Endeavour is back for its eighth run

Sunday: Endeavour; (ITV, 8pm)
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There’s some good news and some bad news.

The good is that Endeavour is back for its eighth run. The bad is that it contains only three episodes. Okay, so its predecessor only had the same amount too, but we’ve had to wait over a year and a half for the Inspector Morse prequel to return, so we were hoping for more.

Never mind. Perhaps we should think ourselves lucky it’s coming back at all.

Endeavour and DI Fred ThursdayEndeavour and DI Fred Thursday
Endeavour and DI Fred Thursday
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“A huge amount of work by all the team goes into making a series of Endeavour, and never has that been truer than this season with the strict Covid protocols we had in place to ensure everyone’s safety when coming to work,” states producer James Levison. “The whole process brought another layer of detail that was embraced by every department. I am very proud to be part of a team that were so diligent and supportive of each other to safely bring another ambitious season of Endeavour to its fans. That hard work and dedication under the current climate comes across in three brilliant Endeavour films that I hope audiences will love.”

Shaun Evans, who plays the title character, will be going up against himself in the ratings – he has a key role in BBC One’s Vigil, although it’s Endeavour that remains closest to his heart. He was thrilled to be back in Oxford for filming, both in front and behind the camera – Evans continues his habit of the past few years of directing an episode, in this case the opener.

“It was a relief to finally start filming,” says the actor. “It was great to be back. We have all known each other such a long time, both the cast and the crew. So, it was good to get back and make sure everyone was OK. And for everyone to be doing their work.”

As fans of the original Morse TV series know, the character was rather fond of a drink, and when we catch up with him in the new run, which takes place in 1971, booze is beginning to take control of his life, causing friction between him and his mentor Fred Thursday (Roger Allam).

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Something else the series has in common with the original show is that both now contain 33 episodes. Does that mean Endeavour has reached the end of the road?

“That’s a decision for the whole team,” explains Evans. “We need to take a look at this series, see if there’s still a story to tell and if we all still want to tell it.”

Fans of Colin Dexter’s character know lots happens to him between 1971 and when we met the John Thaw incarnation in the late-1980s – for a start, Iain Cuthbertson played another of Morse’s mentors, Desmond McNutt, in a 1990 episode, and he’s yet to appear. Will we get to see him, or is he being airbrushed from Morse history?

Evans himself perhaps hints at the answer: “I think we’ll know when the time has come to end Endeavour. You want to do it until the story is told.” Here’s hoping they’ll get a chance to complete it.

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