Endeavour star Shaun Evans 'struggles' to understand why women are attracted to his detective character
Endeavour star Shaun Evans can’t work out why his character is so popular with women.
Across the seven series of the drama, which tells the story of Inspector Morse before he became Inspector, Endeavour (Evans) hasn’t done too badly with the ladies – although all his romances so far have either been short lived or ended in disaster.
He previously tried, and failed, to keep things going with Joan Thursday (Sara Vickers), and that was after he brutally ditched nurse Monica Hicks (Shvorne Marks).
But despite all these love interests, Shaun doesn’t get why he’s catnip to the opposite sex.
‘It’s hard to answer that,’ he said.
Laughing he added: ‘I’m trying to give a good answer but…struggling.’
In the new episodes, Endeavour might have found romance with the mysterious Violetta (Stephanie Leonidas) who he meets in Venice – but there’s a twist in their relationship which suggests this can only end in tears.
Shaun explained: ‘It’s the unattainable. There’s an operatic quality to her. There’s something slightly unreal. You could never have a proper relationship with her. It’s never gonna end happily because she’s so not of his world.
’ Having played the character for seven series now, Shaun has got pretty good at playing detective and spotting the culprit in a murder mystery.
But he would never take on the role himself for real as police work can get ‘pretty gruesome’.
‘I don’t think I would [be a good detective],’ he confessed.
‘It can be pretty gruesome can’t it? It takes a very specific, amazing kind of person to want to visit that every day.
‘Watching this show is like f***ing hell, the things the police force go through is properly extraordinary.’
Largs & Millport Weekly News
Endeavour star Shaun Evans has said he is thankful that the rising popularity of the TV show has not had a huge impact on his life.
The actor has had the lead in the Inspector Morse prequel since 2012, but said he does not have “a public” and prefers to just go home and live his life after filming.
Asked if the increasing popularity of the show has had an impact on him, Evans said: “No, it doesn’t, thankfully.
“That is another blessing about this job, it has very little impact on my life, which I like.”
He continued: “I’m not a person who has a public… I don’t have a Twitter feed, I’m not on social media and all that. I don’t Google myself.
“I just like to come in and do my job and then go home and crack on with my life.”
“But that being said, the increasing popularity is what enables us to come back and do some more,” he added.
Evans also told how he likes to stay fresh, so recently re-read the detective novels by Colin Dexter that the series is based on.
“You don’t want to be complacent as an actor,” he said.
“And what I don’t want, because this is an amazing job in many ways, but there’s also a danger that you become lazy with your work.
“And so I’ve always tried to push myself, to be producing or directing and to be doing things alongside and in conjunction with this, and then part of that is, again, in terms of not making it too easy for yourself, so you’re not just playing yourself, or that your shorthand, your way into something, isn’t a lazy way.”
He said: “That’s why it was important for me personally to read the books again, and be like, ‘I’d forgotten that’ or ‘I missed that’ or ‘That’s interesting’.”
“I suppose in short, keeping yourself interested in it, you’ll then keep yourself interesting,” the actor added.
Inspector Morse ran from 1987 to 2000, and Endeavour – which charts the early career of the young Endeavour Morse – started in 2012.
Endeavour returns on Sunday February 9 at 8pm on ITV.
Shaun Evans tells us about the new Endeavour series, falling out with Thursday, directing and Morse's terrible taste in women
By Ox In A Box
Shaun Evans is in a buoyant mood when we meet to discuss the new series of Endeavour.
Now as synonymous with the Morse stable as any earlier incarnations, he is articulate, measured and amusing.
He considers each question carefully, not wanting to be misconstrued, (his dislike of interviews is well documented), but today he is chatty and effusive, proud perhaps of what the team have achieved in this, the seventh series of Endeavour.
He cares as much about the part, as the craft, which is why he directed episode one.
“You do not want to become complacent as an actor. And this is is an amazing job in many, many ways. But there is also a danger that you become lazy with your work so I always try to push myself. You have to engage with it.”
Presumably then Morse is too easy to slip back into? “I don’t want it to be easy and I think that’s important. I want to keep learning. And that’s why I enjoy the directing. Sure there is a pressure in taking on the first episode because it sets up the whole season, but I felt ready for the challenge this time. And I’m already dying to do it again because there is so much to learn.”
He does however love spending time in Oxford, adding: ” I am very fond of Oxford. My relationship with it is so wrapped up with my work, but I love it there. It’s a great place.”
One big new development in the three part series is a new love interest which is exciting. Do tell more. “Violetta occupies a very distinct and unique place in the history of this character, which makes him the person that he becomes, and this series is a very definite stepping stone on the way to that.”
How exciting….so what’s she like? “She is a character we haven’t seen before – completely unobtainable – wealthy, flies around the world, she is incredibly enigmatic on one hand but then very available on the other.” In other words bad news.
What about Thursday’s daughter, the pair’s chemistry is always so tangible? “Not this time around. But would that work out for the best?” he asks. “Would she actually be the one that makes him happy. Do you know what I mean?”
As for Morse himself, Shaun says: “I thank its good that he’s enigmatic – that you will never know him. Successful relationships should be like that, we don’t need to know every part of someone. They are the most interesting people. And your work as an actor should be the same.
“But he has a new flat; in the first episode it still has the old wallpaper, in the second the walls are bare, and the third they are painted. So yes, there is a feeling of putting down roots and a sense of responsibility.
Shaun does however muse on Morse’s terrible taste in women adding “where would the fun be in that?” when asked if he meets someone nice in this series.
“One girl recently asked me what women see in Morse,” he laughs incredulously pretending to be offended. “He is incredibly charming though, don’t you think?”
Still, three rather than six episodes will be a disappointment for the series legions of worldwide fans? “It’s the shortest one we’ve done, and very definitely has a beginning, middle and an end. There’s way more connected tissue between them, so while you can watch them individually they are also a proper series.
“We haven’t done it this way before, and isn’t just a crime of the week scenario but invites people in. You can see more of the characters this way because they unpack a little bit more which makes things quite satisfying and richer.”
As for the plot, Shaun will only say that it’s essentially about “the nucleus of the separation between me and Thursday,” which is awful in itself, the two work mates having settled their differences at the end of the last series.
So does he still like Morse as a person? “Yes, I like him. I think there is something interesting about him. It’s hard to say because I’m playing him. But I’m happy because I think that he’s an incredibly rich character.”
One that’s impacting Shaun’s life off screen? “No, that’s the blessing of this job. It has very little impact on my life which I like because I’m not a person who has a public persona, or a profile on social media. I just like to do my job and then go home and carry on with my life.”
Endeavour Series 7 starts on Sunday 9 February at 8pm on ITV.
Radio Times - By Flora Carr
Endeavour's seventh season could spell the end of Endeavour's friendship with Fred Thursday...
Inspector Morse prequel series Endeavour may be named after the scholarly young Morse (Shaun Evans), but at the heart of the detective drama is his relationship with his friend, colleague and mentor, Fred Thursday (Roger Allam).
However, it looks like the unlikely buddy-cop alliance is coming to an end, after Shaun Evans teased that tensions may hit breaking point between the two during the upcoming series seven.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Evans explained that the new series would reveal why Fred isn’t mentioned in the original drama series Inspector Morse (starring John Thaw) or in author Colin Dexter’s book series of the same name — potentially spelling a major fall-out between the two detectives.
“In the books, and then in the later series, Thursday’s never mentioned, obviously he’s an invention [for Endeavour]. So we have to make a decision as to why that is. So we’re coming towards that now,” Evans said.
Asked about the rising conflict between the Fred and Endeavour, he added: “It’s more interesting I think when there is a bit of conflict there, you know.”
In the seventh series’ first episode (directed by Evans), Endeavour returns from holiday and is asked to reexamine a recent case overseen by Fred — and the pair have vastly different views on how to handle it.
“It’s about different ways of doing the same thing in a way,” Evans said. “And my character saying, ‘Yeah but that [how Fred handled the case] was shoddy, what you did there was shoddy’, so he’s just calling him on it really. Alright, he might be stitching him up a little bit, but…”
Endeavour series seven will premiere on ITV at 8pm on Sunday 9th February
BBC One’s new thriller Vigil has announced its star-studded cast line-up. Suranne Jones (Gentleman Jack, Doctor Foster), Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones, The Good Fight), Shaun Evans (Endeavour), Anjli Mohindra (Bodyguard) and Martin Compston (Line of Duty, Mary Queen of Scots) will appear in the six-part series.
The mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death on-board a Trident nuclear submarine bring the police into conflict with the Navy and British security services. DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) leads an investigation on land and at sea into a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
Written and created by Bafta-nominated writer Tom Edge (Judy, The Crown, Strike) with episodes by Ed Macdonald (The End Of The F***ing World) and Chandni Lakhani (Dublin Murders), the fictional drama will be directed by Bafta-winner James Strong (Broadchurch, Vanity Fair, Liar) and Isabelle Sieb (Shetland, The Athena).
The series is set in Scotland and filming is due to begin there soon. It will be executive produced by Simon Heath (Line of Duty) for World Productions and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC.
source: BBC Press Office
This year's Macmillan's Celebration of Christmas will be held the 6th of December, in Christ Church Cathedral. Shaun Evans will be a reader along with Roger Allam, Patricia Hodge and Sally Philips. A Celebration of Christmas has become Macmillan’s largest single fund-raising event in Oxfordshire.
The event will be followed by a VIP Champagne Reception, tickets for which are included with gold seats, but can be purchased by other ticket holders separately on the booking site.
Here's the trailer for this year's celebrity carol concert (with footage from last year - Shaun is seen performing with Sinéad Cusack)
Shaun Evans looks dapper in a black tuxedo and bow tie as he begins filming for the seventh season of ITV's Endeavour
By BHVISHYA PATEL FOR MAILONLINE
He stars as the young Inspector Morse in the ITV drama Endeavour.
And Shaun Evans looked ready for action as he began filming for the highly-anticipated seventh series of the detective series set in Oxford on Sunday.
The actor, 39, sported a dapper appearance in a slick black tuxedo which boasted satin detailing as he immersed himself into the unfolding drama on set.
Shaun teamed his suave ensemble with a stylish bow tie and a pair of polished black shoes.
The star appeared calm and focused as he stood in the middle of a street before falling to the ground as the drama ensued.
The dramatic TV show, which is set in the 1960s, follows the adventures of a young Endeavour Morse after he transfers to the Oxford City Police following a double-murder investigation.
The last series saw Endeavour, who had now worked his way up to the position of DS, try to re-establish his relationship with the daughter of his colleague Fred Thursday, Joan, while also trying to put down roots in Oxford.
Now in its seventh series, the drama will see Endeavour reprise his position as a member of Castle Gate CID in an new era marked by the beginning of the women's liberation movement, social progression and scientific growth.
The first episode, which begins on New Year's Eve 1970, will see Endeavour's Castle Gate CID team called into action when a body is discovered at a canal towpath.
With very few clues to help him, viewers will be left on the edge of their seats as Endeavour is tested to breaking point both personally and professionally while trying to uncover the killer.
Also reprising their roles for the upcoming drama will be Roger Allam, who stars as DCI Fred Thursday and Anton Lesser who plays CS Reginald Bright.
