ITV Press Pack
Endeavour is back for a seventh series. How does it feel to be slipping back into Morse’s shoes? Do you find it easy to get back into the role?
It’s fantastic. I’m really delighted and grateful that there’s an appetite for it, so I’m very happy to be back and continue with the story. I never want it to be too easy to return to the character, so this time before we started again, I actually went back to the books and read some of them again. I wanted to remind myself what I found initially engaging about the character and incorporate that as much as I could into it this time. It allowed me to think about it in a slightly different way and not make it as easy for myself.
Where do we find Morse at the beginning of the new series?
The new series starts on New Year’s Eve, 1969 and we find Morse in Venice where he’s gone to see the opera. He’s put down roots in his life, bought a flat and made the decision to stay in Oxford as a Police Officer, which is quite monumental for him. With that, brings a load of baggage in so much as starting a romance with someone, starting new friendships and ending older ones or calling people out on their actions. He’s very much being his own person when we find him at the beginning of the series.
We also see him doing up the flat himself, which is a nice touch.
Yes, I really liked that. The producer and production designer did a great job there as we stripped all the walls in the first episode, in the second one they’re all bare and in the third one, they’re wallpapered. That’s a place that we keep revisiting, so they had to keep doing it as other productions were working in the house as well. I’m really pleased that we’ve shown that part of his life, and it feels symbolic of where he’s at.
We can see that the moustache has gone - did you miss it or were you ready to say goodbye?
You forget about it, to be honest! One of the great things about doing something long-form is that you can show people’s little fads and changes. It was just an idea that we had and ran with. There was talk of us having a scene with him shaving it off, but it just felt surplus to requirements.
What was it like filming the scenes in Venice for Film 1? How did you approach this as director of the film?
It was incredible and very refreshing, because when you’re working on something like this, there’s usually a big unit which travels around with you which is great and a massive support. However, going to Venice, there was just four of us with very different camera equipment and a different way of getting the shots. There was something about that which was incredibly invigorating, particularly after the more traditional way we’d been telling the story. To be carrying the camera equipment myself, stopping people myself and doing the scene, felt quite guerilla-esque, which wasn’t something I’d done before - either as a director or as part of the show. There
was something about it that I found very refreshing and interesting.
Was there a particular reason why Venice was chosen?
It’s sort of similar to Oxford in a way, and is comparable with the towpaths and the water aspect featured in the series. There’s also something incredibly romantic and timeless about Venice. It’s almost an impossible city and there’s such a mystique around it, which wouldn’t have been the same in another city.
Did you feel it was important to explore a new location in the series?
I think so. We’re very lucky that we’re afforded that luxury now. It’s important to not keep doing things in the same way, and we’re always trying to push ourselves so you start thinking: Why not Venice? Why not New Year’s Eve? Why not the opera? There’s something about that which is good and I love the appetite from ITV and the team to embrace those challenges and make the most of them.
You touched upon the fact that we do see some romance for Morse this series. What can you tell us about this?
He meets this woman at the opera, and given that they’re both away from home and it’s New Year’s Eve, they start a romance. There’s something unattainable about this woman. This isn’t the person he’ll be settling down and making dinner with. It’s really useful in the history of his girlfriends and lovers that there’s something that’s not mundane - in fact, it’s the opposite. That’s what she represents. She is something completely different.
As you say, the series opens on New Year’s Eve, moving from the 1960s to 1970s. Do you feel there’s a marked change with the characters moving into a new decade?
It’s a gradual thing, but there is an evolution for all of the characters as the times are changing. What’s going on at the time means that there is a shift, but it’s a slow thing.
There feels like there’s been a social shift, with politics coming to the forefront and the dawn of women’s liberation. How is this touched upon during the series?
It’s interesting because - and this is what Russell Lewis is great at - that time is so rich, not unlike now in fact, that if you just dig a little bit and see what was actually going on, it’s a great backdrop to some of these stories. You can sort of acknowledge that we haven’t come miles away now in terms of our attitudes towards immigration, women’s rights, equal pay etc. I find that so interesting, and I think the show works best when it does that, in a very subtle way of course. It’s not
a hard-hitting political show, but it’s important to pay attention to what was going on at the time as it offers you so much.
