Endeavour Pilot Episode: Review, Music, Art, Literary References, Locations etc.

Hello Mateys and welcome to my first review of the Endeavour series. Like my Morse reviews this post will include the art, music, literary references, locations etc contained within the episode.

This post will contain SPOILERS. I hope you enjoy this post.

Endeavour Pilot Episode.

Chronologically this is episode 1.

First broadcast 2 January 2012.

Where’s Colin?

Colin Dexter appears briefly at 36m18s sitting on a bench.

Directed by Colm McCarthy: Colm also directed the Endeavour Episode ‘Home’ (Series 1, Episdode 4, 2013).

Writers: Colin Dexter (characters), Russell Lewis (written and devised by). Russell has written all the Endeavour episodes. He also directed;

Lewis (TV Series) (screenplay – 4 episodes, 2010 – 2012) (story – 1 episode, 2006)
– Fearful Symmetry (2012) … (screenplay)
– Old, Unhappy, Far Off Things (2011) … (screenplay)
– Falling Darkness (2010) … (screenplay)
– The Dead of Winter (2010) … (screenplay)
– Reputation (2006) … (story)

He also wrote the Morse episode, ‘The Way Through the Woods’.

SYNOPSIS

A schoolgirl, Mary Tremlett, has gone missing. Cowley police station has asked for more policemen to help in the search for the schoolgirl. The extra bodies to help with the search are coming from Carshall Newtown Police Station. Endeavour Morse is one of those extra bodies and we find him typing out a resignation letter.

A return to Oxford is a bittersweet occurrence for Morse. He not only went to university in Oxford but also met and lost the great love of his life in the city.

As the police delve deeper into Mary’s disappearance they begin to find clues to the possible unsavoury world of older, powerful men having sex parties with young girls. Many of those girls attend Cowley School for Girls and Mary was a pupil at the school.

DCI Fred Thursday becomes fond of Morse and begins to realise what a great mind Endeavour has. Thursday also needs someone he can trust at the station as each new piece of evidence begins to throw doubts on the trustworthiness of those in authority at Cowley Police Station.

The case of the missing girl leads to blackmail, underage sex, murder and corruption and Morse finds himself caught in the middle of this maelstrom of evil.

REVIEW.
(warning, this review may contain some spoilers)

When this series was announced I, like so many others, had doubts about not only the value of a prequel but someone else other than John Thaw playing the character of Endeavour Morse. John Thaw WAS Morse. He breathed life into the character and so much so Colin Dexter the character’s creator had it written into his will that no other actor will be allowed to play the part of Morse in middle and old age.

Thankfully any concerns were swept away by the end of the episode. Much of the kudos has to  be placed at Evan’s feet for putting in a bravura performance. Shaun Evans did not try and mimic John Thaw’s performance, (Shaun has stated that he never watched the original Morse series). He didn’t turn his performance into an impression which would probably have been disastrous if he had attempted to do that.

However, on that note I would like to see some of the older Morse characteristics bleeding into his performance. But that is for a later date.

While Shaun Evans performance helped make this episode an enjoyable watch he cannot take all the credit. Whoever decided to cast Roger Allam should be applauded loudly. Roger Allam is excellent as Fred Thursday and at times he steals every scene he appears in. However, it is interesting that the writer and creator of the series, Russell Lewis, included a character that was never mentioned in the Morse universe. All Morse fans know that Morse hailed McNutt as his mentor. I would love to know why Russell Lewis did not use the McNutt character. Did he believe that it would be one reference too much for the new series. I believe that could be true and possibly including McNutt as a main character would have restricted Russell Lewis when writing future episodes.

Russell Lewis has written a superb piece of television but I wonder if television detective shows are becoming saturated with stories of underage sex and paedophilia and now it is becoming a cliche in the crime drama TV series.

The original Morse series dealt with paedophilia in the nineties in the episode ‘The Infernal Serpent‘. At that time it was a brave episode to write and produce as the subject matter was something very rarely tackled on prime time television. Was it a lazy option for Russell Lewis to write an episode about subjects that are becoming almost a weekly matter written about in newspapers, news websites, television and film? Personally I think it was slightly lazy writing but what Russell Lewis has written was excellent and so he can be forgiven for a jumping on the proverbial bandwagon in regard to the afore-mentioned subjects. The scene where the young Morse sees himself in 20 years (i.e. John Thaw) via the car’s rear view mirror deserves only praise and would certainly allow me to forgive any errors that Russell made.

Let us not forget the unsung heroes of many a television show and that is people like the director and cinematographer. The look and pace of the episode was sublime. The sepia look to much of the episode allows one to be transported to the 1960s and helps the episode have a genuine feel about it. Talking of unsung heroes, the wardrobe and prop departments should be saluted for their sterling work in recreating 1965.

I loved the many references to the original Morse series as it gave fans of the original series something to help them love or at least like the episode. The references showed a respect for John Thaw’s Morse but for those who had not watched the original series it didn’t hamper their chance to enjoy the episode. The references were cleverly included in that they were not integral to the plot and so would not have new viewers to the Morse universe stopping to ask questions about the who the what and the why.