Speaking about the new series writer Russell Lewis said: 'The prospect of Colin Dexter's immortal creation entering a new decade is hugely exciting for all of #TeamEndeavour.
'We're always looking to break new ground, and go places we haven't been before - both physically and emotionally.
Directing Endeavour Season 6’s “Apollo” was one giant leap for series star Shaun Evans, who worked in front of and behind the camera to produce a taut, unique, and riveting episode that moved the plot and deeply moved viewers. In this excerpt from the MASTERPIECE Studio podcast interview, Evans shares details about his process and reveals how he arrived at some of the episode’s most powerful moments. Learn more below, and listen to Evans’ complete interview with host Jace Lacob.
JACE LACOB: I love the framing the shot of Morse as he comes into Castle Gate with his box and finds it empty. He’s very alone. He’s small. He’s sort of isolated. What were you trying to achieve with that specific shot?
SHAUN EVANS: Exactly what you’ve just said.
LACOB: It’s a good shot.
EVANS: Thank you.
LACOB: There’s a noir-like chase sequence involving Fred Thursday, who’s assaulted when two men jump out of the shadows at him. There are also scenes of sort of quiet desperation of him at home with Winn. What was it like directing Roger Allam in this episode?
EVANS: Incredible, incredible. I’ll take my hat off to him. He’s such a wonderful actor and a dear, dear friend now, as well. As indeed are all of the cast, but especially Rog. And we have a very similar way of working: both of us care deeply about our work, but both love having a laugh, and have got a sense of humor. Roger is also a producer on the show, as well, and so we both care deeply about it. Having known Roger now for a few years, I had a sense of what he would require as an actor. I think the best way to work is to create an atmosphere where everyone can do good work. So if you create an atmosphere of lightness and joy and freedom to be creative, then you’re halfway there. If you’re clear about where the characters are going in the scene, then there’s a freedom, and the scenes sort of the play themselves. If you’ve got actors like we’re lucky enough to have on the show, who come in—all of them, to a man—with their lines down, with a sense of the scene, with an idea of where they will be coming in and out of, where they’re going, and again with an openness to somebody having a different idea, and to being a part of the whole piece rather than it just being about them, then it’s a really easy working relationship. Also, because we have a history, I know their heart is in the right place and they know my heart is in the right place, as well. so it’s not. It’s very simple in a way you know. Let’s have a line run, this is where I think people are coming from…should we have a little rehearse, and play with it? Yeah let’s do it. Okay someone’s got a better idea, let’s try that. Sure, let’s do that instead. It’s an openness, really and also you know, just not making it about you, we’re making it about the story, making it about the scene. So Roger’s incredible. They all were.
LACOB: This episode involves multiple murders, mistaken identities, wife-swapping, key parties, new age therapies…
EVANS: Oxford, baby.
LACOB: The craziest of the crazy, to me, was Moon Rangers, the Thunderbirds-like space puppet show which is so weird and retro. What was it like filming these bizarro Thunderbirds-esque sequences?
EVANS: Incredible. I mean, I knew nothing about that… my childhood cartoons were like, Thundercats, so I wasn’t really into supermarionation (is what it’s called). So I sought the guidance of an expert who was incredibly helpful, who showed us how they would have used the studio and how the puppets would have been shot and how they move and how to get the best out of them. Worked incredibly closely with this this guy you helped us that. What particularly love about this story is that you’ve got the moon, this epic: guys going to the moon. So that exists on that one macro, huge level. Then on the middle level, you’ve got us, the characters, inter-playing and doing their normal stuff. And then on a micro view of this these puppet characters also working on a moon base. There’s something about it, those three things, which I just find kind of intoxicating.
LACOB: And the moon, of course, signifying change, and waxing and waning.
LACOB: The perfect sort of macro metaphor for this entire season, and this episode particularly.
EVANS: Exactly, exactly! But also, it’s just a fascinating thing, isn’t it, the moon? I’m endlessly fascinated by it. Yeah, so I was just delighted with it. That just that idea of loneliness, as well, which I think speaks about this character, particularly. There’s just something about it which is pleasing.
LACOB: I think there’s another beautiful moment in this episode when Morse and Thursday discovered the old black Jaguar at the shop and are told that it’s had its day and will be turned into scrap and spares. How much of this is as a knife to the heart for Thursday?
EVANS: It should be, but I also think it’s representative—that’s what I was trying to achieve. Thursday has just been beaten and…This is a guy who was in the army, who fought in North Africa, and then got beaten by these two guys. And then you’ve got this barely new officer in this new nick saying “You just sit down now, you sit this one out” or, you know, “you’re on light duties”…He’s being put out to pasture. He’s being told he’s past his sell-by date. So I think so it’s symbolic, really: you get this Jag which is not past its sell-by date, just being neglected, as someone’s putting it out to pasture. So it’s to do with that, really.
LACOB: Even when they’re not past their prime, there’s still use to them. They still have utility. It’s like Fred Thursday—there’s still a lot of good left in him.
EVANS: That’s exactly what I’m trying to say…It’s him, in a way.
LACOB: I mean, if anything represents him, I think it is that car, that says so much about him. I thought that was a heartbreaking moment.
EVANS: Good. Good.
LACOB: The final shot of “Apollo” might just be my favorite. Morse in his car listening to the moon landing on the radio, in front of the Radcliffe Camera, the moon overhead. There’s just this sense of innate, intense loneliness and isolation embedded in the single image. What was the idea for this shot composition?
EVANS: Exactly that, to be honest with you. Going back to the film director I was talking about, Tsai Ming-liang, I remember reading an article with him—he was saying…that “people who like my movies are the same people who like to look at the moon,” and I thought, God, that’s interesting. And I don’t know if anyone can relate to this, but I frequently look at the moon, and there’s a sense of that weird feeling that you can’t put your finger on, of being a part of something but also being separate from something, because it makes you feel tiny. And I suppose that’s what I wanted, really. I think it’s helped enormously by the music, which was not difficult, but took us a while—it was kind of easy because Matt [Matthew Slater] is a brilliant composer. I just wanted everything stripped away, so you just have one thing, one note on a piano, which is painful. And it makes you think you know you got the Thursday family a home doing their thing, and of course things aren’t great, but they have each other. And then, you have this person alone, in the car, in Oxford, lonelier than the man on the moon. Because that’s his fate. That’s what I was trying to do with it.
LACOB: Was that shot as scripted? I seem to remember Morse asleep in the back of the police car in at least one draft of Russell’s script for this.
EVANS: Yeah, there were a few: that he’s in the station house, and then he’s sleeping in his car because he can’t bear being in the station house. Two things really, two reasons why that changed: the time of the landing, he likely wouldn’t have been asleep at 8 o’clock (or whatever time, I can’t remember specifically, now). So that was problematic. Also to get the shot that I wanted, it would have been tricky to have me asleep in the back of the car and or in the front of the car. Also, again, it’s about being clear about what you’re trying to achieve, right? I want to achieve exactly what I’ve said, and exactly what you’ve picked up on. What I didn’t want is for it to end, and for people to go “Why is he asleep in the back of his car?” You know what I mean? But to be, hopefully, moved by the moment. So we spoke about it and decided to make the change.
LACOB: I think it’s a good change, because it is a momentous moment for mankind, and to see him sort of alone, adrift, not in space but just as sort of lonely and lost. I think was very touching.
EVANS: Oh good, I’m glad. Thank you. Also, it raises questions as well: if he’s listening to that on the radio, he can’t be sleep in the back of the car. If he is asleep in the back of the car, why has he got the radio on? And if not, if neither of those things are true, then where’s noise coming from, you know? So you have all these logistical, practical questions as well.
LACOB: Looking at “Apollo” as both a director and an actor, do you have a favorite scene that stands out to you?
EVANS: Yeah, I do, there’s a few things that I love, actually. Are you supposed to say that about your own work? Yeah, well whatever anyways, I do. I love this montage sequence in the middle. Because I’m an actor, as well—and I always try to do this, in all of the work that I do or have done up to this point, as much as you can—is to nick, or steal, little private moments with the character, so you get to see them when no one else is there, and you get an insight, a little chink, into how they’re feeling about something. I always try and achieve that, even if you’re in the middle of a scene, there’s many many ways of doing it. What I like about this is, I love the scene where Thursday comes in, his wife is listening to some music, so we get the sense that she perhaps is having a romantic involvement with someone else, he just looks up the stairs—he’s on his own in a room—he looks at the stairs, the music is playing in the background, and we read on his face that he is devastated about this.
Then, we have Mrs. Wingqvist meditating. Because this speaks to this idea of going to the moon—to me, in a way, kind of a pointless road trip to find meaning, and these people going to the Single Way Institute, or meditating, or being part of a swingers party, going within to find meaning. So we have this girl—I really liked this—where she’s meditating, she’s trying to find some degree of peace. But you can see on her face that there’s something troubling, and at the end she opens her eyes and then we cut to the brother and sister, who are all lost in their own thoughts as well. We’re nicking private moments with them. It’s so incredible, I think, to be afforded the luxury of that over 90 minutes. If you have to squeeze something into, like, a TV hour, you don’t have the time for that, whereas one of the things that I particularly love about this show, I feel very fortunate about, is that you have the time to let things breathe, to not say everything that needs to be said, but actually to visually tell a story, rather than hitting it over the head. So I love that section of it. There’s like two seconds that I think are hilarious, where Strange is talking to them, the brother and sister are sitting there, and she says, “I took Miss Susann to bed” and he goes, “Oh, I see. Where can we find Miss Susann?” and he misinterprets that it’s a book. She’s an author. I love that moment. There’s a few lighter, funnier moments I really like as well.
[the title of this post is from the original text published on the author's site]
By NATALIA KUTSEPOVA 05 Jun 2019 PopMatters
When Shaun Evans was recruited to play young Morse, he had been acting for over ten years, yet it's Endeavour that's likely his magnum opus. In this interview, he discusses the defining work that not only allowed his acting talent to blossom but also nurtured his natural storytelling ability.
The connection is terrible, the hum and the crackle a memory of rotary phones and heavy receivers, of analog, slow time.
Hello, my friend, how are you?
We're with Shaun Evans, a British actor who plays the title role in ITV's Endeavour series. Endeavour is a meticulously crafted, slightly subversive prequel to Inspector Morse (1987-2000), a beloved crime-drama series based on Colin Dexter's detective novels of the same name.
By 2011, when Evans was recruited to play young Morse, he had been acting for over ten years, yet it's Endeavour that proved to be his magnum opus - a defining work that not only allowed his acting talent to blossom, but also nurtured his natural storytelling ability. As the series progressed, Evans quickly earned the job of an associate producer and eventually got his wished-for moon: the opportunity to direct Endeavour. His is "Apollo", the second of the four episodes of season six that airs on PBS this month.
Here Evans, a figure quite untypical for the high-profile television milieu, speaks of his creative process as both an actor and a director, of his (somewhat confusing) relationship with the character of DS Endeavour Morse, his earnest reluctance to live a celebrity's life, and his aspirations as a storyteller, which include writing and photography as well as acting and directing. In conversation, he is mercurial, unafraid, reactive, and - though hospitable - an island.
[Note: The moustache, being a very obvious/drastic change in Endeavour's appearance, seems to have hijacked 99% of popular discussion about season 6. Ever since the moustache appeared, Shaun had been asked about it in every single interview, without fail.]
