Morse Universe: Weekly News Round Up.


Another week has flashed past and here we are again on another cold Saturday looking into the Morse universe during the past week.

Once more unto the breach dear friends.

Laurence Fox on Twitter and Instagram.



Below is from The Daily Telegraph on the 1st November 2016.

Laurence Fox ‘in row with BMW after his car rolled down a hill and crashed with the handbrake on’

Laurence Fox has hit out at BMW with a Twitter video after his £55,000 car allegedly rolled down a hill and crashed into a hedge despite him leaving the handbrake on.

The actor, 38, reportedly left his car, believed to be a BMW M3, on a hill in Devon while filming several weeks ago but came back to find it with thousands of pounds of damage after it rolled into a bush.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, a friend claimed Fox had raised the matter with BMW but had been told his handbrake was within the legal requirements. “He was understandably miffed,” they said.

On Monday, Fox appeared to criticise the German car manufacturer by posting a minute-long clip on Twitter apparently showing his car rolling down a hill as he slowly pulled the handbrake up.

He wrote alongside the clip: “Dear BMW great job on the hand brake on my car. Thanks so much for ‘adjusting’ it, even though ‘it wasn’t broken’.”

During the footage, Fox can be heard explaining that he is carefully pulling the handbrake up onto different “levels” but still allegedly has trouble getting the vehicle to stop. “One click and we’re rolling, two clicks, three clicks and we’re rolling, four click and we’re rolling, five clicks and we’re still rolling, six clicks and we’re still rolling, seven, OK, now we are stuck,” he says.

He then demonstrates in the film that he would naturally pull the handbrake to around five or six clicks, describing seven – which is when the car eventually appears to stop – as being “yanked up”.

Fox, who is best known for his role in ITV drama Lewis, has previously spoken about his passion for cars, having first bought a Rover for £500 around 20 years ago. In 2013, fans also claimed it was Fox who voiced BMW’s advertising campaign for its i3 model.

The actor was in Devon from the end of September filming The Family. The film, which is expected to be released next year, focuses on a dysfunctional family gathered around their mother’s bed as she dies.

A spokesman for BMW said: “I can confirm there is no technical campaign concerning handbrakes on this model and we would advise customers to always ensure the handbrake is fully applied before leaving the vehicle.

“In relation to this specific case the vehicle has a sequential transmission and therefore if the driver exits the vehicle after switching the ignition off, the transmission would select park and ‘secure’ the vehicle. The video highlighted shows the handbrake held on the seventh click.

“The handbrake has been tested applying the Ministry of Transport statutory figures and the performance exceeded this legislation. In view of the above the conclusion is that the handbrake on said vehicle was performing as it should and therefore we would not be in a position to assist with the cost of any repair.”

Below is from The Daily Mail on 1st November 2016.

Actor Laurence Fox is slammed for filming a video while driving in a bid to shame BMW over his car’s faulty handbrake

The Lewis star took to Twitter to complain about his £55,000 BMW’s brake
He films himself pulling the handbrake on and off while rolling down a hill
Former BMW advert voiceover artist has both hands off the steering wheel
Some people were unimpressed and one said he should delete the video

British actor Laurence Fox sparked controversy when he filmed himself while driving his BMW in a bid to shame the German car manufacturer for allegedly not fixing a faulty handbrake.
The Lewis star took to Twitter to complain about his £55,000 BMW and posted a video showing the car rolling on a country road while pulling he pulled his handbrake on and off.
The car does not stop moving when the handbrake is on.
But the footage opened the actor up to controversy because it showed him with both hands off the wheel and clearly using his mobile phone while driving.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘Why are you on your mobile phone, filming, whilst driving a motor vehicle?’
He added: ‘How many deaths are caused by mobile phone users who think they are in control?’
Another user sarcastically said: ‘My heart bleeds for him. Fortunately no one was standing in the way of the car.’
‘Six clicks and we’re still rolling. Seven — ok now we’re stuck. So that’s where you’d put it too, naturally, but you’re still rolling.’
Other BMW owners have reported similar problems on social media forums.

Rebecca Front.

Rebecca is working on a new short drama production with Sir Ian McKellen titled ‘Edmund the Magnificent’. It will be released in 2017.

Angela Griffin.

Interview with the magazine Women’s Weekly.

How do you take your tea?
I like builder’s tea, with a little bit of milk

Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with?
Ryan Gosling. He’s gorgeous! We could do a little cultural exchange. I’ll introduce him to the tea-drinking culture of England.

What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
When I was 14, I got a job sticking little bows onto shampoo bottles in a factory. I wasn’t supposed to be working at all, but I lied and said I was older than I was. I lasted about two and a half hours before somebody grassed me up to the managers.