We all know of prequels, sequels and reboots that have tarnished an original show’s good name but this episode thankfully never came close to devaluing or dishonouring the John Thaw series. This episode was not only a worthwhile viewing but added value to the Morse universe.

Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.

Music.

00h02m48s

The first piece of music is played when we find Endeavour typing his resignation letter.

The music is from Madame Butterfly and the section is called One Fine (or beautiful) Day. This piece is reprised at the end of the episode.

The voice of Rosalind Stromming in the Endeavour episode is Janis Kelly. She is the voice singing from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, ‘Un bel de’ (One Beautiful Day).

Janis Kelly is also the soprano voice at 27m42s singing ‘Signora, Ascolta’ from Puccini’s Turandot. (This piece can be found on the CD Inspector Morse Volume 2 also sung by Janis Kelly and used in the Morse episode ‘The Death of the Self’ first aired 25th march 1992. Yes guys, THAT episode 😉 ).

After a few rooftop scenes of Oxford we find Morse in his room studying the books he found in the dead girl’s room. The music mentioned above is playing.

Also from the Endeavour episode at 30 minutes and 42 seconds when Endeavour is driving the black jag to collect Fred Thursday, the soprano is Janis Kelly singing ‘TerzettinoSoave Sia Il Vento’ from Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart. (This piece can be found on the CD Inspector Morse Volume 2 also sung by Janis and used in the Morse Episode ‘Happy Families’ first aired 11th march 1992)

Janis Kelly’s voice is also heard in the following episodes of Morse:

  • ‘The Day of the Devil’ first aired 13th January 1993. She was the soprano voice singing ‘Adieu Notre Petite Table’ from Manon by Jules Massenet. This piece can be found on the CD Inspector Morse Volume 3).
  • ‘The Death of the Self’ first aired 25th March 1992. Janis is the voice of Francis Barber’s character Nicole Burgess.
  • ‘Cherubim and Seraphim’ first aired 15th April 1992. Janis is the soprano singing ‘Che Faro Senza Eurydice’ by Von Gluck. This piece can be found on the CD Inspector Morse Volume 2.
  • ‘Absolute Conviction’ first aired on the 8th April 1992. Janis sings ‘Mitradi Quell’ Alma Ingrata by Mozart. This piece can be found on the CD Inspector Morse Volume 2.
  • ‘Masonic Mysteries’ first aired on the 24th January 1990. Janis sings ‘Bei Mannern’ – Welche Liebe Fuhlen’ by Mozart from The Magic Flute. This piece can be found on the CD Inspector Morse Volume 3.
  • ‘Promised Land’ first aired on the 27th march 1991. Janis sings ‘Hab’mir’s Gelobt’ from Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. This piece can be found on the CD Inspector Morse Volume 3.
  • ‘Fat Chance’ first aired on the 27th February 1991. Janis sings ‘Laudate Dominum’ from Verperae Solennes de Confessore K339 by Mozart. This piece can be found on the CD Inspector Morse Volume 1.
  • ‘Second Time Around’ first aired 20th February 1991. Janis Kelly sings ‘Senza Mamma’ from Suor Angelica by Puccini. This piece can be found on the CD Inspector Morse Volume 1.

One piece I haven’t mentioned yet is a very significant piece of music in the Morse universe; Faure’s Requiem, ‘In Paradisum’. Significant because it was the music which was used when Morse collapses to the ground in the episode ‘The Remorseful Day’. A wonderful idea; a piece of music that links Morse going to start his police career in Oxford and his life ending after a long career in Oxford.

 

At 19 minutes at the Samuels garage we can hear the song Do Wah Diddy Diddy by Manfred Mann playing on the radio.

Literary References.

00h10m37s

Morse is being shown to his room by the his landlady, Mrs. Crabbin. She says to Morse, “This was Mr Bleaney’s room. He stayed the whole time he was at the Bodleian

This is a reference to a Philip Larkin poem, Mr Bleaney written in 1955.

The first lines are;

This was Mr Bleaney’s room. He stayed
The whole time he was at the Bodies, till
They moved him.’

( Reference to ‘the Bodies’, is slang for the section of a car manufacturing plant where the ‘bodies’ of the cars are assembled.).

The first two-and-a-bit stanzas constitute the setup for the poem, which sees the poem’s speaker being shown the room he is to lodge in. His landlady, the woman who owns the house and who is renting out one of her rooms to him, tells him about the previous man to occupy the room, the titular Mr Bleaney.

In the same scene the landlady tells Endeavour there are only two other guests, a Mr Goldberg and a Mr McCann. Thank you to Deb who pointed out that there are two characters in the play, The Birthday Party, by Harold Pinter with the same name.

00h28m

Endeavour is in his room looking through crosswords and reading Matthew Arnold’s The Scholar-Gypsy.

