Saturday, 30 August 2014

Endeavour's worthy sequel to Morse

Endeavour is one of ITV's most successful crime drama launches in recent times.
With the show's DVD riding high in the charts, here's my original review.... 
THIS is a Fergie-free column. There will, however, be frequent mentions of the words, “drama”, “murder” and “ITV”. Of course, if Sir Alex Ferguson wishes to pitch a murder-mystery set in and around Old Trafford in the Nineties, I’m certain ITV will bite off his hairdryer.
The channel, it seems, has gone completely bonkers for period detective dramas. Not ropey old repeats in grainy standard definition, but dramas set intentionally in the distant past, like 1985. That really was a long time ago.
Some of these new dramas are good, some splendid, but some should be turned into the authorities before the makers commit more crimes.
Let’s start with the splendid one. Endeavour (ITV, Sunday) ended its four-week run, set in the Sixties, with a thrilling, chilling episode. Many will have watched expectantly, waiting for a nice shoot-out at the end.
In short, it didn’t happen. Why then all this terribly interesting stuff about how Morse had been taught to shoot by his father, and how he had proved a crack shot on the shooting range? Inspector Thursday also looked a bit like a cowboy in that trilby. Bar room shoot-out next time, please.
The irony was that Morse himself was then shot and wounded, which was the cause of his limp all those years later. Apparently. We assume Colin Dexter approved. The writer turned out in this one, in a cameo, playing a don. Has he been given an honorary doctorate from Oxford yet? He deserves one.
The episode also looked quite different. There was snow in Oxford, and the featured college had red brick. Shocking. ITV going downmarket again.
For Morse aficionados, who had dragged themselves away from ITV3 repeats, you will also have noticed that Endeavour’s father looked uncannily like John Thaw.
Endeavour is now officially better than Lewis. Nine out of 10 cats agree. So ITV, you can now officially stand down Kevin Whately and Lawrence Fox. We’re happy with the replacement.
Indeed, it was such a good episode it made me think of The Remorseful Day, the final ever episode of Morse. I may well have recovered emotionally by the time the next series comes around. In the meantime, back to ITV3. The wonderful thing about repeats is that as you get older you’re never quite sure whether you’ve seen it before. Until it’s over.
And now the DVD is with us. Click here

Enjoy my interview with stars Shaun Evans and Roger Allam...