BY CATRIONA WIGHTMAN - Digital Spy
Yes, Endeavour might be based on Inspector Morse, but it's pretty clear by now that the show has become its own entity. "That was always my intention," star Shaun Evans told Digital Spy. "I think as it grows, yeah, I think it is treading its own path a little bit more." And with the second series starting on Sunday, we thought it was time we found out a little bit more about what could be coming. Enter Shaun, who gave us hints from romance to retirement, stranglers to shootings...
1. The end of the last series - you know, when Endeavour was shot and his dad died - will unsurprisingly have a bit of an impact on the new episodes.
"Four months have elapsed since the shooting and losing his dad, and then we pick up with my first day back. I've had four months off and I come back, and it's my first day back at the office. Endeavour's not really ready! I think that's part of where the drama of the first one comes into play."
2. Endeavour is still questioning his role in the police.
"He's always toying with that idea of, 'Am I in the right place? Is this what I want my life to be?' I think as we all are - constantly questioning. I think until you reach your mid-30s there's either a real acceptance of where you are or a resignation of where you are."
3. The Thursday-Morse dynamic is still going strong - but it's not just a father-son thing.
"I hesitate to say that because I feel like it can be kind of reductionary if you just say 'father-son, la la la'. I think it's more interesting than that. Yeah, of course, Thursday is more advanced in years but I think the beauty of these two is Thursday represents the older way of solving crime and Endeavour represents something new. So they kind of need each other. I think what's interesting about this is towards the end you get Thursday thinking, 'Maybe I'm done now'. So they're two people who kind of have to exist together in the stories that we're telling. It's an interesting dynamic. It's difficult to divorce yourself from it because you're doing it all the time, but it's certainly one of the most interesting things about the show for me."
4. Endeavour has got a wide variety of cases.
"There are some great ones, actually. The first is a missing girl who is involved in a beauty queen contest. The second one is a spooky, sort of horror story - these little girls keep going missing and it's happening in this house where we think something sinister might be going on, we're not sure what. A lot of people are willing to jump to the conclusion that it's a spooky sort of supernatural thing, but obviously Endeavour's like, 'Come on! Stop it, you nutters! There's a rational explanation for this'. The third one is a strangler on the loose, who's going round strangling women with a pair of tights. So there are some great stories, I think."
5. The new episodes are set in 1966.
"You see the World Cup. Women are starting to come into their own more in this time period, and we've really tried to reflect that. It's such a plethora of amazing things going on at that time, it would be stupid not to use them. And also, it's kind of another hook for the audience: 'Oh, I remember that'. Certainly there's a world that's there that's waiting to be used."
6. Speaking of women...
"There's a bit of romance, there's a bit of romance! I don't know how it's going to pan out... But yeah, there's a bit of romance. The girl who lives opposite is a nurse. I don't want to be ungentlemanly and speak about what happens! I don't want to kiss and tell! But yeah, she's there throughout the four of them. And it's another way of showing who this person is and seeing a different side of this person. It's easy at the beginning but I think Endeavour makes things difficult - unnecessarily so, especially with women! So we see that at the beginning and by the fourth one it's in a place where I think she's into it more than he is. Really awkward!"
7. (And by the way, Shaun wanted to make it even more awkward.)
"We toyed with the idea - I thought it would be really interesting, and the writer did too - if she's a little bit keen, she gets pregnant, but he's kind of going, 'Oh, I'm really over this now', but then she tells him that she's pregnant. Can you imagine? But that doesn't happen, only because there wasn't enough time and there was so much else going on. But imagine if he's like, 'I think we're done' and she goes, 'I'm having a baby!' It would have been an interesting way to end it."
8. Shaun doesn't actually understand all those Morse references.
"I don't get them, to be honest, no. No, they have to be explained to me, because I haven't seen them all. I've read the books, but I haven't seen all the films. But to me, to be honest, they always jar. I always think, 'That doesn't make any sense, why are we doing that?' And they sort of go, 'That's a reference', and I go, 'Oh, OK, I get it'. But oftentimes when I read it or I see it I go, 'That seems odd'. Which is cool... But whilst it's great to please the existing Morse members, I would hope for a new generation of audiences. The show can't just be nostalgic. I hate that word, but it can't just be something that is constantly referencing the past - it has to be something new. To do that, we have to engage a new audience. So you can't keep referencing the past. So yeah, it's good - let's keep that, let's please the audience that exist, but let's try to get new audiences as well and please my generation who perhaps haven't seen it. Otherwise, the show has no future. It needs to evolve."
9. Shaun is quite fond of his Endeavour suit.
"I've only got one suit and it's the first one I've had. I found it myself with the costume designer we had on the first one. It's very specific and I do like wearing it. It's an original from the '60s so I suppose, yes, that is helpful - the cut of it helps and the style of it and the weight of it helps as well. Yeah, that is important I think... I love costume so it does really help for me and I'm very specific about it - not only what he wears but how it's worn as well. There's a certain element of scruffiness to it, there's a certain element of 'lived in' to it. It all just helps to believe the story. If you're doing something from the past, it's easy to feel a distance from it. All of these things are just little tricks to help me feel it and to help the audience go with it more."
10. Shaun wasn't just up for any old crime series.
"When I came into this that was my exact thing - the world does not need another show about crime. It really doesn't. So if we're going to do it, we have to do something different, unusual and exciting with it. For us, it's a combination of factors that are pretty obvious - the fact that it does have a heritage, but that we're trying to do something new. For me, one of the winning things about this is the team involved. Everyone's always striving to do their best - all of the actors, the executive producers, the writer, the directors we get on board. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail, but it's difficult to say what one thing specifically sets it apart from the others - which is my intention, to set it apart from the others. My feeling is it's the team involved, and I think that that translates in a multitude of ways."
11. Shaun isn't counting on a third series.
"I don't want to be complacent about it. I feel lucky that we've made nine of these thus far. And I'm grateful that there's been such an audience response, but it's changing, it's evolving, it's growing. I hope that the audience allows that to happen and that they enjoy these, and when these have aired and the dust has settled, I suppose we'll have a chance to sit and assess it. But there's no idea right now to spring into starting. We need to let the dust settle and see which things work and which don't work so well. I just hope that the audience enjoy it, really, and then we'll take it from there."
Endeavour returns on Sunday (March 30) at 8pm on ITV.