This is not a question about the moustache...
One great thing about doing something long-form is that you can afford to change and open it up, you know? A person grows; nobody stays the same. So I think on a purely facile level it's just something new. [laughs] It's also something to do with Fancy's death, and with becoming a person that you weren't before.
A hair shirt of sorts? Self-punishment, no?
Yeah. Yeah, I think you're right. That's probably an element to that too, subconsciously.
You assumed parallel duties of acting and directing in season six of Endeavour; this was your first time directing yourself, too. Viewers, in general, tend to have a vague idea of what directing entails and how it's spliced together with other filmmaking roles - those of a writer, producer, production designer, DP, etc. As a director, what is it, exactly, that you do?
Basically, you have a script - along with the rest of the team. Everything is a collaboration, no one works in isolation, even the writers don't work in isolation, everything - when you're doing stuff for TV or film - is a collaboration. As a director, ultimately you see the script, and as the script is being reviewed and then re-drafted, you have ideas on your take on the script, a sort of outside point of view, which can then be incorporated in further drafts as the story progresses. Before you begin shooting, you hopefully have a kind of overall view of the film that you want to create. You then make a decision about locations - again, like I said, this is not in isolation, it's a part of collaborating - but you make decisions on both locations and on the choice of the cast and the guest artists and also on the costume.
You make all those decisions up front, run them by your team, and then you get to shooting: on each day you prepare where you're going to shoot, what the action is that's going to take place, how it's going to take place and how you can cover the scene in-camera. Again, you do that as part of a collaboration with people working on the shop floor, the DP and camera operator and the actors.
When that's finished, you assemble the material that you've shot and work in collaboration with the editor; you change scenes around, you change shots around. You have a fresh pair of eyes on what you have shot, to see if it's still in accordance with decisions you had at the beginning, though very rarely is that the case: oftentimes, something new will happen and you'll see a new avenue and follow that if it's more interesting than the original idea. Of course, you then work with the editor, and with the executive producer at that stage as well.
After that, you work with the composer: you watch it - well, this is how I tend to do it - silently first and stop at points where you feel there should be music, or there should be something to either help the story along or to give it bit of a background to help tell the story from a sonic point of view. The composer then goes away and does his work, you sit and review it, and then - in this case we went to studio in Abbey Road where the Beatles recorded some albums! - we recorded it with the full orchestra. You put that on and you're constantly tinkering again in collaboration with executive producers, and then you present it to the world and hope that people enjoy it. That's the director's point of view.
[Note: Evans directed the visually stunning "Apollo" that juxtaposes - painfully, in high relief and with use of puppets - humanity's reach for the moon and that same humanity's smaller passions, eventually prompting an ever-important question of which is the larger of two. Endeavour's production design has always been impeccable, but in "Apollo" the environment is elevated to a language rather than just a well-crafted background. The effect is slightly, yet unsettlingly, surreal; one of its visual vehicles is the very dramatic use of red in the frame.]
As an example of your involvement - who is responsible for the reds in "Apollo"?
All the red colours? That's part of your preparation; you're trying different things out. Some directors work this way, some don't. And that's marvelous, that all works, but I think you have to take responsibility for the visual way you're trying to tell a story, and that includes a colour palette, which will help you to tell the story in the way that is akin to the vision you had at the very beginning.
So, in our case, you work with the designers and say well, these are the colours that I like, this is the colour I think that should be, this is the atmosphere that I'm trying to create and I think that could be helped with this colour or that colour, you know? But then, each director gets to do that with his own film. It's not set.
It seems that some of your scenes in Endeavour were self-directed well before you assumed the director's role.
To be honest, I think if you're a good actor, then you're kind of directing the scene anyways, in your mind - or at least you're directing the character that you're playing: he would do this, I imagine I will come in from this entrance and I would say it in this way. Likewise, if you're a good director, then you've acted out each of the scenes and each of the characters' parts in your head anyway. So, I think, they go hand in hand.
I am always open to collaborating with the director that comes in. You want someone to tell you something: if you're self-directing as an actor, in isolation, I think it's kind of problematic. Just given the fact that the story is called "Endeavour" and I play, obviously, Endeavour, you have a strong sense - or, at least, I have a strong sense - of what's important in each of the stories and what's important in each of the scenes, where I've come from, where I'm going to, just really on a narrative level. So, of course, if I've done all that homework, it limits the options: you know what the scene's about, you know the most efficient, the most interesting way to tell the story, and so you are kind of... oh, I don't know, it's tricky what I'm trying to say now. It's not like you're self-directing, but you do have a strong idea of something. Of course, I'm always open to another way of doing things, but I guess you have to come in with an idea yourself in order to then be blown away by someone else's. That'd be easy though!
Do you ever argue with the director about, say, your vision of a scene?
Oh no, I never argue! Yeah, I will give my opinion, but I will always listen to their opinion as well. There shouldn't be a hierarchy; one solution should always present itself and make sense. For example, someone says, "You should come in from here", but it's not compatible with the scene that you haven't shot yet which you're shooting in three weeks' time, where you know that you're coming from somewhere else, then it makes sense.
The director has an enormous amount of things to think about, and if you're playing one part, then what you have to think about is different, and you think about it in a different way. A good director will allow actors - and every department, actually - the room to do their own work. There shouldn't ever really be cause for argument. There should be always cause for discussion though. I think, argument is good in one sense, inasmuch as you can really wrestle with "is this the right thing, is that the right entrance, if that's the right thing to be focusing on?" It's good to have a discussion - sometimes a frank, robust discussion - about it, because then you come to the truth of it, you know? And that can only ever be a good thing. But there always must be dialogue. I never argue.
The episode that you directed ["Apollo"] though second in series 6, was shot first. Looking from the outside, the quality of your self-awareness as an actor has been slightly new ever since. How did directing change your view of yourself as an actor and of other actors?
I've been directing for three or four years now, and, I think, it's not that you see yourself differently... as you grow, you understand the new way of doing things. But... yeah, I suppose it modifies [your outlook] and then, hopefully, your work evolves. My hope would be that your work as a storyteller evolves regardless of which hat you're wearing, do you know what I mean? Then you do it in a more precise way, so perhaps. Perhaps that's the case. Perhaps not as well, I don't know. But I also think that it should be something that's never visible.
Each of us is a cluster of information bits projected into the outside world. This is also true for fictional personalities, if they are articulated well enough. DS Endeavour Morse certainly is by now, thanks to Russell Lewis [Endeavour's writer] and you. Is he a job, separate, well-controlled thing? Or would you say that his personality exerts influence on you now?
That's a really good question! ... What I would say is... [pause] Thank you, first and foremost, for the compliment. My goal has always been - since I started acting nearly 20 years ago - to make each of these lines on a page into a living breathing character that has hopes, and dreams, and fears, that people can then relate to. I see that as my task. And you do that by your imagination. I don't believe in a sort of mystical - this is just me, personally - "being" you create which then can influence you. And, I suppose, this goes back to the question you asked me previously as well about [my] ambition as a storyteller.
The more you direct, the more you see the economy of a gesture. You become technically more proficient when you're watching things; you just need to do one thing in order to tell that part of the story. I don't need to create so much as an actor, I don't need to do... oh, I'm not being very clear. Perhaps it's not clear to me. Hang on for a second, let me just think about it. [ten seconds of s i l e n c e] You hope, as an actor - or I hope, as an actor - that you create the environment where you can do work that is believable and potentially inspired, right? So, you're not thinking about it too much. You put your mind into a different place. What would I want to achieve in this, what would I... ? So your mind is occupied with something else.
You couldn't allow... I mean, a character couldn't come and... Oh, I don't know what I'm saying. I'm just talking shit now. [laughs] I don't know what I'm saying anymore. Maybe it's not very clear to me. Yeah, perhaps it's not very clear to me. I don't really think about it too much, to be honest with you. [laughs] I don't really think about it, I just do it!
That's an answer enough! You used to say that playing Endeavour required effort to not just let it go and "play yourself". Does that still stand?
Yeah, it always requires effort, without a doubt it being because we're very different, d'you know what I mean? The character, the part and myself are very different. I suppose - going back to the moustache - it's another manifestation that, at this point, it shouldn't be too comfortable. If it becomes too comfortable, then it easily becomes boring, and it becomes boring for me. That's why you have to keep pushing yourself and keep challenging yourself both as a director, as a producer, and as an actor as well. You have to, even if it's not there in the writing.Fortunately for me, in this case, it is; but I'm involved with the story throughout the year so by the time it comes to shooting, things are in place and the story is advanced enough that it never feels like you're playing a character. Eeeee, you're playing yourself, you know? I feel like you should always be looking for the differences rather than similarity.
I'm not that interesting, bloody hell! This is a way more interesting character in a more interesting set of circumstances than myself, you know? And, I think, a good worker... [pause] I don't really want to be seen. I want my work to be invisible. So you just crack on, you just believe the character, you just believe that that person's there... I know you watch me on TV and whatnot, but I don't really want people to see me. If that makes any kind of sense.
It does make sense, yeah. Even though, having watched you work, I would say there's a little bit more of you in him now than it used to be... but I might be mistaken. You haven't taken an acting job outside of Endeavour for four years now, and I think there were only *two since 2012, why?
Well, I know that's because... I really love acting, I think it's an amazing job, but I've begun to be interested in different ways of telling stories that didn't involve me physically. As a result, I knew that I wanted to produce and direct more, and the only way to do that - I knew that ultimately wanted to direct an episode of Endeavour! - is to pay your due diligence and go and do work, so you learn your trade, you know? You're going to keep learning your trade, so I purposefully created this... I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where, as soon as Endeavour finished, I could go and learn how to direct on a different show for the BBC, and I was afforded that opportunity.
It takes you a long time to learn and to get good at a thing, you know? You have to keep practicing and keep practicing, so I filled the time in between Endeavour with directing, which was an amazing experience. I think, like I said earlier, it's the two sides of the same coin; if you learn to tell the story both as an actor, and a director... and a producer, then you are still telling a story. There's something about it which just works for me. It felt like a natural evolution.
Don't get me wrong, it'd be nice to play - I am kind of looking for something now, another part to play, but I do feel like time is precious and you ought to look for where and what is going to challenge you. After working all day every day - after what I think was 20 weeks or 30 weeks, or however long it takes to make Endeavour - I felt a bit exhausted... not exhausted, exactly, but I just felt, what would be the next thing, what would be challenging? I've just been acting for 12 hours a day on that job, for 20 weeks straight; what would challenge me and push me? So, I'm throwing myself into an environment which doesn't make you feel comfortable, like directing. Directing other actors, learning how to speak to the crew, and how to set up shots and all that - I felt more scared by that, I felt more daunted by that, and I thought... whoa, these are the things that make you go and do that.
What's your visual "home", or homes, if any? A visual space that you feel an affinity with, perhaps, be it a movie, or a director's style, or an artist's vision that's close to your heart?
Oh, that's a good question. Again, look, I think inspiration is everywhere, and we're all, each of us - whether we know it or not - completely influenced by so many things. There are a few directors [whose] work I admire greatly; likewise, there are a lot of writers [whose] work I admire greatly, and photographers. I suppose, for me personally, that's always been...