When did acting become part of the picture?
My auntie Linda had been taking me to drama classes at Leed’s Children’s Theatre since I was 5. I had an agent by the time I was a teenager, and had done some children’s television programmes. Acting was my passion, but we weren’t a well-off family so if I wanted to buy something I had to earn the money myself.

Were you quite an independent teenager?
I guess so. I landed my first role in Coronation Street when I was 17, and moved into a flat on my own. By my 18th birthday, I’d signed the deeds to my first house in Leeds.

What did your parents think of your acting career?
They were just happy that I had a passion. Acting’s not their thing at all. My dad was a cleaner and my mum taught office skills at college. But they were glad I had something to aim for. I feel the same about my two daughters.

Your daughter Tallulah, 14, is now a working actress herself [she appears in CBBC’s The Worst Witch]. Do you worry about the pressure the industry places on young actors?
Things are so much tougher for the youngsters now. It’s not just about the talent anymore. You’ve got to have the looks too. And there are some real scoundrels out there, but luckily I can guide Tallulah because I know how the business works.

Do you tell Tallulah what she can and can’t do?
Until she’s 18, yes definitely! She’s mine, I own her. But I’m not one of these Victorian mums. If she needs to go away for 16 weeks to film a series then I will let her. I’m very open-minded to it all, but I’m not going to let her do a Lolita role or go live in America on her own at 14. I know how these things should go.

What would be your dream role?
I’d love to do a Shakespeare play in The Globe, something completely different from anything I’ve ever done before. People say I should play Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Shvorne Marks on Twitter.


Below is a review of Shvorne Marks new play in The Stage weekly paper.

Deny Deny Deny review at Park Theatre, London – ‘clunky, emotionless drama’

Shvorne Marks and Juma Sharkah at Park Theatre, London. Photo: Darren Bell

Most productions profess to be timely in some way, but in the case of Deny Deny Deny, Jonathan Maitland’s five-handed drama about doping in the highest echelons of athletics, it’s a pretty legitimate claim. The spectres of Bradley Wiggins, Maria Sharapova, and Vladimir Putin loom large over Brendan O’Hea’s production.

But for all it does to elucidate the murky world of performance enhancement, Maitland’s play never thrills, principally because of one inescapable truth: with the exception of Mario Balotelli, modern elite athletes are quite boring people.

Eve (Juma Sharkah) is a British African sprinter, hoping to win gold at the 2028 Boston Olympics. Rona (a miscast Zoe Waites) is her bolshie coach with a dubious moral code, who encourages Eve towards a radical – and as yet unbanned – gene therapy treatment. She will become the world’s first genetically modified athlete.

Maitland articulately reveals the shades of grey involved behind such decisions, but never invests his story with any genuine tension or emotion. He’s not helped by Polly Sullivan’s sterile, featureless set or O’Hea’s frequently clunky direction. Daniel Fraser and Shvorne Marks provide specks of humanity as a journalist ex-boyfriend and a bitter rival respectively.

Sport has proven ripe material for drama before, but whereas Patrick Marber’s The Red Lion and Richard Bean’s The English Game manage to draw pertinent metaphors between sport and wider society, Deny Deny Deny doesn’t. It’s just a play about cheating in athletics. So it’s dull, and ends up feeling like an ethics lecture.

A clunky, emotionless drama about athletics’ doping problems.

Dakota Blue Richards on Twitter and Instagram.



From Shaun Evans Online
Hi, I’m Jo not Shaun and unfortunately I have no personal contact with him. 

Here are some moody Shaun pics from The Take. Jimmy starts a cheeky chap ends a full on Crook.



Here are some photos of Shaun and his lady friend from the film. 😍😍


Pictures from Dread

Here are some pics of Shaun in the film Gone

Abigail Thaw on Twitter.



Roger Allam om Twitter.




Anton Lesser.

Filming The Crown: on the set of the lavish Netflix series – in pictures.

Anton Lesser plays prime minister Harold Macmillan. He prefers to wait for the scene to be reset between takes, rather than return to his trailer.

James Bradshaw (Max DeBryn)

James Bradshaw will appear in the new Stephen Poliakoff series, ‘Close to the Enemy’ in one episode as Mr. Emmanuel. The series starts on the 10th November on ITV. It is about a British intelligence officer who has to ensure that a captured German scientist helps the British develop jet aircraft.

Colin Dexter

A friend of Colin forwarded the following to me.

