By Natalie Tambini - TV Choice January 2017
Endeavour Morse is heartbroken. After her traumatic hostage ordeal at the end of the last series, his boss DI Fred Thursday's daughter, Joan - the love of both their lives - has left Oxford.
Picking up the story two weeks later, in 1967, Endeavour (Shaun Evans) is turning to whisky and Wagner to numb the pain. But when an eminent chess player is found drowned before a match between man and machine, he gets on the case.
'I know myself that if you're heartbroken, you do go out on the lash - it's happened plenty of times!' smiles Shaun, 36. 'This is the Sixties, so you are not likely to be sitting there going, "Come on, Thursday, tell me how you feel!" We have to crack on with work.'
The worlds of Sixties pop and doctors and nurses are among the other subjects in the four-part series, which sees Chef Supt Bright and PC Jim Strange return, plus Abigail Thaw - whose father, John, played the original Morse - as journalist Dorothea Frazil.
Surprisingly, Shaun has never seen any episodes of Inspector Morse, first shown 30 years ago, and isn't a fan of including lots of references to it. 'I don't want Endeavour to pay homage to something I've never seen. I might sound a spoilsport, but my ambition has been that I'd reach my generation, who had never seen Morse. I want to create my own work.
Fans, however, may notice several nods to the original series, including a face who appeared in the very first episode.
Blunt copper Thursday (Roger Allam) is in full health again after coughing up that bullet fragment - and back on his pipe. 'It's horrible,' says Roger, 63. 'During filming you might have to smoke it for two hours, by which time your mouth is like an old ashtray. Disgusting!'