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.”