Extracts, written by Colin Dexter’s Prof. friend, John Woodhouse for the Oxford
University Pensioners Newsletters 2014/2015.
What follows here, then, is not meant as an aid to a reading of his novels, but rather a few
inconsequential reflections of the kind of conversations we have enjoyed together, going
back to the conviviality of what, in 1973, was our nearest hostelry, coincidentally
equidistant from both our houses. Once known as The Friar Bacon, now long demolished,
it is briefly recalled by Colin under its alias of The Fletcher’s Arms in his first novel, Last
Bus to Woodstock. There he describes it accurately as ‘this unexceptionable pub, with its
ill-assorted, yet regular and amiable clientele’.
Colin, suddenly propelled into the role of author for the prestigious Macmillan publishing
house,had been forced for legal reasons to change the names of establishments such as
The Friar Bacon.
So he was shocked to be told by a member of staff at Macmillan’s that the title of his first
opus, Last Bus to Woodstock, repeated the title of an earlier book by another writer. Colin
nervously apologised for having made such a gaffe. ‘Forget it, mate’, responded the hardnosed
administrator, ‘there’s no copyright on titles’.
As for renaming pubs, it amuses him that he had had to rename the former Plough at
Woodstock as The Black Prince, a name later adopted by the proprietors of the inn.
First editions of The Last Bus are now quite rare, and command high prices; Colin recalls
with chagrin how he had thrown away spare copies of the book thirty years earlier.
From his brother John, Colin had absorbed much of his early appreciation of music, but he
admitted that the tastes in music which he now favoured suited the characterisation of
Morse, notably the music of Wagner, Bruckner and Mahler, and, more particularly in
certain televised episodes of his novels, Vivaldi, Mozart, and Schubert. He recalled the
concert of his favourite music from the ITV series given at the Albert Hall, and transmitted
in Spring 2007 by ITV3.
More locally, Colin enjoyed, until recently, giving literary and poetic readings for
charitable causes, including several at musical recitals performed by Oxford’s
Liedertafel. His programme notes to the readings and recitals involve frequent
quotations from Morse’s reflections on composers, disguised references to his own
tastes in music.
Art, Colin says, was much more of a mystery to him than music, but he is ever
more impressed by frequent visits to the Ashmolean, and even more so since its
recent stunning renovation. Indeed it was his photograph, framed by the building’s
famous Ionic columns, which featured on the cover of the Oxford Times’ Limited
Edition of Oxfordshire in October 2009, announcing the reopening of the museum.
His favourite art forms vary from fourth-century Athenian red figure pottery to the
work of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites. He still declares Vermeer to be his
preferred painter. Art, he confesses, had given him some unexpectedly magical
moments. One such occasion he recalled was more quirky than usual. During a
visit to the National Gallery with his old friend Gordon Potter (Senior Classics
Awarder at the Oxford Local Examinations), the two were studying the theme of the
Crucifixion. Around one particular painting was grouped a class of young schoolgirls.
Their teacher asked what particular feature struck the girls about the picture.
One girl stared for a while, and then, ignoring the stigmata, the crown of thorns, and all the
agonies of the cross, said that there was a pussy-cat at the front of the painting.
‘Not many people know that. I’d give you a brownie point for that remark,’ said the
And Colin nods approvingly. He added inconsequentially that he had been told by
Catherine Ing, another of ‘his ’ Senior English Awarders, that there are no cats in the Bible.

The same person also told me that it has been said that although Colin is too unwell to make his usual cameo appearances in the new series of Endeavour there are plans afoot to use old clips that were never used from previous series.

Inspector Morse in the Oxford English Dictionary.

by Simon Horobin

(Simon Horobin is Professor of English at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Magdalen College).

Inspector Morse solved his first murder in the 1975 novel Last Bus to Woodstock; a further 12 books and numerous dead bodies later, he met his own end in The Remorseful Day (1999). Before turning to detective fiction, Morse’s creator, Colin Dexter, was a Classics teacher; the rituals of school life emerge in quotations from the novels found under the Oxford English Dictionary entries for schoolbell, revise, resit, and – perhaps most significant from a biographical perspective given his change of career – recompense: ‘School masters, even experienced second masters, aren’t all that highly recompensed’.

The influence of crosswords

Morse inherited many of his inventor’s passions: the Classics, real ale, Classical music, and cryptic crosswords. In addition to being an expert solver, Colin Dexter compiled crosswords for The Oxford Times under the pseudonym Codex (from the Latin for ‘book’, hidden in his name: COlin DEXter). Dexter was for many years a regular winner of The Observer newspaper’s cryptic clue-writing competition. Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis take their names from two of Dexter’s principal rivals in that contest – Sir Jeremy Morse (former chairman of Lloyds Bank) and Mrs B. Lewis.

