Endeavour star Shaun Evans on partying with his pals and why he loves exploring the world...
With his strong Liverpool accent and cheeky grin, it isn't hard to see why Shaun Evans has become a bit of a heart-throb. His breakthrough came in 2002 when he played JP in Channel 4 comedy Teachers and he also starred as Daniel Lomas in BBC1's Silk in 2012. Now he's back as young detective Endeavour Morse for the fourth series of Endeavour. We sat down with Shaun, 36, to find out why he wasn't scared to take over the role made famous by John Thaw and what he likes to do while filming in Oxford...
Hi, Shaun. Endeavour is back for a new series. Did you ever expect it to be this successful?
No. But each series, we try to make it better than the time before.
Where do we find Endeavour at the start of this series?
It picks up two weeks after we left off last time because Joan [Thursday, Endeavour's love interest, played by Sara Vickers] has just left and it's better to capture them at the rawness of that rather than too much water going under the bridge. Endeavour's also waiting for his sergeant's exam results.
What can we expect from the four episodes?
Four very different stories, each of them in a very different world from the ones we've done previously. The second one is quite rock'n'roll - we have a band, there's loads of drugs in it, odd sexual encounters and then someone dies!
Did you feel a lot of pressure when you first took on John Thaw's famous role?
No, I'd never seen Inspector Morse! And I didn't want it to be a nostalgia fest - I wanted to attract an audience that would have been me. I knew very little about the old show. Then when they offered me the job, I read the books.
Do you enjoy that it's set in the 60s?
Yes, I love all the cars and all the clothes. There's something about it that removes it from the mundanity of daily life. It took me ages to find the suit that I wanted for it - an original suit from the 60s! Now it just feels right to wear that.
What would you be doing if you were young in the 60s?
I would have opened coffee shops - they're everywhere now but it wasn't like that in the 60s, so I'd be sitting on a fortune! But I'd like to think that I'd have been a rock'n'roll star.
Do you get to enjoy some fun nights out with the cast?
When the whole team is together, we always organise a little night out - we go for a few beers and have dinner. I love filming in Oxford - it's just nice to get out and socialise with everyone. It's been known to get a bit wild. I can't tell you any stories, though!
We've heard you've done quite a bit of travelling. Where's the best place you've been to?
There are so many amazing places in the world. I had the good fortune of working in both Hawaii and Australia. But South Africa is incredible. I went on safari and saw the big five [lion, elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard], plus the music's great, the food is delicious and the people are wonderful.
Do you still have anywhere left to tick off your list?
Japan, because it sounds so different. I like going to places and seeing how other people do things - how they have their coffee, how they speak, spend their time. Because then you look at yourself and go, 'Why do I do that? That's funny'.
Have you ever had any weird fan mail?
No, but I've had nice letters. When I played a character with PTSD [in 2011 film Wreckers], someone wrote to me saying, 'I work in mental health and was ready to jack it all in. But having seen the part you played, I realised I'm on the right path.' Isn't that an amazing thing to hear?
Do you get people stopping you in the street?
Very rarely, fortunately. I like just being able to bumble around in obscurity.
If you had 24 hours to yourself, what would you spend it doing?
I like hanging out with my family and friends. We'd go for a drink, have dinner and just have a bit of banter. Liverpool, where I'm from, is a great place - there's always a bit of mischief to be had!
Who would be your dream dinner party guest?
[Endeavour co-star] Roger Allam. He's a much better cook than me, so he'd have to do the cooking. He's into nose-to-tail cooking, so he uses all the parts of the animal. I probably wouldn't like that but I could have the potatoes. They'd probably be dauphinois, so it'd be awesome!