"You don't want it to be like putting on a pair of slippers, and it's boring."
BY MORGAN JEFFERY - Digital Spy
Endeavour is now a returning favourite for ITV - but its star Shaun Evans has always refused to sign up for more than one series at a time.
Evans told Digital Spy that a bad experience early in his career - on Channel 4's Teachers - made him wary of ever agreeing to a big contract.
"That was my first job out of drama school and it was a funny experience," he explained. "I enjoyed it for the most part, but I didn't enjoy the fact that I didn't know where it was going.
"I found that irritating and I found it difficult to work like that. I loved all the other actors - I thought they were terrific - but I just didn't find it as fulfilling as I'd hoped that I would.
"Ultimately, I knew it wasn't somewhere that I wanted to stay, to be honest. I was lucky that they let me out of the contract."
10 years later, when he landed the role of a young Morse in Endeavour, a more experienced Evans was keen not to make the same mistake twice.
"When we started with this, there were no contracts, no 'You'll be doing this for six years' - because of that experience," he revealed.
"I just don't really like starting a job if I don't know where it finishes. I want to know where something begins and ends, so that you can invest something in it. If there's no end in sight, there'd be a tendency to play yourself or to not put any creativity into it."
Knowing that his Morse will one day go on to become the character as played by John Thaw was "definitely" an advantage, Evans said.
"I think it'd be super difficult otherwise - it'd be like going completely into the unknown. I know where this is going - and so that takes a weight off my mind."
The downside to having your character's path laid out for you is that it might all get a bit predictable - But Evans insists that he and the team behind Endeavour work hard to keep the show fresh and inventive.
"There is a certain amount of baggage that comes with it," he acknowledged. "It's a funny one in that respect.
"We try and make it our own thing. You don't want it to be a bloody nostalgia-fest. It wouldn't be very good, I don't think. You don't want it to be like putting on a pair of slippers and it's boring. It's got to be challenging."
Evans says he has a "feeling in [his] mind" as to when Endeavour will end, too - though it sounds as though he's happy to sign on for a few more series yet... one year at a time.
Endeavour returns to ITV tomorrow night (Sunday, January 8) at 8pm on ITV.