In fact all the characters in the first Morse novel, with the exception of the murderer, are named after Dexter’s crosswording comrades. Morse’s first name remains a secret throughout the series; in the penultimate novel, Death is Now my Neighbour (1996), Morse revealed that he was named Endeavour – now the title of a prequel based on Morse’s early career – after Captain Cook’s ship. In the TV adaptation Morse hints at his name using a cryptic crossword clue: ‘My whole life’s effort has revolved around Eve’ [an anagram (‘revolved’) of around Eve = Endeavour ‘My whole life’s effort’].
Off the top of one’s head…

As a detective, Morse is famous for his unusual and inspirational methods, often to the frustration of his sidekick, Sergeant Lewis, and Chief Superintendent Strange. Lewis’s preference for traditional police work over his boss’s unconventional modus operandi is captured in a quotation from The Dead of Jericho (1981) in the OED entry for off the top of one’s head ‘impromptu, without consideration, superficially’: ‘A bit of bread-and-butter investigation was worth a good deal more than some of that top-of-the-head stuff’. But, despite his unconventional methods, Morse is a stickler for correct spelling and grammar, often despairing of the sloppiness he encounters in police reports. His preference for traditional language is captured in the OED entry for Prayer-Book: ‘Morse himself had been sickened by the latest version of the Funeral Service. Gone were those resonant cadences of the AV [Authorized Version] and the Prayer Book’.

But where Morse is a grammatical pedant, Lewis – best known as Kevin Whately’s Geordie, himself the star of the spin-off series Lewis, but a Welshman in the novels – is more prone to colloquialisms. He appears under the OED entry for ‘spect ‘nonstandard pronunciation of I expect’: ‘Has the wife got the chips on, Lewis?’ ‘I ‘spect so.’

Morse’s death in the OED

Colin Dexter’s background in Classics and crosswording contribute to the use of some arcane vocabulary, as in the example listed under OED prognathic ‘Having projecting or forward-pointing jaws or lower jaw’: ‘He looked down at her squarish, slightly prognathic face, her dark-brown silky hair cut short in a fringe across her broad forehead’. Dexter does not spare his readers the grisly details of Morse’s physical demise, which can be charted through the pages of the OED. Dexter’s account of Morse’s hospitalization draws upon correct medical terminology, as seen in this quotation from the OED entry for electrocardiograph: ‘An electrocardiograph test had firmly established that the patient had suffered a hefty anterior myocardial infarct’.
Despite being the subject of this ominous diagnosis, Morse revels in the ‘sesquipedalian’ terminology, which appeals to his love of words ‘more than a foot-and-a-half long’. Morse’s final moments are recorded in the OED entry for resuscitate, where his doctor’s diagnosis is coldly recorded: ‘The heart is irreparably damaged; kidney failure already apparent. Without specific request from n.o.k. [next of kin]..inappropriate to resuscitate’.

The mysterious Diogenes Small

Dexter’s own penchant for recondite Classical formations may also be traced to his wide reading in the works of Diogenes Small – an author frequently cited in the quotations that preface new chapters of the Morse novels. Alongside pithy, wry, and ironic observations on modern life – ‘Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home for sending one slowly crackers’- there are frequent quotations from Small’s English Dictionary – which appeared in 18 revised editions – as well as Small’s Latin Dictionary. Quotations include a Johnsonian definition of pension ‘monies grudgingly bestowed on ageing hirelings after a lifetime of occasional devotion to duty’, and medical conditions like prosopagnosia ‘the failure of any person to recognize the face of any other person’, and hypoglycaemia ‘abnormal reduction of sugar content of the blood – for Diabetes sufferers a condition more difficult to spell than to spot’. But Diogenes Small is simply another of Dexter’s fictional creations – since it was not always possible to find an appropriate quotation for a particular chapter, Dexter simply devised the quotations and attributed them to an invented author, whose name links him to the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, one of the founders of the Cynical school.

The importance of being Oxford

The success of the ITV series Inspector Morse, which ran to 33 episodes, was undoubtedly encouraged by its lavish depiction of the Oxford settings. Inspector Morse Tours of the city remain a popular tourist attraction; the Randolph Hotel has a ‘Morse Bar’ in honour of the heavy-drinking sleuth who was a regular visitor when mulling over a case. But where the TV series played fast and loose with Oxford geography – the detectives frequently pass through the lodge of one college only to find themselves in the quad of a different one – the Oxford of the novels is lovingly and pedantically reconstructed.
Since many of the murders are committed within the walls of the famous colleges, Dexter sensibly invented fictional names – Beaumont, Lonsdale, and Wolsey Colleges (named after Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, founder of Christ Church) all appear in the novels. But while the TV series offered its viewers a cut-and-paste Oxford, there is one constant that links all of the episodes – whether dressed as a bowler-hatted porter or as a don in academic robes, the figure of Dexter himself can always be spotted in the background.


So until next week, take care.


Author: Chris Sullivan

Up until a few years ago I was my mum's full time carer. She died in, 2020, of Covid. At the moment I am attempting to write a novel.

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