A Worthy Endeavour
Tripwire continues its list of its Top 30 Crime and Police shows, selected by its editor-in-chief and senior editor. Here’s its 27th entry, ITV’s Endeavour…
Creator: Russell Lewis, Colin Dexter
Stars: Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, James Bradshaw, Anton Lesser, Caroline O’Neill, Abigail Thaw
Inspector Morse on ITV, ran from 1987 to 1993 and then with specials from 1995 to 2000. Taking writer Colin Dexter’s hit crime books and bringing the lugubrious Morse to the small screen, it was a worldwide success. It was hard to imagine another actor taking on the role with Thaw bringing his own easy charm to it.
Endeavour, over a decade after Thaw called it a day, is a prequel set in the 1960s, showing us the genesis of the iconic British detective. Shaun Evans is a young Morse, finding his feet among the dreaming spires of Oxford. His boss, Inspector Fred Thursday (Allam) is a no-nonsense old-fashioned copper. So we get to see how British society evolves during the 1960s and how the stuffy 1950s gave way to the more easygoing mores that we are used to now.
Evans is very good, offering a primitive, embryonic version of the character we saw in Thaw’s Morse. There is tension between Morse and Thursday but it is evident that his boss was a valuable mentor for him, honing the skills that became his stock in trade years later.
His Morse also does evolve and grow as the series carries on, offering glimpses of the confident policeman that he becomes.
The supporting cast including Allam, Lesser as Chief Superintendent Bright and Abigail Thaw, who plays newspaper reporter Dorothea Frazil, the daughter of the late John Thaw, all add an extra touch of class to the show.
The production team bring 1960s Oxford and its surroundings to life with skill and élan. Eight seasons in and Endeavour shows no sign of flagging. It is tough sometimes to spin off a show from such a successful progenitor but Endeavour pulls it off with style and breeding.
Endeavour is on now on Britbox in the UK and on PBS on the US