The young detective finally finds romance - but, says star Shaun Evans, it ends in tears
Daily Mail, 2 February 2018
Shaun Evans is quite the tease when it comes to talking about the future of his hit crime drama Endeavour.
‘I’ve decided, in my own mind, when I want to leave the show – I’m just not going to tell you when that is,’ grins the quietly spoken Liverpudlian, who has played the younger version of Inspector Morse since 2012 and returns in series five this week.
‘Maybe – maybe – this is where we end. The last episode of this new series sees Morse and his colleagues scattered to the four winds, due to police re-organisation in Oxfordshire, and for some of the older generation of officers it could be their last case,’ he says.
Luckily, this season delivers an extra-large helping of the brilliant detective, with six feature-length episodes, rather than the usual four.
Set in 1968, they’re an exotic bunch of stories compared with what’s gone before, and reflect a feeling of upheaval at that time. With revolutions in Europe, the horror of the Vietnam War and Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech, the world was a troubled place.
The first episode, Muse, begins with the theft of a Fabergé egg from an Oxford college. It’s rumoured to have been taken by a famous criminal nicknamed The Shadow. Morse, who has been newly promoted to sergeant, investigates the case, which later involves a series of grisly murders.
In Cartouche, the second story, a glamorous Hollywood actress who is in Oxford to make a horror movie takes centre stage. She is convinced that two fatal poisonings have been caused by an Egyptian curse. In a later episode, Quartet, Morse is warned off investigating an assassination attempt at a major sporting event but carries on regardless and finds himself embroiled in a world of international espionage.
There’s even some romance for Morse, who becomes involved with a French photojournalist, Claudine, in episode three.
‘Not before time, if you ask me,’ laughs Shaun, 37, who had a string of smaller TV roles in shows such as Silk and Ashes To Ashes before making his name in Endeavour. ‘The relationship shows a different side to the character, although I can reveal it ends in tears – obviously! Morse is never lucky in love.’
He’s proud of the new season, but says while the length of it will please fans, it was tough on the cast and crew. ‘Too many episodes,’ he says. ‘Four is manageable, the six that we’ve filmed this time is too many. It’s a massive ask of the crew to work crazy hours every day for 30 weeks, taking them away from their families for such a huge amount of time.
‘I did worry that standards might have slipped because we were doing so many, and we just can’t afford for that to be the case, but I honestly don’t think this has happened.
‘You’ve got to keep standards high because there are so many brilliant stories being told out there at the moment on television and on the big screen. You can’t afford to have a below-par day.’
Shaun is tight-lipped about whether he had anyone special to miss him during filming. A four-year relationship with The Corrs singer Andrea ended in 2007 with a wave of publicity, and since then he’s kept his private life private.
But he’s happy to talk about his alter ego, and says that playing Morse – a character who was beloved in his first, more mature incarnation played by John Thaw – is an ‘odd but good’ experience.
‘Odd because sometimes he does things that you question but you know he has to do them or you won’t get to the next part of the story, the next clue. There’s a danger of compromise and it’s a fine line to tread. But it’s also good, because it’s a fantastic part and everyone brings along their top game.
‘I’ve come to realise that it’s going to be a very hard act to follow when I’m no longer playing the part, to the point where I may not want to follow it, I may choose to do something entirely different. I know I’ll be on a fool’s errand if I think I’m going to pick up something as good as this in the future.’