00h47m

While shaving Morse is listening to the radio. The radio announcer mentions that an early hand written draft of Ozymandias by Shelley will be on display at the Bodleian Library. This piece of information lights a bulb in Morse’s mind. He says

“boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away”.

He then goes to talk to Dr. Rowan Stromming. As he enters the Doctor’s room Morse says,

I met a traveller from an antique land who said: two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert and on the pedestal these words appear, “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my works, ye Mighty and despair.”

The full lines are;

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The works of Shelley are heavily referenced in the Lewis episode ‘And the moonbeams kissed the sea‘. In that episode a Shelley letter is forged and is his signature on other works.

01h38m15s

Morse is in the pub with his colleague DC Ian McLeash and Endeavour says;

Praise the God of all, drink the wine, let the world be the world“.

This is a French proverb.

01h18m52s

Morse is telling Rosalind Stromming about a love affair he had that went bad. She says, “Better to have loved and lost”. This is from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam:27, (1850):

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Morse is first seen at the Carshall Newtown Police Station. Carshall New Town is also the name of the fictitious town in Angus Wilson’s novel “Late Call”.

ART.

There are two pieces of art that stand out in the episode. First one is in Dr Rowan Stromming’s college class. The painting is on the back wall.

The second is on the wall behind  Richard Lovell.

Rather infuriatingly I recognize the second one but can’t think of the title or the artist. The first looks like a young Percy Bysshe Shelley but I can find no corresponding painting.

Locations

00h07m22s

The bus with the police officers including Morse, arrive in Oxford. The bus is driving down New College Lane and the Sheldonian Theatre can be seen in the background.

00h07m35s

The bus arrives at the Cowley Police Station.

Cowley Station is in fact a disused RAF station. Unfortunately, I don’t know which one.

00h09m38s

The camera pans around to this quad before the scene changes to Dr. Rowan Stromming teaching a class.

This is Fellows’ quad in Merton College.

00h10m07s

We see Dr. Rowan Stromming in the college room teaching his class.

Though the establishing shot (see above) was filmed in Merton College, the scene in the room is Exeter College looking out over Fellows Garden. The picture below points at the large window and the brown door that can be seen through the left hand pane of glass in the bay window.

The bay window is arrowed below.

00h20m49s

The next location is when Morse visits Miles Percival’s flat which he shared with the Australian Brian Lomax.

This is King Edward Street. In the background is Oriel College.

This is the view from Oriel Square. The red arrow is indicating where Lewis (Kevin Whately) enters in the Lewis pilot when he discovers that Morse had left an endowment for the Endeavour Award for musical excellence.

Where the woman is standing is the door that Endeavour stands at in the above picture.

00h22m22s

Morse stands outside his old college, Lonsdale. Of course Lonsdale doesn’t exist. He is actually standing outside Merton College.

00h22m50s

Endeavour meets Reece. This is in the front quad of Merton College.

The college is on Merton Street. The same street is used when Morse walks with Alexander Reece and they talk of Susan/Wendy.

Of course the map above should read, ‘Endeavour and Reece walking this way’.

00h27m44s

After Endeavour interviews Dr. Rowan Stromming about Miles Percival’s death we get a montage of Oxford rooftop scenes.

This is the Radcliffe Camera.

This is the Bodelian Library.

Up next we have the entrance to the premises of the Oxford Mail.

I believe this staircase is in St Helens Passage in Oxford.

00h36m00s

After Morse faints in the mortuary Thursday has taken him to a pub to have a drink.

We as the viewer never get a proper look as to where the location is but I believe it is the Victoria Arms, Old Marston Mill Lane Old Marston Oxfordshire OX3 0QA. It was used in many a Morse episode.

harry victoria arma 3rd pub

harry victoria arms map

00h38m09s

Morse visits Cowley School for Girls.

This building is the front entrance of Royal Masonic School for Girls, Rickmansworth, England.

00h40m01s

Morse visits Edward Samuels at his garage. We of course see the famous red jag which Morse will eventually own sitting in the forecourt.

The scenes at the garage were filmed at the Wargrave Auto Centre, Wargrave near Henley.

00h42m45s

We are back in Dr. Rowan Stromming rooms being interviewed by Endeavour.

As mentioned above this is filmed in Exeter College.

00h44m05s

Endeavour and Dr. Rowan Stromming walk through Mob Quad of Merton College.

00h45m00s

In the next scene after the the one above Endeavour meets Reece in the Front Quad of Merton College.

Above is the Front Quad.

00h49m00s

We are back in Dr. Rowan Stromming’s rooms in Exeter College.

00h57m38s

Morse decides he needs a drink

The Lamb and Flag is the actual name of the pub in Oxford. Endeavour is walking down Lamb and Flag Passage.

The interior of the pub when Morse gets his drink and meets Rosalind Stromming is also the Lamb and Flag.

01h01m06s

Endeavour is sitting on a bench probably contemplating his future.

Endeavour is looking over Christ Church Meadow. In the background is Christ Church Cathedral.