Morse also strikes up a new friendship with a man called Ludo. Would you say they bond over a shared interest in the finer things?
Absolutely. Like the woman who Morse meets in the first episode, he’s different and there’s something about him which is not the mundane; not the everyday. It’s a financial thing, but also to do with his aspirations about things - his travel and experiences bring so much to the table has not been brought before. There’s an undercurrent of something that he brings - Ryan Gage (who plays Ludo) delivers that so well - and you’re not really sure whether this is good or bad.
What effect does this new friendship have on Morse’s long standing friendship with Strange?
Ludo and Strange would never be friends, but Endeavour contains both within him. The day to day drudgery of the work that they do can be incredible, but then there’s this aspirational urge in Endeavour for art, opera, music, travel and literature which he doesn’t get at work. So, Ludo and Strange represent two different parts of him.
I also think he’s wise enough to keep them separate. He’s not inviting Strange in for a drink, saying he and Ludo will really get along. He knows they won’t get on, so he might as well keep it separate. Perhaps what both the woman he meets at the opera and Ludo represent is something he’s been thirsting for since he left Oxford University - that kind of intellectual rigour.
How would you say that Morse and Thursday’s relationship has changed after the events of last series? There seems to still be tension between them…
It’s interesting, because in the later books and the Inspector Morse TV series, Thursday is never mentioned, so we need to give a reason for that. Something begins to happen which is irreconcilable, and we’re seeing the beginnings of that now as this series goes on. I think familiarity breeds contempt. I think both of these guys have been in each other’s pockets for many years now and they’re just getting on each other’s nerves. In their way of doing things, they can’t see the wood for the trees with the other and are starting to fail to see the positives.
You once again directed an episode of the series. Are you embracing pairing acting and directing?
It was awesome. I felt like I learned so much last time and was desperate to come back and put it into practice. I felt way more confident as well this time. I love directing because, whereas acting’s quite elusive in its way, - there’s no real right or wrong - with directing, it’s a skill that you can learn how to be better and more economical in telling the story. I really like being able to improve.
How did you balance doing both roles (actor and director) simultaneously?
Just being super prepared and knowing exactly what you want and need from a scene, as well as having to be open to things. It’s also important to ask for help. You rely a lot on your cast and the crew, but if you’re clear about what you want and what each scene is about, then anything is possible I think. There’s no time to find out on the day, but that really appeals to me - I like to know what I’m doing and then do it.
What’s next for you?
I’ve got lots going on! I’ve got a new TV show for next year with a director I’ve been dying to work with for ages, so I’m looking forward to starting that, and then I’m also adapting a book.
Endeavour star Shaun Evans 'struggles' to understand why women are attracted to his detective character
Endeavour star Shaun Evans can’t work out why his character is so popular with women.
Across the seven series of the drama, which tells the story of Inspector Morse before he became Inspector, Endeavour (Evans) hasn’t done too badly with the ladies – although all his romances so far have either been short lived or ended in disaster.
He previously tried, and failed, to keep things going with Joan Thursday (Sara Vickers), and that was after he brutally ditched nurse Monica Hicks (Shvorne Marks).
But despite all these love interests, Shaun doesn’t get why he’s catnip to the opposite sex.
‘It’s hard to answer that,’ he said.
Laughing he added: ‘I’m trying to give a good answer but…struggling.’
In the new episodes, Endeavour might have found romance with the mysterious Violetta (Stephanie Leonidas) who he meets in Venice – but there’s a twist in their relationship which suggests this can only end in tears.
Shaun explained: ‘It’s the unattainable. There’s an operatic quality to her. There’s something slightly unreal. You could never have a proper relationship with her. It’s never gonna end happily because she’s so not of his world.
’ Having played the character for seven series now, Shaun has got pretty good at playing detective and spotting the culprit in a murder mystery.
