Walton boy returns as Oxford's 'damaged' young policeman
BY JADE WRIGHT - Liverpool Echo
Inspector Morse’s shoes were always going to be big ones to fill.
Any actor taking on the part of the famous Oxford detective was always going to have a tough task on his hands after John Thaw’s lauded performance, but Walton actor Shaun Evans never shirks a challenge.
The second series of Endeavour, the prequel to Inspector Morse, began last Sunday.
Shaun, 34, explained: “At the end of the last series his father died and he was shot. The events have rocked him, and his absence means relationships with his colleagues in the police force have changed.
“He comes back a far more damaged person. He’s a bit lost in his grief. He’s also still questioning himself, thinking am I any good? Was the last solved crime a fluke?
“A lot of what we want to do with this series is to try and tease out the qualities that make him unique. It’s a continually shaping process.”
As the series unfolds it becomes clear there are tensions at the station, which also cause Morse to question his future.
“The force itself is changing,” said Shaun, who went to St Edward’s College. “The whole thing rests on uneven ground and Endeavour feels like it is shifting constantly. He begins to question, is this the right place for me?”
One reason to stay on the force is Morse’s Detective Inspector Fred Thursday, played by Roger Allam.
“A lot of this series is about relationships,” he said. “One of the most important to Endeavour is with Thursday.
“Thursday sees the brilliance in him. Whilst it can be counter-productive in some spheres of his life, with a bit of help his brilliance could make him a great detective and a great man as well.
“Endeavour brings a different thought process into detective work. Thursday is nurturing that side of him and helping him become a more rounded person.
“I think if you can solve four unusual crimes in a year like he does it certainly deserves some credit! If he didn’t work in that way then they probably would never have been solved.
“Thursday can see there is a place for him on the force and has his back covered. This series becomes more about the upper echelons of the hierarchy of the police force recognising and learning that there is a place for him too.”
DI Fred Thursday has established himself as a mentor and firm father figure for Morse. It’s a relationship that extends beyond the boundaries of the police station.
Shaun continued: “The relationship between Endeavour and Fred Thursday is more two- sided this time.
“Fred and the whole Thursday family feel Endeavour is someone they should take under their wing. But Endeavour is someone they need in their life too.”
Another important relationship begins when Morse moves into a new flat in Oxford. Living next door is Monica, a nurse who soon becomes the object of his affections.
“Monica comes into Endeavour’s life when he’s on his knees,” Shaun said. “It’s very telling that the relationship comes along at this time.
“It’s ironic she’s a nurse; she automatically has that caring, nurturing nature he needs. He’s a broken man and she contributes to his mending.
“I think it’s a very good thing. Apparently it was very common in those days for policemen to be with nurses.”
“We don’t know how their relationship is going to develop or end up. It’s very much up for grabs.”
Shaun reveals he was very happy with the audience’s response to the pilot and first series of Endeavour. “I’m delighted it got such a great audience, particularly as so much work goes into it. In this job you want to get a good story, tell it well, and hope the audience enjoys it. We seem to have ticked those boxes. “I think it’s great to have the opportunity to build and improve on a character so I was glad to get back and have another crack.”
The Jaguar driven by Endeavour Morse has become an icon of the series and of that period in time. What’s it like?
“Fantastic. It smells of old leather. It’s a beautiful car, such a classic. If I had the opportunity I would take it home. It would probably break down, but it’s a beautiful motor and nice to drive.”
Endeavour continues tonight at 8pm on ITV1.