The first time I ever had a job was in a camera shop! So I've always been incredibly interested in photography for two reasons, really. I think, when we talk about economy of storytelling, that could be the best way. If you can tell the story in one picture, or a selection of pictures, that is a sort of a precursor to the work that we do anyways, so when I prepare my work as a director - and sometimes as an actor as well, and occasionally as a producer - I always have a visual sort of template. I may be inspired by one particular photographer, but for whatever the job is, I bring hundreds of photographs,'cause that speaks to me more and it's an easy way to articulate whatever it is you're trying to create yourself. There's hundreds, there's really hundreds of photographers that I really like. Yeah - this, this, this, this, and this.
Speaking of photography, The Liverpool Art Book project has shared your contribution online recently; is this is the first time your artwork is being shown in public?
Yeah. This is going to change. But I'm kind of very private about that because I think, like I said earlier... I love photography and I love working, but prior - up to this point - I always felt like you have to keep a little bit of something for yourself, you know? And both photography and writing I really enjoy as my own pastime. Now I feel like I would like to make exhibitions and perhaps make a book.
That's something I'm up for doing next, to make an exhibition and make a book of the prints that I've done. Or even just a little book, perhaps, of short stories... and maybe the photographs would be accompanied by short stories. The reason I want to do that is because everywhere I go I always have a camera with me, and always have a notebook and pen. There's something very simple about it, about having that complete agency over your work as a storyteller.
I suppose, what I seek now after being in the middle of a big team of people for a long period of time - which is wonderful! - is just singularity and a bit of agency over what I do: this is the story that I want to tell in these words, and this is the story that I want to tell in these images, or, this is how I see this particular thing, you know? Just as me, just as a person. This is my take on that, this is an idea that I have - without having to turn it into a film or a TV show, or a play, or whatever. But just as an offering: there's my offering, my take on this.
So, the Liverpool art book... Originally, they asked me for a quote. They sent me a couple of pages of the book and asked me - because I'm also from Liverpool - if I would be interested in making a quotation for it. And I said, yeah, cool, no worries, but sent them a selection of my photographs instead. Actually, I was in Liverpool a couple of weeks ago, so I just shared it with them and they were like - yeah, amazing, we'll include this in the book, is it OK with you? So I thought well, it's happened so swiftly and fortuitously that I should just embrace it, run with it, you know?
Wonderful. I would like to say that your photographs are particularly terrific.
Thank you so much. This is really really appreciated.
Oh, yeah. They're wonderful. Wonderful.
Is there a special significance to the photograph that you contributed to the "Liverpool art book"?
There sort of is. I was thinking about the story that I was writing, a story about a soldier who returns to Liverpool and has a sort of connection to the river and water. I did it because Liverpool is my home; I don't live there, but that's the place that I go to when I need to just have a bit of time for myself, see my family. There's something about returning to the source.
So my idea - or the thing that I was toying with - was the source of that particular river, its tributaries, and where it begins... I was doing a bunch of research into that and thinking how that would fit in with both how I see why Liverpool itself, as a place, is useful and important to me, and how it could be important to this character that I was thinking about having in the story. So I frequently went down to just see the river, and like I said, I always have a camera with me. So I was just compelled to take some pictures and then make something out of it, you know? It's all just evolved; it was kind of like a sketchbook for the story I was writing, to be honest. [laughs]
What camera do you use for everyday shooting?
A Leica... It's a film camera, I've got a Leica M3 and a Leica M6, both of which I always have on me. Both of them are film; one I tend to use more for black and white and one I use for colour, and then I develop them myself. Yeah, just a little Leica with a very simple lens. I don't want to be bogged down with all the equipment and all the different lenses, I just think - get in and get out, you know? What camera do you use?
A Canon DSLR. Everything happens in post. I do love film, but the last time I developed a roll myself was when I was ten years old. Should, maybe, get back to that.
[laughs] Ah, but you do what works for you. Each has pros and cons, I think.
You are not using social media at all, but how is it with you and media in general? News, politics, popular TV shows, whatever else is current? It can, I suppose, get very loud - to the point where you have to shield yourself from it...
I'm kind of selective about what I choose to expose myself to in that regard, but I think it's incredibly important. You can't work in isolation, like I said, I feel like I'm always consistent about collaborating and talking about big and little things. It's important to any storyteller to be a part of their time. As to me, I do do that, I'm very much abreast of current affairs. And the world interests me. I love being in the world. [laughs] I love being right here right now, that's a part of telling stories, part of writing, part of photography, part of being an actor, part of being a director, it's all about understanding the times, so yes, I do keep abreast of that.
I've sort of flirted with Instagram and Twitter and all that, but it's probably only purely from a voyeuristic point of view. Like I said, what I'm interested in is for people to just enjoy the work. Whatever medium it takes, it's good to just enjoy the work and perhaps get something out of it or perhaps not. But for me personally, it's not a means to... it's not for me to be... I'm not sure how to say this. I don't need attention. [laughs] I would like my work to get attention, and of course there's some degree of yourself that you have to put out there in order to facilitate that, to make it happen, but I'm not interested in letting people know about what I had for breakfast. I just choose to live that way. But I'm also very much a part - and that's not answering your question, is it? - yeah, I know what's going on in the world, I suppose is what I'm saying. I think that's important.
Was there anything today, even if very small, that made you look, made your heart skip a beat, but you haven't told anyone about it yet?
You know what, today, to be totally honest with you, has been a magnificent day. I got up super early, went into town with my camera to take a few pictures on my way to a talk that a photographer was doing... Susan Meiselas, she's just won the - I don't know how to pronounce it! - the Börse prize. I don't know if she won it? Yeah, I think she won it. In any event, she was opening an exhibition and doing a talk this morning, so I went into town early to see that. And as I got into town, the light was just particularly incredible, it kind of was amazing.
Right after that, I went for a coffee - just to get a bit of breakfast 'cause it was, probably, 8am - and I was planning a trip. I'm going to go on a trip soon, and I was planning it in my notebook, and then [it turned out that] a guy at a counter lived there, at the place where I was going to go. And It was just beautiful too; I ended up asking him what it was like there and if he could give me any tips. It was one of those amazing mornings. Everything had a flow.
Oh, and there's a stray question about "Apollo" that I wanted to ask. Last one - and a bit of a teaser for the American viewers who are yet to watch the new season. There is a scene with Joan Thursday in which DS Endeavour Morse goes completely outside of his character; we've never seen him like this, ever. What's behind this?
As I said, everything is a part of a collaboration. That particular scene was written - and we shot it - two seasons ago. There's something which happened in the story, and we shot it in a very different way (we were in a car). We shot it, but when it came to the crunch, it didn't fit into the story. Everyone thought it was a little bit too bleak which, to be honest, I agreed with. And then it turned up again, almost verbatim, in my story.
I thought, maybe there has to have been enough water under the bridge between the two of them that it would warrant that level of aggression. So we shot it and then, in the edit, I toyed with having it in and, I then took it out to see if it would work without it, and it worked equally well without. I did feel like it would be nice to keep them moving on. Not everything needs to be explained. It's good to surprise. Sometimes I surprise myself, we all surprise ourselves and we surprise each other, right? So, you know, why not?
" Are we good, my friend? Have to shoot," says Evans but forgoes no courtesy as we pick up loose ends. He asks, among other things, about this year's run of the project I've worked on that distributes an unofficial Endeavour calendar in lieu of donations to War Child. He helped by signing a few copies, which made for a spectacular increase in contributions. Fame - though an ill-fitting word in Evans' case - at work, in the way that won't damage a state of not being seen. His goodbye wishes are many and warm, as if to equip one for a long journey. Yep, we are good.
*1. Sir Richard Worsley (Lady Seymour Worsley husband) in The Scandalous Lady W (Sheree Folkson, 2015), an 18th century drama detailing the scandalous life of Lady Seymour Worsley,based on Hallie Rubenhold's book, The Scandalous Lady W: An Eighteenth-Century Tale of Sex, Scandal and Divorce.
2. Tom, a government official in War Book (Tom Harper, 2014), a drama depicting eight government officials act out their potential response and decisions in a simulated war game scenario in which escalation of nuclear threat between India and Pakistan leads to nuclear war and quite likely the end of the world.
Season 6 of Endeavour airs on PBS stateside mid-June. Season 7 - likely to be the series' last - is set to begin filming in late summer.
Having chanced upon Endeavour in early 2017, I became very intrigued by Evans' performance and, as a photographer, felt compelled to study his process of character creation the best way I knew how - by taking pictures. Nina Kharchenko shared my curiosity; we began visiting the set of Endeavour in Oxford to photograph the filming two years ago. In the fall of 2018, an exhibition of our behind-the scenes photos ran at the Jam Factory in Oxford. The exhibition was titled "Endeavourneverland", and we share the pictures on social media under the same name; we are, one might say, a tiny creative collective. The images for this article were taken during the filming of series 6 in August and October 2018.
ITV Press Centre
Morse returns for a seventh series of Endeavour.
ITV has confirmed that hit detective drama Endeavour has been recommissioned for a seventh series. The announcement follows critical acclaim and consistently strong viewing figures for the most recent series.
Produced by leading indie Mammoth Screen in partnership with PBS Masterpiece, the successful series charts the early career of the young Endeavour Morse, played by acclaimed actor, Shaun Evans. The new set of films will see Evans reprise his role alongside celebrated star of stage and screen, Roger Allam as mentor DI Fred Thursday.
Written once again by Russell Lewis, who has penned all of the 27 Endeavour screenplays to date, the new series will be set in 1970 and production will begin later this year for transmission in 2020. Filming will take place in Oxford and the surrounding area.
Creator Russell Lewis says: “We’re thrilled ITV has asked #TeamEndeavour to continue to add to the Casebook of Colin Dexter’s immortal creation, and take E. Morse and Oxford’s Finest into a new decade of decimalisation, package holidays, the Oil Crisis, Blackouts, Three Day Weeks, and Europa Endlos.”
Mammoth Screen’s Managing Director, Damien Timmer added: “We’ve been thrilled with the response to Series 6 – it's testament to Russell Lewis’ continuing cleverness and also the brilliant partnership between Shaun Evans and Roger Allam as Endeavour Morse and Fred Thursday. The 1970s are calling us, and we can’t wait!”
Head of Drama at ITV, Polly Hill commented: “We’re incredibly proud of Endeavour and delighted to have recommissioned the drama for a seventh series. Writer and creator Russell Lewis continues to engage viewers with carefully crafted stories for Endeavour and Thursday as we move into the 1970s. We’re grateful to the production team at Mammoth Screen for continuing to deliver such a high quality drama.”
Recently voted the fourth greatest British crime drama of all time in a poll conducted by Radio Times, the drama has gone from strength to strength since its first outing as a one-off film in 2012. The latest series launched with a consolidated audience of 6.9m and a 27% share, marking Endeavour’s biggest audience since 2014.
Mammoth Screen’s Damien Timmer and Helen Ziegler will act as executive producers for the seventh series, alongside writer and creator Russell Lewis and WGBH’s Rebecca Eaton. The new set of films will distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment internationally.
ENDEAVOUR 2019 star Shaun Evans has been as sharp as ever during the sixth instalment of the Inspector Morse saga. However, with the series coming to an end this evening, will there be another?
By Charlie Milward - SUNDAY EXPRESS
Shaun, 38, has starred in the leading role of Endeavour Morse since the prequel to Inspector Morse (played by John Thaw) began on ITV with a TV film in 2012.
