays to date.
Russell Lewis says: “As our story reaches the last year of the 1960s, and mankind makes its giant leap, all at #TeamEndeavour look forward to exploring further early chapters in the casebook of Colin Dexter’s beloved creation.”
Morse with a moustache: the ITV star shows a new look that is just right for 1969
By Ben Dowell - Radio Times
Endeavour series six is currently filming for ITV, and judging by new set photos star Shaun Evans will have a whole new look when he returns as Endeavour Morse.
A new image courtesy of ITV shows the star sporting a new moustache as Morse faces up to life in a new police station in 1969 when the action starts.
Filming has just started on the new run, which picks up the story following the dissolution of Oxford City Police and its merger with Thames Valley Constabulary at the end of the last series. The new episodes are expected to air in early 2019.
Roger Allam returns as DI Fred Thursday, alongside Anton Lesser as CS Reginald Bright, Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange, James Bradshaw as Dr Max DeBryn, Sara Vickers as Joan Thursday, Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil and Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday.
In the new series, the tragic murder of DC George Fancy at the end of series five following a gangland shootout still hangs over the characters with the case remaining unresolved.
Fred Thursday must also adjust to working with new boss DI Ronnie Box played by Simon Harrison and junior DS Alan Jago played by Richard Riddell. Meanwhile, Thursday’s troubled daughter Joan – whom Endeavour is in love with – has returned to Oxford and is training to work in social services under the mentor of new manager Viv Wall (played by EastEnders actressAlison Newman).
Guest stars in the upcoming series include Sophie Winkleman (Two and a Half Men), Blake Ritson (Indian Summers), Matthew Cottle (Unforgotten), Oliver Chris (Motherland), Sargon Yelda (Strike), Alice Orr-Ewing (A Very English Scandal) and Ross Boatman (Mum).
Evans will also be putting his directorial mark on the show, heading behind the camera for the second feature-length film in the series. The move follows his stint directing two episodes of continuing drama Casualty earlier this year.
Each story in series six will once again be written by series creator Russell Lewis who has created each of the 23 screenplays to date.
Lewis said, “As our story reaches the last year of the 1960s, and mankind makes its giant leap, all at #TeamEndeavour look forward to exploring further early chapters in the casebook of Colin Dexter’s beloved creation.”
Endeavour was also recently voted the fourth greatest British crime drama in a Radio Times poll.