But he would never take on the role himself for real as police work can get ‘pretty gruesome’.
‘I don’t think I would [be a good detective],’ he confessed.
‘It can be pretty gruesome can’t it? It takes a very specific, amazing kind of person to want to visit that every day.
‘Watching this show is like f***ing hell, the things the police force go through is properly extraordinary.’
Largs & Millport Weekly News
Endeavour star Shaun Evans has said he is thankful that the rising popularity of the TV show has not had a huge impact on his life.
The actor has had the lead in the Inspector Morse prequel since 2012, but said he does not have “a public” and prefers to just go home and live his life after filming.
Asked if the increasing popularity of the show has had an impact on him, Evans said: “No, it doesn’t, thankfully.
“That is another blessing about this job, it has very little impact on my life, which I like.”
He continued: “I’m not a person who has a public… I don’t have a Twitter feed, I’m not on social media and all that. I don’t Google myself.
“I just like to come in and do my job and then go home and crack on with my life.”
“But that being said, the increasing popularity is what enables us to come back and do some more,” he added.
Evans also told how he likes to stay fresh, so recently re-read the detective novels by Colin Dexter that the series is based on.
“You don’t want to be complacent as an actor,” he said.
“And what I don’t want, because this is an amazing job in many ways, but there’s also a danger that you become lazy with your work.
“And so I’ve always tried to push myself, to be producing or directing and to be doing things alongside and in conjunction with this, and then part of that is, again, in terms of not making it too easy for yourself, so you’re not just playing yourself, or that your shorthand, your way into something, isn’t a lazy way.”
He said: “That’s why it was important for me personally to read the books again, and be like, ‘I’d forgotten that’ or ‘I missed that’ or ‘That’s interesting’.”
“I suppose in short, keeping yourself interested in it, you’ll then keep yourself interesting,” the actor added.
Inspector Morse ran from 1987 to 2000, and Endeavour – which charts the early career of the young Endeavour Morse – started in 2012.
Endeavour returns on Sunday February 9 at 8pm on ITV.
Shaun Evans tells us about the new Endeavour series, falling out with Thursday, directing and Morse's terrible taste in women
By Ox In A Box
Shaun Evans is in a buoyant mood when we meet to discuss the new series of Endeavour.
Now as synonymous with the Morse stable as any earlier incarnations, he is articulate, measured and amusing.
He considers each question carefully, not wanting to be misconstrued, (his dislike of interviews is well documented), but today he is chatty and effusive, proud perhaps of what the team have achieved in this, the seventh series of Endeavour.
He cares as much about the part, as the craft, which is why he directed episode one.
“You do not want to become complacent as an actor. And this is is an amazing job in many, many ways. But there is also a danger that you become lazy with your work so I always try to push myself. You have to engage with it.”
Presumably then Morse is too easy to slip back into? “I don’t want it to be easy and I think that’s important. I want to keep learning. And that’s why I enjoy the directing. Sure there is a pressure in taking on the first episode because it sets up the whole season, but I felt ready for the challenge this time. And I’m already dying to do it again because there is so much to learn.”
He does however love spending time in Oxford, adding: ” I am very fond of Oxford. My relationship with it is so wrapped up with my work, but I love it there. It’s a great place.”
One big new development in the three part series is a new love interest which is exciting. Do tell more. “Violetta occupies a very distinct and unique place in the history of this character, which makes him the person that he becomes, and this series is a very definite stepping stone on the way to that.”
How exciting….so what’s she like? “She is a character we haven’t seen before – completely unobtainable – wealthy, flies around the world, she is incredibly enigmatic on one hand but then very available on the other.” In other words bad news.
What about Thursday’s daughter, the pair’s chemistry is always so tangible? “Not this time around. But would that work out for the best?” he asks. “Would she actually be the one that makes him happy. Do you know what I mean?”
As for Morse himself, Shaun says: “I thank its good that he’s enigmatic – that you will never know him. Successful relationships should be like that, we don’t need to know every part of someone. They are the most interesting people. And your work as an actor should be the same.
