By Mary Comerford - TV Choice
Changing times in Endeavour as it returns for a new series
Time marches on, and 1968 brings uncertainty for Morse and company, who face upheaval as Oxford City Police is brought under the new Thames Valley Police umbrella, with serious consequences for the Cowley Road force.
'This is an ending of sorts, and it feels like we're all being thrown to the four winds', says Shaun Evans, who plays the intense detective and went on an emotional journey last series with boss Fred Thursday's errant daughter Joan, even proposing to her. But life's too short to mope, and he's moved forward for now.
'You can't stay heartbroken forever', chuckles the actor, comfortable in Endeavou's skin as the fifth series begins. 'There are more relationships this time - although I think, ultimately, she's the one for him. But if they do get together, of course, it won't last.'
Everyone knows how the story ends, because the original, older Morse, played by John Thaw, was famously unlucky in love. But perhaps writer Russell Lewis is finally smiling on the troubled copper. There's certainly more romance for DI Thursday, who's contemplating retirement and looking forward to spending time with his wife Win. The pair are even seen ballroom dancing, much to the amusement of actor Roger Allam, who plays him.
'Let's just say that the script oversells my talents, but I'm doing the tango, so I had some lessons. With the force moving into a whole new station, Fred feels he's a bit long in the tooth, and he doesn't want an administration job, so he reckons it's the right time.'
Whether he stays or goes, there's plenty to enjoy in this extended six-part series, which kicks off with a suitably quirky case involving the sale of a priceless Faberge egg which attracts the attention of an international thief. In another story, Hollywood glamour comes to Oxford, as a horror movie starts filming in the city and our heroes find themselves in serious danger.
'There's a big fire in a cinema and I rescue Morse - again!' explains Roger, whose old friend Phil Daniels guest stars in two episodes as his brother.
'I've known Phil a very long time, because we worked together several decades ago at the RSC and we've been neighbours in London, so it's very nice to see him.'
Viewers also get to see a different side to buttoned-up police chief Reggie Bright (Anton Lesser), who makes a rare appearance in civvies.
'Every year I've said, "Can we see a bit more of Bright's life outside of uniform?" and I've got quite a lot in one episode, which is wonderful', says Wolf Hall star Anton.
'Roger and Shaun are convinced there is no Mrs Bright, because we've never seen her, or that maybe Reggie - when he's at home - is Mrs Bright! Knock on the door unawares and he might be in a nice frock...'