01h05m24s

Endeavour and Thursday drive out to find the location of the salacious parties. They find Dempsey.

The location is Syon House,Brentford  London  owned by the Duke of Northumberland.

01h26m05s

Next location is the theatre where Rosalind Stromming sings during her comeback show.

This is Richmond Theatre in London.

01h28m00s

We flashback to when Dr. Rowan Stromming and Reece first see Mary Tremlett.

This is a small garden area off the Fellows Gardens.

After the scene above we see Dr. Rowan Stromming and Mary Tremlett walking and talking.

They are walking through St Alban’s Quad in Merton College.

Finally we have the street where there is the now famous and emotional scene where the young Endeavour (Shaun Evans) looks into the rear view mirror of the car he’s driving and we see the eyes of John Thaw.

This was filmed on Pusey Street in Oxford.

Where the word ‘Pusey’ is marked on the picture above is where Morse stopped the jag at the traffic lights.

Thank you to Janette Worrall for identifying this location.

Miscellaneous

00h45m30s

Morse meets Alexander Reece at Lonsdale College. While talking about the dead girl,
Mary Tremlett Reece says;

The word “odalisque” is French in form and originates from the Turkish odalık, meaning “chambermaid”, from oda, “chamber” or “room”. In popular use, the word odalisque also may refer to a mistress, concubine or paramour of a wealthy man.

In the same scene Reece says;

Tout avec frites means ‘all with French fries’. With the odalisque reference and the “tout avec frites” comment Reece is implying that Mary was overweight. Morse also makes a connection to Mary’s death via the word ‘odalisque’ in reference to her size. However, I can find no definition of the word to mean overweight or not slim. However in art when the word odalisque is used it usually refers to a model with a Rubenesque figure.

——————————————————

When Richard Lovell is told by Dempsey that he needs to resign, Lovell moves toward the phone and says, “We’ll see what Harold has to say about it.”

Lovell is talking about the Prime Minister at the time Harold Wilson.

Image result for harold wilson

Harold Wilson. British Prime Minster (Born: 1916 Died: 1995). Labour PM between 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976.

Of course the casting of Abigail Thaw, John Thaw’s daughter, was very interesting casting and a nice reference to the original series.

———————————————–

The episode is set in 1965 as can be seen via the Tax Disc on Thursday’s car.

 

 

 

Connections to the original Morse series and the Lewis series.

Let’s start with the characters who connect Endeavour with the Morse and Lewis series.

First we have the character of Max de Bryn the pathologist. The character of Max has appeared in all 13 episodes of Endeavour and appeared in seven episodes of Morse;

The Dead of Jericho (6 January 1987) For my review of this episode click here.
The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (13 January 1987) For my review of this episode click here.
Service of All the Dead (20 January 1987) For my review of this episode click here.
The Wolvercote Tongue (25 December 1987) For my review of this episode click here.
Last Seen Wearing (8 March 1988) For my review of this episode click here.
The Settling of the Sun (15 March 1988) For my review of this episode click here.
Last Bus to Woodstock (22 March 1988) For my review of this episode click here.

In the Endeavour series he is played by James Bradshaw (born on March 20, 1976) and the original Morse series he was played by indomitable Peter Woodthorpe (Born: September 25, 1931 – Died: August 12, 2004)

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Peter Woodthorpe as Max in Morse

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James Bradshaw as Max in Endeavour

Our final character to appear is Alexander Reece. This character first appeared in the Morse episode ‘The Last Enemy’ (first aired in 11th January 1989) For my review of this episode click here. Alexander Reece was played by Barry Foster (Born: August 21, 1927 –  Died: February 11, 2002) in the Morse episode. In the Endeavour series he was played by Christopher Brandon (Born: March 3, 1981).

alexander reece

Christopher Brandon as Alexander Reece in Endeavour.

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Barry Foster as Alexander Reece in the Morse episode, ‘The Last Enemy’.

Another character does appear in both the Endeavour pilot and the original Morse series the great love of Morse’s life and the woman who all other woman were compared against is Wendy/Susan. In Colin Dexter’s novel ‘The Riddle of the Third Mile’ (Originally published: October 27, 1983 and filmed under the title of ‘The Last Enemy’ for the Morse series) she is known as Wendy Spencer (this is what Alexander Reece calls her in Endeavour. Endeavour corrects him by saying that she preferred to be known as Susan, as she is called in the Morse episode, ‘Dead on Time’ (first aired 26th February 1992). In the Morse episode her full name is Susan Fallon. Wendy/Susan only appears in a daydream of Endeavours but it is never stated but only implied that she is Wendy/Susan. Fans of Morse will know who she is but those new to the world of Morse will be none the wiser.

wendy or susan

Wendy/Susan as seen in the Endeavour episode when Endeavour is daydreaming after moving into his new abode. The actress is unknown.

vlcsnap-2015-07-31-14h47m57s211

Susan Fallon as played by Joanna David (born on January 17, 1947) in the Morse episode ‘Dead on Time’.