Six series later, Endeavour (played by Shaun Evans) has continued to crack some tough cases, with the fourth and final of the current episodes coming to a conclusion this evening.
The finale will see DI Morse and his partner Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) investigate the murder of a librarian which leads to some shocking fallouts as the case spirals into something much greater.
Ahead of the final episode, Endeavour star Evans has spoken out about the future of the show and has revealed whether viewers can expect to see another series.
Speaking to Radio Times, Evans revealed it was unlikely the series would continue all the way through to 1987, where fans of the original Inspector Morse series saw the late John Thaw’s portrayal of the detective come to light.
Explaining the decision not to follow through with the timeline, Evans said: “No. We won’t do that.”
Teasing the return of his younger portrayal of the DI, the actor revealed there would only be another series “if we reached the destination of the story in this series".
“If we felt that we’d seen it all, then we all have to be brave and say, we’ve done that now,” Evans added.
Although Evans revealed the show won’t tie in with the crossover to Inspector Morse, future series' could see the detective step into the 1970s and the early 80s, with viewers seeing further challenges the DI had to face before Thaw’s time.
With the current and previous series set in the 1960s, seeing Morse as he matures even further could reveal more about the character's past.
The sixth series saw Evans also step behind the camera as the star of the show directed the second episode of the current block.
This isn’t the actor's first directing credit as he also took on an episode of BBC medical drama Casualty in the past.
If the detective drama were to come to an event after the current series, Evans admitted he would continue with directing alongside his acting career.
With the potential of another saga of crimes for Morse to uncover, the sixth instalment began with an expected twist as the Endeavour and his mentor Thursday were seen working alone after the previous series saw them solving crimes side by side.
Thursday actor Roger Allam, 65, spoke about the sudden divide between the characters which saw his character demoted as he was sent to work away from the Oxford City Police division.
“Morse starts off in uniform in Woodstock. And Thursday is at a new station; he’s been bumped down a rank, and he’s under the command of Box, who’s a younger, aggressive Sweeney-type, shall we say.
“He’s tempting Thursday with bribes, with a bung. Obviously, he’s in a bit of a vulnerable position, and so he’s tempted by Box with that,” Allam explained to Radio Times.
However, the split was brief as tonight will see the pair tackle another case, with the synopsis for the episode reading: “The detective investigates the murder of a librarian, and suspicion immediately falls on two professors connected to each other by a seemingly innocent college bequest.
“As Endeavour and Thursday dig deeper, they uncover a web of professional and personal rivalries, and a series of broken promises with a grim connection to the Holocaust.
“There are further casualties in the recent series of heroin-related deaths, and Strange is convinced that a larger criminal conspiracy is at work as evidence emerges of a link to the murder of George Fancy.”
Endeavour concludes tonight at 8pm on ITV.
Shaun Evans directs what may be Endeavour's best episode to date in Apollo.
DEN OF GEEK – contributed by Gem Wheeler
July 20th, 1969: Apollo 11 makes its historic landing on the Moon’s surface. As a turbulent decade draws to its close, one lone figure takes one giant leap for his species, watched by millions huddled around black-and-white TV sets. And, in an ancient city back on that distant homeworld, another man is returning from a very different kind of isolation, only to find nothing quite as he left it.
Endeavour’s in its sixth series now, a point at which most shows find themselves floundering a little. Characters, no matter how well-crafted, begin to exhaust their potential; scenarios, however compelling they may once have been, start to lose their intrigue as plot threads fray into irrelevance or are brutally cut. It’s a tough line to tread: paying due respect to established relationships while giving the treasured snowglobe just enough of a shake to keep things fresh.
Apollo, the second film in series six, is a masterclass in how to do just that. Even after all this time, Endeavour – both the show and the character, it transpires – is still in the game.
The deaths of up-and-coming astrophysicist Adam Drake (Ben Wainwright) and his girlfriend Christine Chase (Katie Faye) in a car accident seem, on the face of it, to be tragic but uncomplicated. Appearances, however, can’t pull the wool over the indispensable Max DeBryn’s eyes for long. Drake certainly perished in the crash, but the pattern of lividity on Christine’s face indicates that she didn’t die at the scene. Endeavour and Fred develop a theory, nurtured by DCI Box, for whom every case is an open-and-shut-job: or at least, one that’ll close with a well-placed thump. Drake killed the girl for reasons unknown, then crashed his car deliberately in a tidy murder-suicide. Stranger things, and all that.
Mechanic Mac (Ross Boatman) puts a spanner firmly in the works with the revelation that Drake’s brakes had been tampered with. It soon emerges that the car wasn’t his, but had been borrowed from his colleague, Larry Humbolt (Sargon Yelda), who, along with his volatile wife, Isobel (Sophie Winkleman), attended the party Drake and Christine attended on the night they died. This divided couple, along with the party’s hosts, Elliott Wingqvist (Oliver Chris) and his languid spouse, Natalie (Alice Orr-Ewing), present a youthful, glamorous side of Oxford’s academic life that swings, as it turns out, in more ways than one.
Drake’s rising star had also hitched itself to another booming business: television, and more specifically, a sci-fi puppet show – lovingly, and delightfully, recreated here – that bears more than a passing resemblance to the works of the legendary Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. When Morse questions Jeff and Hildegard Slayton (Matthew Cottle and Mary Stockley) about Drake’s role as scientific advisor on their popular programme, it soon emerges that the womanising scientist wasn’t quite as clean-cut as he appears. As marionettes inch their clumsy way across a replica lunar landscape, their small steps manipulated by husband-and-wife team, Eric and Marilyn Gidby (Robert Hands and Terenia Edwards), a grimmer picture develops.
Scandal in Oxford’s leafy suburbs, Morse in fine sleuthing form, and a last-minute twist that upends our cosy assumptions about guilt and innocence. So far, so Endeavour, surely? In theory, yes. In practice, Apollo is perhaps the series’ finest hour to date. Everything just works: Russell Lewis’s script, poignant and pointed; Matthew Slater’s score, best described as out of this world; and, above all, Shaun Evans’ superbly stylish direction. Endeavour’s always been fortunate in its directors, but its leading man’s stint behind the camera is a true standout. With an eye both detached and empathetic, he shows us just what can be achieved when an actor, with a unique perspective on characters, cast and setting acquired on the other side of the lens, gets the chance to call the shots.
Not content with helming one of the series’ finest episodes, Evans also reveals new depths of light and shade in Endeavour Morse. The delicate, bookish youth of the early days has been through quite the wringer, and it shows. The morose stare, the chippy, take-no-prisoners wit, the suppressed rage. Fresh, yet familiar, because we’ve met this Morse – or rather, an older version of him – before. The man John Thaw came to embody is taking shape before our eyes, yet the transition’s been seamless. There’s a nice gag in the mortuary, when DeBryn bids both Fred Thursday and Endeavour farewell. “Inspector. Morse.” He will be, soon enough.
Most impressive of all is the breadth of the characterisation here. Fred, struggling wordlessly with Win’s emotional distance; Bright, cut to the quick by the mockery of his subordinates, and so touchingly responsive to a little kindness; Strange, attempting to hide his covert investigation into Fancy’s murder from Morse, and failing miserably; Joan, eager to prove her worth in her new job and infuriated by Endeavour’s resentful sarcasm. Like the constellations Humbolt points out to his eager kids, Flora and Matthew (Sasha Willoughby and Gabriel Payne, a delightful picture of sibling solidarity), each star burns with its own brightness, now and then dimmed by some inner turmoil, the patterns of their motion only visible from a far distance.
There’s a wonderful moment when Morse first encounters Gabriel Van Horne (Blake Ritson, all inscrutable charm) in his pristine sanctum of new-age codswallop, favoured by Drake’s smart set. Morse jumps at the sound of women screaming in unison, only to find a room full of adepts practising their primal yells. It’s a deliciously unsettling jolt in an episode full of pleasant surprises, and expertly releases some of the tension that’s been steadily building.
The bleached-out sterility of the cultish surroundings is in sharp contrast to the inky darkness of that later memorable night on which we leave Endeavour, and on which three men, far from home, face their destiny as a certain someone’s future crossword clues. Flora, safe now from her wretched parents, tells him of a Cherokee legend, that of the Moon-Eyed People of North Carolina, who could only see by night. Perhaps he’s one of them, she wonders aloud.
Perhaps she’s right. Or perhaps it’s that lonely sun, still in the ascendant, that guides him on his way.
THE CUSTARD TV - Contributed by Will Barber-Taylor
1969 was a definitive year for world history. Richard Nixon assumed the office of President, Sharon Tate was murdered by Charles Manson’s “family”, also both Woodstock and Stonewall hit the headlines. And man landed on the moon. The Apollo 11 Moon landings are both the backdrop and centre of this riveting episode of Endeavour.
As the Apollo spaceship is preparing to land on the Moon, the newly returned to CID Detective Sergeant Morse (Shaun Evans) is called out to an apparent road accident. The death of Professor Adam Drake (Ben Wainwright), a prodigal astrophysicist, and a mysterious woman (Katie Faye) by his side soon catches the attention of both Morse and Thursday (Roger Allam). Whilst at first glance it looks like a simple accident, things take a more dramatic turn – both Drake and the woman have been murdered. Morse and Thursday are soon drawn into a world where high science meets low morals and where illusions are everything.
Transferred from uniform to CID, Morse begins Apollo by attempting to find a role for himself in the new City station. Assigned to be evidence officer by DCI Box (Simon Harrison) he feels as if all his work has resulted in him going around in circles – that he’s ended up back where he started as he suggests to Dorothea Frazil (Abigail Thaw). The echoing theme of renewal is one that is felt throughout the story and seems to be an underlining theme of the series itself. Russell Lewis is often at his best when he is disrupting the status quo and replacing it with something new.
This is particularly true in Apollo and some of the best moments in the episode are reflections on the change of circumstances for Morse and his friends. Lewis understands that great drama comes from change and he hammers home how different things have become – Morse’s relationship with Joan Thursday (Sara Vickers), Thursday’s feelings about the police and the atmosphere of the new Oxford City Police Station. Lewis elegantly plays on the ambiguity of Morse’s position within the station to create drama not only between Box and him but also between Thursday and him too. Some elements of Morse’s character, his frustration over seemingly not progressing through the ranks of the police force and his desire to fight against Box’s domination of the station, are indicative of the “angry young man” that filled late 60s plays and films. This is an interesting and engaging twist on the character – Morse has always disliked authority but Lewis projects this into a new direction that hasn’t been seen before.
The acting throughout the episode has to be greatly praised, particularly from the main cast. Shaun Evans, as always, manages to give a top class performance as the titular Endeavour Morse. As I’ve previously said, Endeavour has a great deal of anger and regret in him in this episode and Evans channels this perfectly. His performance roots the whole episode and his quiet determination to solve the murder of Drake is one which drives both him and everyone else along.