“But he has a new flat; in the first episode it still has the old wallpaper, in the second the walls are bare, and the third they are painted. So yes, there is a feeling of putting down roots and a sense of responsibility.
Shaun does however muse on Morse’s terrible taste in women adding “where would the fun be in that?” when asked if he meets someone nice in this series.
“One girl recently asked me what women see in Morse,” he laughs incredulously pretending to be offended. “He is incredibly charming though, don’t you think?”
Still, three rather than six episodes will be a disappointment for the series legions of worldwide fans? “It’s the shortest one we’ve done, and very definitely has a beginning, middle and an end. There’s way more connected tissue between them, so while you can watch them individually they are also a proper series.
“We haven’t done it this way before, and isn’t just a crime of the week scenario but invites people in. You can see more of the characters this way because they unpack a little bit more which makes things quite satisfying and richer.”
As for the plot, Shaun will only say that it’s essentially about “the nucleus of the separation between me and Thursday,” which is awful in itself, the two work mates having settled their differences at the end of the last series.
So does he still like Morse as a person? “Yes, I like him. I think there is something interesting about him. It’s hard to say because I’m playing him. But I’m happy because I think that he’s an incredibly rich character.”
One that’s impacting Shaun’s life off screen? “No, that’s the blessing of this job. It has very little impact on my life which I like because I’m not a person who has a public persona, or a profile on social media. I just like to do my job and then go home and carry on with my life.”
Endeavour Series 7 starts on Sunday 9 February at 8pm on ITV.
Radio Times - By Flora Carr
Endeavour's seventh season could spell the end of Endeavour's friendship with Fred Thursday...
Inspector Morse prequel series Endeavour may be named after the scholarly young Morse (Shaun Evans), but at the heart of the detective drama is his relationship with his friend, colleague and mentor, Fred Thursday (Roger Allam).
However, it looks like the unlikely buddy-cop alliance is coming to an end, after Shaun Evans teased that tensions may hit breaking point between the two during the upcoming series seven.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Evans explained that the new series would reveal why Fred isn’t mentioned in the original drama series Inspector Morse (starring John Thaw) or in author Colin Dexter’s book series of the same name — potentially spelling a major fall-out between the two detectives.
“In the books, and then in the later series, Thursday’s never mentioned, obviously he’s an invention [for Endeavour]. So we have to make a decision as to why that is. So we’re coming towards that now,” Evans said.
Asked about the rising conflict between the Fred and Endeavour, he added: “It’s more interesting I think when there is a bit of conflict there, you know.”
In the seventh series’ first episode (directed by Evans), Endeavour returns from holiday and is asked to reexamine a recent case overseen by Fred — and the pair have vastly different views on how to handle it.
“It’s about different ways of doing the same thing in a way,” Evans said. “And my character saying, ‘Yeah but that [how Fred handled the case] was shoddy, what you did there was shoddy’, so he’s just calling him on it really. Alright, he might be stitching him up a little bit, but…”
Endeavour series seven will premiere on ITV at 8pm on Sunday 9th February
BBC One’s new thriller Vigil has announced its star-studded cast line-up. Suranne Jones (Gentleman Jack, Doctor Foster), Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones, The Good Fight), Shaun Evans (Endeavour), Anjli Mohindra (Bodyguard) and Martin Compston (Line of Duty, Mary Queen of Scots) will appear in the six-part series.
The mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death on-board a Trident nuclear submarine bring the police into conflict with the Navy and British security services. DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) leads an investigation on land and at sea into a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
Written and created by Bafta-nominated writer Tom Edge (Judy, The Crown, Strike) with episodes by Ed Macdonald (The End Of The F***ing World) and Chandni Lakhani (Dublin Murders), the fictional drama will be directed by Bafta-winner James Strong (Broadchurch, Vanity Fair, Liar) and Isabelle Sieb (Shetland, The Athena).
The series is set in Scotland and filming is due to begin there soon. It will be executive produced by Simon Heath (Line of Duty) for World Productions and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC.
source: BBC Press Office