Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Looking forward to the new series of Endeavour

The other day I brought you the exciting news that Kevin Whatley's grandfather was rector of St Laurence’s, Church Stretton, in Shropshire.

Talking of which, I do not remember the heyday of Inspector Morse - I suspect it fell in that happy period when I did not own a television.

Watching it today, I just don't believe in Morse as a character. By contrast, Whatley's Lewis - a working-class copper who gets promotion late in his career and finds he is brighter than he realised - seems to me entirely credible.

Yet neither of them are among the two most memorable characters from the whole Morse/Lewis/Endeavour shebang.

The first is Fred Thursday from Endeavour, played by the might Roger Allam. The second, at least before we got rather tired of Lewis as a series, is the mysterious James Hathaway, played by Laurence Fox.

My hope is that the next series in this franchise will see Hathaway steal a time machine and meet Thursday. The two of them could then travel through time and space solving crimes.

That is unlikely, but there is good news: Endeavour will return next year. Which is just as well, as we have left Thursday fighting for his life and the young Morse in the hoosegow since that last, gruelling episode.

The ITV press release does not mention Roger Allam - I suspect they are playing with us.

But what it does say is intriguing:
Our next quartet of mysteries will take the audience on a psychedelic Summer of Love fairground ride, filled with twists and turns, shrieks and scares. In particular, one encounter at a certain stately home will echo down the years, and have consequences that not even Endeavour Morse could have foreseen.
My guess is that means the young Morse introduces Hathaway's parents.

1 comment:

Phil Beesley said...

I didn't appreciate Morse when it was first broadcast. It seemed like golden era crime fiction, moved from a country house to Oxford. A crime was rarely committed for love or money, and Morse had his own Moriarty. Today I like old episodes for the nostalgia factor (just look at how many Morris Minors and Travellers are shown) plus great writing from Anthony Minghella, Danny Boyle and Daniel Boyle.

Lewis is more of a police procedural, with Hathaway providing the link to Oxford's collegiate weirdness. The relationship between Lewis and Hathaway would be corny if the actors weren't as good. There are two great female characters -- for Clare Holman (Laura Hobson) and Rebecca Front (Jean Innocent) -- to remind us that the world has moved on.

For the third (and allegedly final) Morse franchise, Oxford is a dirty, nasty place. It's more like the setting for a David Peace novel than the cosy 1980s Oxford where academics killed and conspired for no real reason. I too look forward to a new series.

The Jaguar Mark 1 used for Endeavour was already a well known car. It was restored about 30 years ago and appeared in many books by Paul Skilleter about Jag production car history. It is having a rough time in Endeavour's Oxford.

The Morse franchise is a feat of acting and writing skill. When you watch or see an actor on a chat show, you ask yourself how much the actor added to a character that you've seen. Pam St. Clement who played Pat Butcher in Eastenders was totally convincing in her part. James Norton, thug Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley, was not a perfect fit but Norton was convincing enough for imagination to fill in the details. Good actors performing good scripts deliver good television.

But that is not good enough for some people. Morse/Lewis/Endeavour were created for commercial TV, and serious TV viewers only watch the best of BBC alongside HBO etc. If Anthony Horowitz had written Foyle's War for an arty channel rather than ITV, more people would be talking about its brilliance and fewer people would be watching it.