Perhaps the best scene in the episode, however, is a short one between Roger Allam’s Fred Thursday and Anton Lesser’s Superintendent Bright. Bright and Thursday reflect on the future – the astonishing feat of man landing on the Moon and how Alcock and Brown’s trip across the Atlantic seemed impossible. There is a true sense of melancholy in the scene – both Thursday and Bright feel as if they have been cast aside and that they can no longer be of any use. Bright expresses this by how depressed he feels to have discovered that he is a “joke”. Thursday consoles him, saying that his Pelican Crossing campaign will save thousands of lives. Bright’s expression of renewed purpose makes this scene truly outstanding. Both Allam and Lesser play their parts to perfection and there is a real bond of friendship between the two old comrades. Both have felt as if they are no longer needed – that they are on the shelf. Yet through shared pain comes a determination to succeed. Both Allam and Lesser are excellent actors and they make this scene not only memorable but truly real. Shaun Evan’s excellent directing understands this, and he perfectly films this scene, understanding when to cut between each actor. The combination of superb acting, thoughtful writing and dynamic directing allow it to be a work of pure art. Both Allam and Lesser are superb and should be praised for their efforts on Endeavour and for their contribution to this episode in particular.
As with many actors, the ability to direct is developed and refined through their own experience. Many actors are also excellent directors and examples of them directing shows that they’ve starred in are frequent. Warren Clarke showed excellent flair when he directed the Dalziel and Pascoe story “For Love Nor Money.” Shaun Evans shows just as much skill and capability as any other director. From the opening shot of the Moon to his use of it as a closing shot, Evans creates a distinct and dynamic feel to the story particularly his use of circular visual storytelling and of emphasizing space and lack of it. As I said earlier, his directing of the scene between Bright and Thursday is pitched at the perfect level so that there is a balance between his directing style and their own individual emotional tics which allows the scene to play out realistically and with a truly insightful organic nature.
Apollo is a further excellent development of Russell Lewis’s plan for Endeavour. The series, as a whole, is like a great tapestry and one which you could easily spend hours looking at each section. It has a dramatic beauty of its own, regardless of whether it is looked at as a part of something or as an individual piece. Apollo combines excellent directing with superb acting and a sophisticated and sublime script which makes you want to watch is as often as possible. It is, simply, a classic.
Endeavour’s leading man Shaun Evans on directing his co-stars in this week’s episode…
By Caren Clark - TV TIMES
As brooding DS Endeavour Morse in ITV’s classy 1960s-set crime drama Endeavour, Shaun Evans spends much of his time looking pretty gloomy!
But, thankfully, when TV Times catches up with him at ITV’s London HQ for an exclusive interview, he couldn’t be better company as he cracks jokes and grins infectiously while telling us about the fun he had, and the pride he felt, directing an episode of the show for the first time.
‘I’ve learnt more about Endeavour as a character by having a different directing head on,’ explains Shaun, 38, who, here, with the help of some exclusive on-set photos, takes us behind the scenes of this week’s episode, Apollo…
Taking the helm
‘It was good seeing my name as director on the clapperboard,’ says Shaun. ‘I enjoyed every minute. But I didn’t want to make it all about me like some egomaniac!’
This is Shaun’s first time as director on Endeavour, but he has directed episodes of Casualty in the past.
‘It felt like I was prepared and I knew what I wanted,’ he says. ‘I was editing at weekends during the filming of the rest of the series, though, so it was Endeavour-tastic! But I knew that by the end, we’d achieve something I hadn’t done before, which I could be happy about.’
Two jobs at once
‘I love discussing the story and being in every scene,’ says Shaun, who clearly enjoyed juggling his two jobs of acting and directing for this week’s episode.
‘You have to be efficient with your time because you’re doing two different things, but I knew where the character was and how we would tell each scene from a technical point of view.
‘It changes how you do both jobs for the better. I want to carry on doing acting and directing if I’m lucky enough because I learnt so much from this and there are things I’d like to get off the ground myself.’
Pulling the strings
‘Having puppets added to my directing challenge because you shoot them differently,’ says Shaun of the marionettes that feature in this week’s episode.
‘They were made specifically for us. It’s good because it also reflects the idea of the story of, “Who is pulling the strings?”
We look at the moon landing this week, too, and there’s just something about that epic scale compared to the micro-world of the puppets.
‘We took a lot from the colour palette of the night sky, and it definitely made me think in a different way visually.’
Behind the ‘tache
‘Those are my own sunglasses!’ reveals Shaun.'That was a really hot day and I was having a break. Our costume designer Molly Rowe had the idea of Endeavour wearing darker shirts this year, which I like.
‘That ‘tache was there for long enough, though, thanks! It’s gone now but it was fun having it,’ adds Shaun of Endeavour’s new image this series, which reflects the changing fashions of the time.
‘That car belongs to one of the people at a racy party that the victim attends in this week’s episode. There are several cars and keys involved, so we had to be specific about who had the various keys in each scene. Tina Murray, our script supervisor, and I both had notebooks to keep track!’
‘It was amazing directing my mates because we already have a shorthand,’ says Shaun. ‘They’re all at the top of their game and the best actors around. I know what atmosphere to create for us all to do good work together and they wanted it to be the best for me, too. They’d disagree if needed or be open to things as well, so it was joyous and we had a laugh.’
Shaun admits he did put Roger Allam aka DI Fred Thursday, through the mill!
‘For one scene in this episode, Roger was beaten up,’ says Shaun. ‘He wore padding initially, but I said, “What do you think about taking that off?” He was willing to remove it and take a pounding from the stuntmen. He is awesome – I can’t speak more highly of him.’
‘Shaun’s a natural’
Roger Allam, Anton Lesser and Sean Rigby what their co-star was like as director…
Roger Allam (DI Fred Thursday)
‘There’s always collaboration with Shaun, whether he’s directing or not, so it was fantastic. He was on top of the material and moving from behind the scenes to in front of the camera seemed easy for him. Did we take the mickey out of him? Good lord, no! Well, probably yes!’
Anton Lesser (CS Reginald Bright)
‘Shaun is terrific because he has a passion for it and wants to do more. He’s very clear because he knows what actors need to hear and what they don’t. It was great watching him work and he’s such a lovely guy, so everybody was helping him achieve what he wanted.’
Sean Rigby (DS Jim Strange)
‘Shaun was brilliant. I don’t know where he finds the energy – he has limitless patience and creativity, and there are no half measures. His attention to detail as an actor has transferred to his directing and in every scene he knew what he wanted, so it was a smooth experience. He’s a natural.’
Episode 2 - Apollo
As the highly-anticipated moon landings of Apollo 11 draw near, Endeavour, now at Castle Gate CID, finds himself investigating the death of promising young astrophysicist Adam Drake and girlfriend Christine. Their deaths seeming to be a result of a tragic car accident on first inspection, but when the clues start to point towards foul play, Endeavour enlists the help of an injured Thursday to uncover the truth.
A visit to the Oxford observatory where Adam worked uncovers professional and personal tensions between him and colleagues Elliott Wingqvist and Larry Humbolt. However, when Larry reveals that the car Adam was driving actually belonged to him, Endeavour and Thursday have to rethink their focus.
It seems possible that the sabotage has missed its intended target, and attention turns to a new-age group of which Drake and his colleagues appear to be members. Claiming to offer lifestyle guidance to the thriving middle classes, the group seems more like a cult than a support team, and he suspects leader Gabriel Van Horne knows more than he’s letting on.
STV interview with Shaun Evans who discusses season 6 of Endeavour, the changes in Morse's life and the reasons for the new moustache.
WITH AN ACCENT By Valerie Parker
Endeavour returns for its 6th season tonight on ITV in the UK (and 16th June on Masterpiece on PBS in the US), and the season sees a new situation for Morse, Thursday, and the rest of the now-defunct Oxford City Police as they’ve been scattered to the wind in the wake of restructuring. After last week’s TCA Winter Tour Presentation we took the opportunity to ask a few questions of series star Shaun Evans.
In a glimpse at Season 6 of Endeavour that was shown during the presentation, it becomes pretty clear that while Morse, with his strict moral code, has long been able to rein in what one might say were the less-savory aspects of Fred Thursday’s behavior (read: his willingness to get a bit rough with someone he’s interrogating), the fact that the two are no longer working directly together, and Thursday has been assigned to a division that includes coppers we know are unethical from their appearances in Season 5. So where does that leave Morse and Thursday now?
“I suppose they’ve never been further apart,” says Evans, and continues the discussion, referring to the story that plays out from the end of Season 5, when their colleague George Fancy was murdered, and the culprit remains at large, with the team vowing to continue their investigations even as they are pulled apart professionally. “Ultimately, they need each other in this. If that continues apace, they need each other in order to fulfill the next level of their obligations.”
“I also think it’s never been a more honest relationship,” he continues. “That’s what I’ve noticed in the acting at least. It’s never felt more honest and open and we’ve never connected as much, so my hope is that that comes across in the story, which I think it does.”
The other dangling thread at the end of Season 5 was the kernel of a hope that Morse would finally find love (albeit doomed, as we know from Inspector Morse that he remains a bachelor indefinitely) with Thursday’s daughter, Joan. But it doesn’t sound like we’ll be getting even a happy interlude anytime soon. Evans expressed his desire for an unsatisfactory union for the two when discussing the subject during the panel, but he claims he’s been met with resistance when pitching the idea. “You know, why not get together and then it’s if, like I said, to be a nightmare. For it to be not what you thought it would be, do you know what I mean? Like I think there’s something particularly heartbreaking about that rather than, oh they just won’t get together. You know what, who knows? We haven’t at this point and who knows.”
Evans has also long discussed the importance of keeping the series fresh and engaging, and that he isn’t someone who would want to stay in a series indefinitely. He’s even recently alluded to the fact that the series could soon be coming to an end. When pressed on the subject, he’s very blunt. “We constantly have story meetings about all of this. And I think, there are lots of ways to take the lead from me, so no one’s gonna force anyone to do something more than they want to do. And I think, it should be imagination and intuition [that keeps driving the story forward]. So, if you feel as though it’s done, then I don’t know, then it’s gonna be a feeling rather than ‘OK, he needs to have done this and have x-amount of money in the bank’ or whatever, do you know what I mean?”
“I’ll be honest in this story, there’s no two ways about it, I wouldn’t sign [a contract] for any extended period of time so you take like all, well, I did, on a season by season basis. Also the story should dictate not an arbitrary number of seasons to make someone else… to sell someone else the story. And I think that there’s a very concrete thing which happens at the end of this particular season. I think it could potentially be an ending but we’ll just have to see. We’ll just have to see.”
SUNDAY POST Written by Bill Gibb
IT has become one of ITV’s biggest hits, an annual staple that’s sold all over the world.
But Shaun Evans, star of Endeavour, has told us he can’t believe it’s still going strong as it begins its sixth series tonight.
“I really didn’t think I’d still be here,” admitted Shaun, 38. “You never know in television, so I feel very lucky.
“At the end of each series we never take it for granted that we’re going to be back.
“So if we’re fortunate enough to get recommissioned, we sit down with a cup of tea and have a chat about what’s good, what’s bad and if there’s still a story to tell.”
The series is the second spin-off from the hugely popular Inspector Morse, played so memorably by John Thaw.
Kevin Whately spent years as Lewis, Morse’s former sidekick, set in the present day.
And Endeavour is all about the young Morse, making his way through the ranks in the 1960s.
Although he plays the title role, Liverpudlian Shaun insists he can’t feel the weight of expectation on always having to come back lest the whole thing wouldn’t happen.
“I honestly don’t think like that and it’s important not to,” said Shaun.
