By Caren Clark - TV Times
It's hard to believe that it's 30 years this month since we were first introduced to the real ale and classical music-loving Chief Inspector Morse, played by the much-missed John Thaw.
And this week, the opening episode of the new four-part series of Endeavour sees Shaun Evans clock up his own fifth year as the young Detective Constable Morse, with nostalgic nods to the original.
'It's a privilege to be able to do this show. Although my ambition has always been to get people of my generation who hadn't seen Morse to watch Endeavour, we also have an opportunity to bring in more things that are synonymous with the older Morse', says Shaun as TV Times catches up with him on location in a north London hospital, which serves as Oxford's Cowley General in the show.
As Shaun suddenly brandishes a notebook, we start to get uneasy that TV's sharpest detective might be about to interview us!
'This is Endeavour's notebok, but it doubles as mine', he chuckles. 'I've always had one in my pocket to jot down ideas for scenes and because the police have one, too, I can use my own book.'
Here Shaun, 36, reveals what's in store for Endeavour and his grounded boss DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam)...
The last series ended with Endeavour's potential romance with Thursday's daughter Joan (Sara Vickers) hitting a stumbling block when she left Oxford. Where do we find him now? It's two weeks later in 1967, and Joan's loss is felt greatly by Endeavour and the Thursdays.
What's Endeavour's relationship with Fred like now?
There's tension over Joan that comes out at work and you never know how much Fred is aware about Endeavour loving her, but there's more honesty between them this time. It's too easy and clichéd for it to be just like a father-and-son thing, life is more complicated.
Any new romance for Endeavour?
He's constantly getting his heart broken, isn't he? There's always a bit of heartache, it's his 'go-to' setting and he's drinking a lot this time, but it would be nice if there was a moment of joy. What I found interesting in Colin Dexter's Morse books is that he's attracted to these femmes fatales and we honour that again in one episode and in another three of his exes are all dating someone new!
What about the new cases?
The episode we're shooting today is set in Cowley General, but the first story is about this boffinish science group and how a Russian comes over to play in a chess tournament.
Endeavour is also waiting for the results of his sergeant's exam. Will he finally get promotion?
I can't say, but there are people who perhaps don't want Endeavour in the force... There's conflict, too, because Strange [Morse's future boss] is already a sergeant. Endeavour is going to need to get cracking if he wants to be Chief Inspector eventually, isn't he?