Actors who appeared in the Endeavour Pilot Episode and/or Morse or Lewis.

Firstly, of course, we have the brilliant Roger Allam (Born: October 26, 1953) who plays DI Fred Thurday. Roger appeared in the Inspector Morse episode ‘Death is now my Neighbour’ (first aired on the 19th November 1997) as Denis Cornford.

roger allam

Roger Allam as Denis Cornford in ‘Death is now my Neighbour’.

roger allam2

Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday in the Endeavour series.

Next we have the actor who appears in the Endeavour pilot episode and also in Lewis, Danny Webb (Born: June 6, 1958). Danny Webb has the distinction of not only appearing the pilot episode of Endeavour but also the pilot episode of the Lewis series (29th january 2006). In the Endeavour series he plays the disagreeable DS Arthur Lott. In the Lewis pilot episode he played Tom Pollock.

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Danny Webb as DS Arthur Lott in Endeavour.

webb2

Danny Webb as Tom Pollock in the Lewis pilot episode

The excellent Patrick Malahide plays the nasty, slimy Richard Lovell. Patrick also appeared in the Morse episode ‘Driven to Distraction’ (first aired in 17th January 1990. My review for that episode can be found by clicking here.) again playing a rather nasty character Jeremy Boynton.

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Patrick Malahide as Jeremy Boynton

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Patrick Malahide as Richard Lovell.

Penultimately, is the handsome Richard Lintern who played Dr. Rowan Stromming in the Endeavour post while in the Lewis episode he played Sefton Linn in ‘Whom the Gods would Destroy, (Series 1, Episode 1).

A big thank you to Patricia Clegg who pointed out my omission. How I missed this I don’t know. Senior moment I think. 🙂

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Richard Lintern as Dr. Rowan Stromming in the Endeavour pilot.

sefton linn

Richard Lintern as Sefton Linn in the Lewis episode, ‘Whom the Gods would Destroy’.

Lastly, is John Light who played Dempsey in this episode and Felix Garwood in the Lewis episode, ‘The Lions of Nemea’ (Series 8, Episode 2).

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John Light as Dempsey in Endeavour pilot episode.

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John Light as Felix Garwood in the Lewis episode, ‘The Lions of Nemea’ (Series 8, Episode 2).

CAST

Shaun Evans as Endeavour Morse

Roger Allam as Fred Thursday

Sam Reid as Brian Lomax

Terence Harvey as DCS Crisp

John Light as Dempsey

Charlie Creed-Miles as Teddy Samuels

Daisy Head as Jenny Crisp

Jamie Blackley as Johnny Franks

Harry Kershaw as Miles Percival

Richard Lintern as Dr. Rowan Stromming

Ian Gelder as Stan Tremlett

Maggie Ollerenshaw as Mrs. Crabbin

Jack Ashton as DC Ian McLeash

Emma Stansfield as Sharon Veelie

Flora Montgomery as Rosalind Stromming

Holly Ridley as Valerie Quillen

Michael Matus as Cyril Wright

Danny Webb as DS Arthur Lott

Patrick Malahide as Richard Lovell

Lisa Backwell as Anne Porter

Rachael Heaton as Mary Tremlett

James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn

Christopher Brandon as Alexander Reece

I hope you all enjoyed this post. I am planning to alternate my reviews between the original Morse and the Endeavour series. As for the Lewis series, I am writing a book on that series which I hope to have finished by next year. Take care everyone and thank you all for your continued support.

Author: Chris Sullivan

Up until a few years ago I was my mum's full time carer. She died last year of Covid. I am now about to start my third year year at Edinburgh University studying for a second degree this one being English Literature. My other degree is in Ecological Science. At the moment I am attempting to write a novel.

68 thoughts

  1. Excellent review, so much information…Well Done…cant wait for the next one…!

  2. Great review, thank you! “the now famous and emotional scene” is Pusey Street. Just down from the infamous Eagle & Child pub in St Giles. I searched for this location upon my visit to Oxford last year.

  3. Excellent review, thank you for all your work. This episode is my favourite. I enjoy all your reviews and the music.

  4. Sorry for being Morse retentive but I believe it’s Endeavour and Reece walking in the street, not Endeavour and Morse.
    Also ‘implying’ rather than ‘applying’ that the missing girl was overweight.

  5. My apologies for my previous comment! I hadn’t realised that the Amazon Video version had cut all scenes of John Light as Dempsey, so there was no Syon house in my version at all! How odd. Please disregard.

    1. Somewhere I have seen a comment that there is a similarity between the Dempsey character and Harry Palmer as played by Michael Caine. I have noticed another oblique connection. When Dempsey picks up the telephone and invites Thursday to speak to Home Office, extension 255 “Ask for Colonel Doleman”. Palmer’s boss in all three films was Colonel Ross who was played by the late Guy Doleman. I am sure this cannot be a coincidence!