“Work as an actor can be few and far between and it should be a joy.
“I want to feel that when I come in each day and I can’t have the responsibility of anyone else’s living.
“I don’t think other people think like that either.
“But I know the lead actor can set the tone for everyone and I think that’s incredibly important.
“I’ve been on sets where I’ve had less to do and the atmosphere hasn’t been great.
“I know the environment that works best for me and for other people is to be serious about the work but still have a laugh.
“It’s a team effort rather than one person calling all the shots.”
This new series begins in 1969, following the dissolution of Oxford City Police and the merger with Thames Valley Constabulary at the end of the last run.
It means the old team have been scattered, with Endeavour reluctantly settled into a sedate way of life at an isolated countryside outpost and his boss DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) also uncomfortable in his new position.
Hanging over all, still, is the tragic unsolved murder of DC George Fancy.
One of the big things viewers will notice is a change of look for Shaun, who sports a very-60s ’tache.
“Of course I grew it, it’s not stuck on,” laughs Shaun.
“I actually had a beard when we started filming, so I just shaved that off and then didn’t look in the mirror for six months.”
There are four very different investigations this time round, all reflecting the period and with the moon landings as the backdrop for one.
Some of the attitudes of the times are quite shocking and Shaun says he’s glad they are highlighted and not shied away from.
“The writer does a very good job of showing the things that, rightly so, we’d find unpalatable now.
“But it doesn’t feel ham-fisted or that you’re getting a moral lesson.”
Shaun gets behind, as well as in front of, the camera this time as the director of one of these four new episodes.
“I’ve been doing that for a few years but Endeavour is the first time I’ve directed something I’m in,” said Shaun, who also has a role as a producer.
“I think the key to it is just being as prepared as possible. You’ve got to do your homework and you’ll know how you want to do it.”
And with no guarantee that the show will return, he always has other possibilities on his radar.
“If other jobs come up, Endeavour have been really good at accommodating it,” said Shaun.
And he reckons he knows at least one reason for the series’ enduring appeal.
“I think we all like the idea that everything will be all right in the end,” he adds. “Something terrible happens but it’s OK, it’s going to get sorted.”
Endeavour, ITV, tonight, 8pm.
SUNDAY EXPRESS - David Stephenson
There’s a dramatic change in tone for viewers when we meet Endeavour in the sixth series of ITV’s hit drama. The Inspector Morse prequel has taken a darker, more ominous and more intriguing turn than before. But its days may be numbered, as we will reveal.
Shaun Evans, who plays Endeavour, says: “The intention was to pull the rug from under the characters and to put them in uncomfortable situations, leaving them humiliated.”
The new series certainly does that. For the first five minutes of episode one you can’t quite tell what’s going on. Cowley police station has closed and its happy(ish) band of detectives have been given lesser roles.
Although Lewis Peek’s DC George Fancy was shot at the end of the previous series, there are still familiar faces in the new Thames Valley Police Station. Roger Allam returns as Endeavour’s partner and mentor Fred Thursday. Yet people are uneasy about what the future holds, if indeed they have a future in the force, and this includes Endeavour himself. He now has a ‘tache, which is very 1969, when the series is set. But he is also wearing a police uniform, having been demoted to a common-or-garden sergeant working in a tiny village. He has effectively been sent to Siberia.
Who can bring this happy band back together? Judging by the first episode, the situation is rather hopeless. But it makes for a gripping, tense drama.
Shaun, now 38, inhabits Endeavour in much the same way that John Thaw did, with grit and compassion, dogged by unrequited love. The character is famously dreadful at relationships, after all.
The advantage of making a prequel is that we know where we are heading and what will await Endeavour when he eventually takes his rightful place as a detective chief inspector at Thames Valley Police Station.
Jim Strange is already in place – a future superintendent in the Thaw era – and he finds himself investigating the death of his colleague George Fancy.
Not only does he have connections with the Masons but there is also more to his police role than meets the eye.
Liverpudlian Shaun has grown in stature along with the young Endeavour, showing a broad acting range while giving continuity to a character we know so well.
And with each series, he and writer Russell Lewis manage to add new dimensions to Endeavour and, most importantly, tell a good mystery story that is a challenge for both him and the viewers to solve.
But first of all, we must talk ‘taches. “It was good shaving it off”, Shaun reveals, “and it’s not coming back! It was just after the last scene and off it came.
But it was kind of fun. And I liked the idea of doing something that takes it a little bit further away from you. And it was good for him to be in uniform too. It was a sign of low status.”
And the reaction back in Liverpool from family and friends? “’Oh God, what is that?’ kind of sums it up!”
Evans has even directed his first episode. It’s a big achievement but he appears taken aback when I ask if it was his dream to both star and direct.
“Do you know,” he begins with characteristic modesty, “I’ve never really thought about it. It’s amazing, yes. And I’m lucky. It’s incredible.
“I just always hope that I’ll work and I continue to hope that. I never thought, ‘Oh, I’d love to do that’.”
What next? A feature film, perhaps? There’s a very long pause. “I just love telling stories. And I wouldn’t like to limit myself saying, ‘I’d like to do that next’. I want to be open. I just feel totally blessed right now.”
It’s not his first outing in the director’s chair. He says: “I got to do two stints in Casualty, which was incredible. It’s been an amazing experience to do Endeavour, right from start to finish.
“It’s also been nice to put into practice all the things I had been learning along the way watching others. We’ve had some terrific directors. I wanted to put my own stamp on it, too.”
And he adds: “There’s something about having two jobs that makes you do each one very economically – which I think is very useful moving forward. And I think that I will do more. This is really the beginning for me. It’s not a novelty. Fingers crossed, I hope other chances will come along.
“But it’s just storytelling. For both. The great thing is that because you’re in the majority of scenes and you’re leading the story through, you have a sense of what’s important in a scene. As an actor, you’re picking apart the script anyway.”
But might this be the end? Shaun Evans’s silences appear to give it away. “It just depends on so many things… viewing figures… whether it gets recommissioned, however many we want to do… and how much story there is left to do. I think we should let the story itself dictate that.”
Could you make it to 10 series? There’s a longer silence. “I just think it’s important not to stay beyond your welcome.” But would he like to bring it to 10 series? “No.” Better prepare some emergency Kleenex.
WITH AN ACCENT - By Valerie Parker
Season 6 of the Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour is due to hit ITV in the UK starting this Sunday, 10th February, and Masterpiece Mystery on PBS in the US on 16th June. To celebrate that fact, PBS brought Endeavour Morse himself, Shaun Evans, back to the TCA stage to give us a look at the series ahead.
The biggest change this year, and one that is right there in your face (and Evans’ face, literally) when you see promotional material for season 6, is the mustache our hero will be sporting as Endeavour moves into 1969. So what does Evans think of his new addition (which was shaved by the time he hit the TCA stage)? “I’m easy. I don’t mind it, I don’t mind it. I like it. I think it’s cool. What I think is terrific opportunity wise, if you’re telling a longform story, that you can change a little bit, and the audience will go with that. I also like it as an idea as a sort of metaphor for not being able to look in the mirror or try to change yourself in a way. Yeah, I like it. I didn’t really think too deeply about it, to be totally honest with you.”
“It was born out of a conversation with myself and the writer and the exec, Damien, just on an idea,” elaborates Evans, on the genesis of Morse’s Mustache (TM?). “Because at the end of the last series, Fancy, a character called George Fancy dies, whom I was a mentor to. And the last time we see each other, we have cross words. Then in the scene afterwards, I say to Thursday, ‘You know, I could have been kinder.’ And he says, ‘Well, who couldn’t?’ When we pick up in the beginning of this series, the time in between, it’s weighed quite heavy, the guilt of that. And so it’s an opportunity to be a bit more down on it, if that makes any sense.”
Along with the death of Fancy, last season saw the breakup of the department as their police station was shut down, and the characters were scattered to the wind, all while vowing to work together to see that Fancy’s death is investigated. That means the partnership that has been a cornerstone of Endeavour since its first episode, that of Morse and his mentor Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), is broken up, and in the clips shown, it was clear there is a strain there. “In this one I think it was important for the rug to be pulled from everyone and to take the characters, all of them, into a place which is humiliating, both professionally and personally as well. At the end of last season, the station closes. Everyone is scattered to the four winds, and the death of Fancy hangs over everybody. So the arc of this series is everyone coming back together to sort out who killed Fancy. You get to see everyone in different guises and different scenarios. You have to keep pushing things, I think. You have to keep pushing things in order to keep it interesting. Change is the only constant, right? So they have to keep changing. We can’t keep playing the same thing. We can’t keep playing the same relationship. So I think it was born out of that, you know, just to kind of keep it interesting.”
As for the relationship many want to see blossom, that of Morse and Joan Thursday, Evans may not be the ship champion fans would hope for. “I think, well, it’s tricky, isn’t it,” says Evans. “Because it wouldn’t be interesting if they were happy. I think it would be good to have a moment or an opportunity for him and Joan to get together, this is what I’m fighting for, but I just don’t think it’s getting any purchase. If they had a moment or a night of passion and then, the next day, woke up and was, like, ‘Oh, is that it?’ and it’s just not what he thought it would be, I think that speaks more to someone who is just destined to be alone rather than a will they/won’t they kind of vibe. They’re complicated. I guess they’re complicated characters, right? So it would be difficult to hold down a relationship. And also, I think, if they were mediocre at their jobs, then they wouldn’t get anything done, so you wouldn’t tune in every week. So they need a sort of devotional element to how they consider their work, I think. And that means a singularity of mind, a singularity of purpose, which doesn’t leave much room, I don’t think, for relationships.”
You’d think with 5 seasons (albeit, British seasons, so they’re a bit on the short side) under his belt, there might be a dearth of challenges for Evans, but this season sees the star take his first crack at the directing side of things on the Endeavour set with an episode entitled “Apollo.”
“It was an extraordinary experience from start to finish,” says Evans of the opportunity. “I’d been directing for a few years prior to that, but it was the first time I’ve done anything that I was in. And it was extraordinary because you realize what you can achieve if you’re prepared and if you’ve got a good team around you. The challenging thing was because we shot it first. We shot my episode, the one that I directed, first. And then I did my edit in the post production over the weekend while we were shooting the next three episodes. So that was challenging, only in terms of trying to keep a couple of stories in your head at all times and to give every moment its full weight and attention. But it’s, like, an extraordinary opportunity, and I just wanted to make the most of it. And it was an amazing experience.”
As the series continues, and the Morse we see in Endeavour comes closer to the Morse fans knew from Inspector Morse (played by the late great John Thaw), it’s inevitable that fans look for similarities growing in the characters. But if they are happening, it’s not due to anything deliberate on Evans’ part. “I still haven’t seen him, to be totally honest with you. And that’s purposeful, and that’s with a huge amount of respect because I know they will be brilliant when I do get around to watching them. I think, if there is any similarities in terms of the character, then that needs to be born out of the writing. And I don’t think it’s, like I think you would be shortchanging the audience if you were to come in and do an impression and to start morphing into something else. But with, obviously, an enormous amount of respect to all of the things that have gone prior to it because my first port of call was the books and the imagination and I still want all of that now, you know, as we draw to a close.”
