Max DeBryn, On Screen: James Bradshaw & Peter Woodthorpe Part 3.


Hello everyone and welcome to the third and final part of my video tribute to the character of Max DeBryn. This video includes Max’s scenes in the fourth series of Endeavour and also includes all of Max DeBryn’s appearances in the Inspector Morse series where he was played by the wonderful Peter Woodthorpe. Peter only appeared in seven episodes, the first two series, before illness prevented him continuing the role.

Though Peter only appeared in seven episodes he made an indelible mark on Morse fans and has never been forgotten. Peter died in 12 August 2004.

So I hope you enjoy this third video. I will warn you that it lasts for almost one hour. Below the new video you will find the first two parts to this tribute to our beloved Max.

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.

6 thoughts

  1. According to the recent book I obtained, “The Oxford of Inspector Morse and Lewis” by Bill Leonard, there is another theory, as to why Peter Woodthorpe left the original Morse show so early, after just two series, comprising seven episodes, and rather too soon, in my opinion. At the end of his summary for “Last Bus to Woodstock”, Leonard states, and here is the quotation, “It is the last episode for pathologist Max, played by the distinguished actor Peter Woodthorpe, who wanted a larger part in future stories”. I thought this was worth mentioning Chris, although I do not know whether that statement is correct. If it is true, clearly the Morse producers at the time, could not offer him a more expanded role, as Max. Nevertheless, Woodthorpe still made his mark on those early Morse episodes, and his good work has been continued by James Bradshaw, playing a younger version of Max, during every Endeavour series.

  2. Peter Woodthorpe was a very highly respected stage actor and so of course, the Max roll would not have entirely satisfied him. I found Morse to be a superb series with a wonderful array of that older generation of actors. Sadly, Lewis, and even more so Endeavour, are pale imitations with cast lists of fairly unmemorable actors. I am sorry to say that, whereas John Thaw was such a screen presence, the actor who plays Endeavour is, for me, utterly without any. I have just seen the great Robert Stephens in a Morse episode, and cannot think of one in Endeavour who matches him for screen presence and sheer acting skill.. Similarly, John Gielgud, Robert Hardy, and so many others peppered those Morse episodes. There is one scene in Endeavour where a man in standing on the gallows trap daw screaming his innocence as well as an earlier one with Endeavour’s partner beating up a suspect. It is nauseating. Such crudeness would never have appeared in Morse. . To come back to Max, Peter Woodthorpe’s personality, voice and talent, complexity overshadow the rather anonymous younger version. I think it was a pity Endeavour was ever made.

    1. Well, millions will disagree with you. Can you name the unmemorable actors on Endeavour ? Just curious. If Roger Allam and Anton Lesser are “unmemorable,” then I’m a Dutchman. James Bradshaw is, for myself and others, a very interesting, and endearing actor. Indeed, his take on Max is his own, so declaring him “anonymous” is churlish in the extreme. ‘Tis pity that your negativity has soured my morning, sir.

  3. I could not agree more. Both Roger Allam and Anton Lesser are superb and highly-regarded actors and, in my view, James Bradshaw brought to the role of Max DeBryn an extraordinary and subtle sensitivity, which shines through in every role he plays. In the series ‘Morse,’ John Thaw played the character as a mature man. Shaun Evans has done an excellent job of playing Morse as a young man and showing us those incidents in his younger days, which shaped the older man.

  4. Watching your excellent Woodthorpe tribute a thought occurs:
    Is it at all likely the character would go through such a comprehensive transformation in later life?
    There is none of the signature sarcasm, black humour or teasing of Morse in the Endeavour eps.
    Woodthorpe relished his brief moments and made the sparring with Thaw memorable in the early eps.
    Bradshaw’ sensitivity reads as a much more sedate reading of the character.
    Albeit a character which probably required toning down to meet contemporary standards of broadcasting.

  5. Have you been watching a different version of Endeavour ? Max is often sarcy with Morse. I recall a scene where Morse asks Max if there is anything suspicious ( I think it’s in the TROVE episode) regarding an apparent suicide, and Max’s response was something like “suspicious ? Only you … Morse.” There are many other examples.

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