  6. One anomaly that has always stood out (to me) in this episode (apart from the plot stretching credulity somewhat) – Oxfordshire has mostly been overwhelmingly Conservative in its MPs and certainly during the 1960s. So when Lovell purports to contact ‘Harold’, it’s unlikely that a Tory MP would call a Labour prime minister to try to rescue his career from scandal. Of course it’s possible that a Labour MP for eastern Oxford might live in a grand mansion, but it seems unlikely.

    1. Evan Luard was elected as Labour member for Oxford in the 1966 landslide. By a strange coincidence he was a junior Foreign Office minister 1969/70 although that does not coincide with the time of this Endeavour case,

  7. Lovely site. Great job. I’m reading with the Endeavour theme song on a loop and looking forward to reading more, hopefully while avoiding spoilers for series 5.

  8. What a great review thank you for so much information. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and you answered so many things I wondered about. Please continue with your excellent work

  9. Hi, this is great, I’m also rewatching the Endeavours of Morse at the moment.
    I believe you missed the landlady’s reference to ‘Mr. Goldberg and Mr. McCann, two very nice gentlemen.’ from the Birthday Party by Harold Pinter. There may be others. I’ve certainly spotted many film and novel references in later episodes.

  10. Hi, regarding Morse talking about his mentor and not mentioning Fred Thursday, it’s possible that McNutt became Morse’s mentor after Thursday’s retirement

    1. The other possibility is that McNutt was Morse’s mentor before he got sent to Oxford

      1. McNutt was Morse’s mentor when Morse was a Detective Sergeant. He only become that rank at the end of the fourth series.

  11. Wonderful review! And helpful! You set a high standard for yourself, which is great for us but may not be so easy for you!

    I watched the original “Morse” episodes way back when they first came out, and sporadically at that, so I’ve been trying to play catch-up on the character since I became and “Endeavour” addict. That, in fact, is how I found your blog. Wikipedia also has a pretty extensive biography of the character. One thing that puzzles me(among several, so far) goes back to his unseen upbringing, which, of course, we only learn about in fits and starts across the two series. The Wikipedia cites the “Morse” episode Cherubim and Seraphim as saying his parents divorced when he was twelve and his mother died three years later, which is when he went to live with his father and step-mother. But in this episode, he says his mother died when he was twelve. I tend to cut pilot episodes some slack, because the point of them is to try things and see if they work…and inevitably some of those things don’t. So it didn’t bother me too much that they may have gotten this wrong, but it’s been repeated in several episodes since. So…which is it? (And, let’s be honest: Does it matter that much?)

    1. Unfortunately there are quite a few anomalies between the lore of the original series and the Endeavour series. I don’t remember there being any mention in the Dexter novels as to when his mother died. Russell Lewis the writer and creator of the Endeavour series should have did his homework in regard to the Cherubim episode. Though of course it may have suited Russell Lewis’s timeline better to have Morse’s mother dying when he was twelve.

  12. This is absolutly fantastic. Thank you so much, Chris! I am planning to revisit Oxford, but haven’t been since Endeavour was on, which brought me to the Morse universe. Your reviews are 100% the bees’ knees and what I have looked for.

  13. My commendations on a thoroughly well researched and written review! I only came across Endeavour last month watching an episode from an earlier season, which was I assume re-broadcast by the Australian ABC over the summer non-rating period, and found it riveting! I’ve been raving about it to family and friends alike ever since and have been playing catch up tracking down the entire DVD series. The other night the pilot was re-broadcast by the ABC and so I managed to re-watch this episode again noting down unfamiliar terms or poignant quotes. It was Reece’s dialog with Morse about his and Stromming’s bet that brought me to your website to discern the meaning. So thank you truly for the learning you’ve shared with “perpetual pupils” like myself! I’ll be coming back for more!
    🙂

  14. You are right, it is Fellows’ Quad in Merton College. I have a picture (taken today). You are also right about the Oxford Mail staircase being in St Helens Passage in Oxford (also got a pic of that!). Your locations are spot on, thanks so much! Makes finding the locations so much easier.

  15. Like Cambrian, I too thought Dempsey was based on Harry Palmer. ‘The Ipcress File’ was released in ’65.
    I couldn’t catch all the dialogue in the final Dempsey scene. He says something about political sensitivity to ‘country house sex parties’, a reference to the Profumo affair? John Profumo resigned from Harold Macmillan’s government in ’63.
    Two educated gentlemen betting that they can pass off a young woman as something that she is not is the plot of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. My Fair Lady, the film version of the musical based on Pygmalion, was released in ’64.

  16. I saw some lose episodes of Endeavour but never all of them. As i bought the boxset of the first 6 series, with Dutch subtitles, i am not disapointed after seeing the pilot episode.
    I missed the presence of classical music in one of the later series but not in the pilot one i have just finished.
    Some of the new characters i like, especially Fred Thursday.
    Let see how now for the rest of the series.

    1. The pilot is very good and contains one of the best scenes of the whole series; when the young Endeavour looks in the rear view mirror in the car and sees John Thaw’s Morse.