On the changes we’ve come to see in Morse’s character over 5 seasons of Endeavour, Evans has this to say, “I think he’s way less idealistic and probably slightly more realistic now about it. I would like to think he is less than a loner and knows that he’s got people who have got his back at work, that you can open yourself to rely upon people. Maybe that’s true for me as well. Perhaps that’s true for me too. But maybe that’s just a thing of growing old, you know, getting older. You realize that it’s not all about you. It’s about a team, and it’s about working together to sort something out and to have a bit of humility, I guess, in it all. I would say it’s probably the same for the both of us.”
Endeavour airs its four-episode sixth season on ITV in the UK starting 10th February, and PBS will air the season from 16th June.
OXFORD MAIL - By Katherine MacAlister
Endeavour is back for a sixth series, kicking off on Sunday, and this time Shaun Evans is making waves on both sides of the camera.
With a newfound moustache, a countryside outpost and a shot at directing - it’s all change.
But the Walton-born actor, who will reprise the title role of a young DS Endeavour Morse for a sixth time, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Uniform, tache, I’m up for it!” quips Evans, 38, who has led the ITV crime drama - written by creator Russell Lewis - since 2012.
Following the dissolution of Oxford City Police and the merging with Thames Valley Constabulary in season five, the latest instalment, set in 1969, sees the team finding their feet in various new roles.
“Endeavour is back in uniform and on his own out in the sticks,” Evans elaborates. “He’s been stationed in a one-horse town in the countryside and he’s fairly isolated as he’s the only policeman there. But he’s quite happy.[???]
“Everyone has been cast to the four winds,” he adds. “Thursday (Roger Allam) is at the new Castle Gate station, Bright (Anton Lesser) in the traffic department and Strange (Sean Rigby) is also in a new role.
“There’s a lot of change and we see the reaction to this change,” explains Evans, who reveals the force is still mourning the loss of DC George Fancy, who was murdered at the end of the last series.
“Their relationships with one another is completely fractured though and the first episode is about seeing where everyone has landed in the interim, and finding their way back together.”
It’s a reshuffle that has allowed the show to introduce a “whole new raft of characters,” which shakes it up and allows it to go in a new direction.
As for Shaun’s new, well-groomed facial topiary, he laughs and says: “It wasn’t my idea! But I try not to think too deeply about it; I just didn’t shave my top lip.”
Taches aside, Evans has four brand new cases to solve in series six - each divided into a feature-length film, but the second episode marks the star’s first series directorial.
“It’s great acting and it’s great directing, so if you can mix the two it’s a joyous experience, and to be forced to approach things in a specific way was good for me, personally. It’s a good time for TV and for storytelling, in general,” he elaborates.
Hinting about further series, Evans concludes: “I think it’s important for us to get together and have a chat about it, just to see what the story is, see where the story goes because Endeavour is a blessing.
“But you want to make sure that you’re only going to do it if it’s going to be amazing.”
Shaun Evans reveals the inspiration behind his new Morse-tache – and just how long the character will be keeping it…
RADIO TIMES - By Huw Fullerton
The sixth series of ITV’s Endeavour is full of change, with the former Cowley CID split up between different police stations, Shaun Evans’ Morse back in uniform and the 1970s approaching fast – but perhaps the most notable change of all lies on Evans’ upper lip.
Yes, this year DS Morse has grown a moustache (or Morse-tache) after series creator Russell Lewis encouraged Evans that it was time for a bit of a shake-up.
“It warms your top lip, if nothing else,” Evans told RadioTimes.com on the set of series six, where he also confirmed that the moustache was all of his own making.
“I had a beard so it was just a case of shaving it down to a handlebar…no I’m joking!” he laughed. “It’s not too bad. I’ve had it for nearly six months now.”
However the germ of the idea for Morse’s new look apparently came much earlier in 2014, when Evans grew a moustache for a part in a play and sparked an idea in Lewis.
“I was in a play in Chichester, called Miss Julie,” Evans recalled. “And as we’re all friends, Russ came to see the play. Had a chat afterwards, la la la, forgot about it.
“When it did all wrap up last year, myself, Russell and [executive producer] Damien Timmer got together as we do at the end of every season, and had a chat about what we felt was good and what we felt could be improved upon.”
Lewis’ idea, according to Evans, was that following the death of young officer George Fancy (Lewis Peek) in the previous series there should be a visual shift for Morse’s character to signify his inner change – and a simple way to show that to audiences was to have Evans grow another moustache.
“Russ said to me, ‘I’m thinking to really hit home after Fancy dies, and you’re out in the sticks on your own, that maybe there is a transition that takes place and you are trying to be something different,’” Evans told RadioTimes.com
“‘Or you can’t look at yourself in the mirror and you’re trying to style it out in a new way’. I thought it was a good idea so I said ‘Yeah OK, let’s do it.’
“It was Russ’s idea, not mine, and I was more than happy to oblige,” Evans concluded.
When Evans’ Endeavour Morse is reintroduced in episode one, his new uniformed look combined with the moustache makes for quite the change – but while it doesn’t take too long for the detective to find his way back out of uniform and into CID, fans might have to wait a while longer before they see him clean-shaven again.
RadioTimes.com can confirm that Evans keeps the moustache until at least the fourth and final episode of the new series, which he was filming at the time of our visit. Whether he’d retain the look in another series is less clear, though it’s worth noting that original Morse actor John Thaw always played the part clean-shaven, suggesting that it’s not a style the character remains fond of for long.
For now, though, you’d best get used to the Morse-tache – because for the next few weeks, it’s not going anywhere.
Endeavour airs on ITV on Sundays at 8.00pm
DAILY MAIL - by Tim Oglethorpe
Warren Beatty isn't the first person you'd think of as a role model, but Endeavour star Shaun Evans says the Hollywood rogue, [...], is his inspiration.
'I hung out with Warren and his wife Annette Bening when I was filming Being Julia with her – one of my first jobs, when I was about 22 – and it had a big impact on me,' he recalls.
'I was inspired by the example they set, by how they got things done, how they worked, how they still got access to good parts while preserving a bit of themselves for themselves.
'People say, 'Shaun, you're so cagey about your private life,' like I've got something to hide.
'But I just value my privacy and if I didn't have that, I wouldn't be able to do my work.
'I was influenced to conduct myself the way I do by Annette and Warren.
'We know very little about their life together and that means I'm not thinking about Annette when she performs, I'm just being blown away by her work.
'The actors I like most are those who have an air of mystery about them, who don't make themselves bigger than the story they're telling.'
'I've tried to be like that myself.'
To the extent that he's largely retained his anonymity, his plan seems to have worked.
Apart from the fact that he's single and from Liverpool, has family roots in Northern Ireland and once dated singer Andrea Corr, not much is known about Shaun Evans.
But his character Endeavour Morse has been scrutinised and analysed for more than 30 years, first with John Thaw's older version of the detective in the classic Inspector Morse from 1987 until 2000, and since 2012 with Shaun's portrayal of the young Endeavour.
Over five previous series we've been gradually building up a picture of the younger man, a highly educated northerner, and the jigsaw will become more complete in the new four-part series on ITV.
As well as putting down roots in his adoptive city of Oxford, we'll see Endeavour renewing his relationship with Joan, the daughter of his colleague Fred Thursday, who's now a trainee social worker in Oxford.
At the end of the last series, policing in Oxfordshire was being reorganised, and Morse, Thursday (played by Roger Allam), their former boss CS Reginald Bright (Anton Lesser) and DS Jim Strange (Sean Rigby) were scattered to the winds.
They remain separated at the start of the new series, with Morse back in uniform and out in the countryside patrolling a quiet rural beat, while Bright's churning out unintentionally comical road safety films for children.
Strange has taken up a managerial role at divisional headquarters and poor old Thursday, who carried the can for the murder of his colleague George Fancy in the final episode of the last series, is now working with a couple of tough guys, DCI Ronnie Box (Simon Harrison) and his sidekick DS Alan Jago (Richard Riddell) at Castle Gate station.
But that doesn't mean there aren't murders for Morse to solve.
Throughout, Endeavour demonstrates the intellect and eye for detail that are his hallmark. '
He loves the process of detection,' says Shaun.
Set in 1969, the new series embraces momentous real-life events such as the investiture of Charles as the Prince of Wales and the Apollo moon landing, as well as the changing fashions.
Endeavour sports longer hair, a moustache and sideburns, and even wears sunglasses.
'The moustache is all my own work,' says Shaun.
'My family don't care for it very much but it was easy enough to grow.
'I grew a beard and then just shaved that off, leaving the moustache.
'Anything that gives me distance from my character has to be a good thing.'
By the end of this series there will have been 27 episodes of Endeavour, closing in on the 33 episodes of Inspector Morse that John Thaw filmed.
But with the foundations for the life of the older version firmly put in place in this series – we'll see Endeavour move in to the house in Oxford where the older Morse lived, for example – Russell Lewis, the man who writes Endeavour, says time is definitely ticking on the younger version.
'Endeavour has a timeline, a sense of development for our characters as we move towards a pre-ordained terminus which is, alas, inching slowly into view,' he says.
So could this be the end of Endeavour?
'It could be, but I've been saying that for a while now,' laughs Shaun.
'What we've taken to doing is ending each series as if it could be the last so we don't end up thinking, "I wish I'd done that in that final episode".
'I'd have tried to make that happen if I'd known we weren't coming back.' We make sure there are no regrets.'
Shaun was a guest on the BBC 2 Radio show 'Steve Wright in the afternoon' where he talked about the new series of Endeavour, set to premiere this Sunday, February 10 at 8pm on ITV.
[This is an extract from the article "When is series six of Endeavour on TV? Who is in the cast? What will happen?" published by RADIO TIMES, 7 February 2019]
While on set, series lead Shaun Evans gave us a quick guide to each of the stories this year, which take in a variety of settings and characters. Starting with…
Episode 1 – Pylon
“There’s a girl goes missing and it’s repetitive for a case where a girl has gone missing three years before,” Evans said.
“And I think there’s a connection, although nobody else does. When will they learn?”
Episode 2 – Apollo
“The second one’s really fun actually,” Evans said of episode two, which he directed.
“It’s about the Moon Landing in 69, and this group of people in a sort of New Age centre. So it’s got a very particular, not tongue-in-cheek exactly, but very particular sort of humorous attitude to it.”
“Obviously ’69 was the moon landings, so film 2, which is Shaun’s episode, is looking at that, tying into that and what that means for mankind and Endeavour,” producer Deanne Cunningham said.
“It was the first thing I’d directed that I was in,” Evans continued.
“So that brought with it its own challenges, but made it quite economical and efficient as well.”
Episode 3 – Confection
“The third one is at a chocolate factory, where everything looks perfect on the surface but if you dig underneath then it’s all kind of cankerous at its heart,” Evans told us.
“It’s set at Chigton Green, which is this sort of picture perfect village just outside Oxford,” added Cunningham.
“Is it as picture-perfect as it seems, or is there something darker lurking underneath the roses and the bunting?”
Episode 4 -Degüello
“Film four is, I think, a terrific story,” Evans told RadioTimes.com.
“You have the collapse of a building. Within the foundations of a building we found a body which has been there for a year, which has a connection to a body that we find at the beginning of the story. So we know that they’re connected.
“It’s a great way to round it up, I think. And it’s a great way to pay off the characters that we’ve introduced this season, and also bring us all back together as well by the end of it.”