      1. yes, this brief moment was fantastic. So glad someone thought of doing that. hello, I’ve just signed up to your wonderful and thorough blog posts and reviews. something’s been nagging me and you have much more insight on the Morse universe. Has there ever been more detail or even an image of the Susan character…who evidently was the love of EM’s life…..before Joan, that is. I wonder if Russell Lewis just wanted to leave it mysterious so he decided not to include more details about their love affair or whatever it was. thanks, Chris, and take care! Lisa from California

  17. Watched this again recently. Spoiler Alert! I think Dr Stromming must have slept very soundly on the Saturday night as he didn’t appear to notice his wife getting up early to drive to the bus stop and then return, presumably soaked after standing in the rain,dry off and get changed, all in time for them to go to Church together as normal.

    As far as I can see the wood where Mary’s body is found is the same one used in an episode of Midsomer Murders titled the Sicilian Defence. That MM episode also features a riverside house used in an episode of Lewis.

    1. Julie, I absolutely agree. Getting up and leaving the house unnoticed early in the morning and getting to the bus stop by 6. Returning, probably shivering with cold and then arriving at church by 8 as if everything is normal… And hubby does not notice a thing. I wonder how far that bus stop is from the Stromming house.

  18. In this pilot episode, Endeavour and Thursday drives to a big mansion on which the land, according to Endeavour, is owned by the de Veres, the Earls of Oxford. Is this purely coincidental or could it have anything at all to do with Hugo de Vries? A misspelling of names, perhaps? What do we know about Hugo´s background? Is he mentioned in the novels? Or is it nothing but two very alike, but still different surnames? But, if this Ludo character in season 7 is supposed to be Hugo de Vries it might explain were his money and wealth come from, the Earls of Oxford.

  19. Patrick Malahide, as Mr Lovell, also played the car salesman in the Morse episode Driven to Distraction. If mentioned in the review above I couldn´t find it, but sorry if I repeat myself.

  20. I think this pilot episode is excellent. I watched it again today and really enjoyed it. I did spot a very minor historical error, though. The female victim had pictures of the Beatles on her bedroom wall, including one of the Beatles as cartoon characters from an animated American TV series. Morse is typing his resignation letter at the start, dated June 1965. Yet the Beatles cartoon series was not broadcast until September 1965. Loved the episode, though.

    1. Probably not Emily. He may decide to watch them when the Endeavour series finishes.

  21. Hi Kathryn, As far as I understand it, Rosalind bought two dresses, one a larger size to dress Mary Tremlett after she killed her. Rosalind was smaller in size so she needed a size small dress to appear at the bus stop pretending to be Mary. Endeavour figures this out when he sees the size label on the dress Mary was found in. Rosalind then discarded (burned) her dress. I had to watch it a couple of times too.

    1. Hi Kathleen. I have just observed your explanation to Kathryn Roberts, (Kathleen and Kathryn, two such similar names, I hope I don’t get mixed up!!) regarding how the dress was an important part in the murder plot, during this wonderful Endeavour pilot episode. I agree that it is certainly a significant detail in this story. However, may I slightly correct your statement above, Kathleen? I loathe having to do this, as you write so many interesting remarks on this website. Firstly, you are correct, in saying Rosalind Stromming bought two dresses, but she made one fatal mistake, which exposed her as the murderer, cleverly uncovered by Endeavour. Rosalind bought two dresses, but they were exactly the same size as herself. She should have realised, that young Mary Tremlett, was a very well developed 15 year old girl, you could say, she was buxom, and at least two dress sizes larger than Rosalind.

      To biefly summarize and make things clearer, towards the end of the episode, Morse in conversation with Thursday, elucidates, that after Rosalind brutally killed Mary in Bagley Woods with a crowbar, she stripped Mary, and left a green and white party dress by her body. A dress, rather than the dress. There were two. The following morning anyone passing the bus stop would have seen exactly what Rosalind wanted them to see. A redhead in a green, black and white chevron print dress, to be taken for Mary Tremlett, waiting for the first bus to Woodstock. The wig and dress worn by Rosalind for disguise, Morse says, are unlikely ever to be found, as Rosalind burnt them.

      Morse then explains to Thursday, it was the perfect crime, in all respects, bar one. It was essential to Rosalind’s plan that the two dreses appear identical. But what she failed to take into account was the fact she is two sizes smaller than Mary. The shop girl or shopkeeper remembered Rosalind at once. The beautiful woman with the diamond earrings, who had bought two identical dresses of the same size.

      Interestingly, earlier on, in this great episode, Morse had wondered about Mary’s clothes, without quite realising its importance. He had noticed the dress placed next to Mary’s body, was a size small, and yet her bra size was 36C. At this moment, Endeavour had turned to a fellow young DC, he was working with on the case, and had asked, “Do you know much about women’s clothes?” DC McLeash answered, “Besides they look better off than on, why?” Morse then replied, “Something someone said. I was trying to remember”.

      Morse was referring to a conversation he’d had with a young Alexander Reece, at Lonsdale college, during the initial stages of the investigation. The older Reece character, was of course, originally played by Barry Foster in the Inspector Morse episode, “The Last Enemy”. Anyway, a young Reece had told Morse, Mary “filled a sweater well enough, but was a mite odalisque to my taste. Tout avec frites, I suppose. Take the girl out of Cowley”… Morse rather disliked those comments and said, “You didn’t used to be so cruel Alex”. Reece smiling, said simply, “Poor old Morse. You were never Oxford material. Too bloody decent by half”.

      In essence, Endeavour did not appreciate the true meaning of that conversation with Reece, until later. By the conclusion of the episode, it explained the mistake Rosalind had made. Hence, she was found out by a young Morse, who had opened up the mystery, and solved the riddle. This was unfortunately, painful for Endeavour, because he deeply admired Rosalind for her soprano operatic voice, and he had started to have feelings for her, as he was getting to know her, during the course of his inquiries.

      Finally, I would like to wish you and your family, a Merry Christmas, Kathleen, and a Happy and Healthy New Year. Thank you very much for joining me, in so many good conversations on this website, about all things related to Morse, over the past few months.

      1. Hi James, Yes you are so right! My mistake and I’m sorry I gave out wrong information. And I never mind being corrected; in fact I am glad to be when I am wrong (which can be often!) You have a knack for summarizing and analyzing these episodes and it’s always a pleasure to read them. I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a wonderful year ahead. See on Chris’ great website and on twitch (when we can:))

      2. James or Chris, While we are on this episode, I have always wondered what Endeavour meant when he replied to Max’s comment that Endeavour was necrophobic. Endeavour then says that he had a word for Max but it is an Anglo Saxon one. Would you know what word Endeavour meant?

  22. Hi Kathleen. Thanks for replying so quickly. I am pleased to hear you enjoy reading my summaries and analysis of episodes in the Morse universe, that is very kind of you, to say that. To answer your question above, firstly, I will just illustrate its context. A young Endeavour attends the crime scene of Miles Percival’s brutal death, where he meets the pathologist, Dr. Max DeBryn, for the first time. Morse is clearly affected by the sight of the body, and when Max speaks about the post-mortem that will have to be carried out on the deceased young man, where he expects to see Morse again, Endeavour asks for the details to be given to him over the phone by Max. Morse would prefer to receive the information that way, as opposed to meeting Max at the mortuary. Dr. DeBryn does not exactly agree to this idea, and says there is a word for people like Morse, “necrophobic”. This word is Greek in origin, the “nekros” part of the word means “corpse”, while the “phobos” part means “fear”. It is therefore, someone with a phobia or irrational fear of dead bodies, including a fear of things associated with death, such as coffins, tombstones, funerals and cemetries. A great thing to have, if you are a policeman!!!

    Now, to answer your question Kathleen, sorry to have waffled on a little bit, Morse’s reply to the suggestion by Max, that he was necrophobic, was to say, “there is a word for people like Max, “Anglo-Saxon”, though, rather than Greek”. Perhaps, the term “Anglo-Saxon”, is a British colloquialism or British informal, Kathleen, and as you are American, I can very well understand, why you did not realise its meaning. Anyway here is the definition for you, “it is any of a group of monosyllabic English words, whether or not of Anglo-Saxon origin, that are considered vulgar and unacceptable in polite use, which in fact, sometimes includes four-letter swear words”.

    I hope I have successfully answered your question, Kathleen. Happy Christmas to you again, and I also look forward to “seeing” you on this website and on Twitch, in the New Year.

    1. To make myself crystal clear, Morse thus wanted to call Max an offensive word, for refusing to give him the details of the post-mortem over the telephone. However, he restrained himself, and humorously said, “there is word for someone like Max, and that word is Anglo-Saxon!!!”

      1. Thank you James for explaining this. I guess you might say Endeavour was being, as you Brits say, “cheeky.” (Hope I’m using that term correctly) 😊

      2. You are absolutely right Kathleen. Young Morse was being rather cheeky, in his response to Max calling him, necrophobic. Anyway, that is all for now, thanks for your prompt replies, Kathleen, and take care.

  23. “There is “a” word for someone like Max”. Sorry, I missed the letter “a”, in my last comment, above

  24. Happy New Year to all! I started rewatching this pilot, partly in preparation for next Sunday’s viewing and chat, partly to entertain myself on a day of lousy weather. In case I forget to mention it during our chat, here’s a reminder to add Matthew Arnold’s 1853 poem “The Scholar Gypsy” to Literary References. It comes up about 27 minutes into the PBS version of the pilot, the scene where Morse is in his room with Mary’s books. This is when he connects the crosswords to meeting places/times.

    If you’re a lover of Oxford, Arnold’s poem is well worth your time.

  25. Thanks mr. Sullivan, for your insightful review(s). I truly loved this pilot, yet I only recently started to watch the next seasons (now watching season 5). I will be reading/following this blog with interest!

    1. Thank you so much Marcus for you’re lovely and thoughtful comment. I do hope you find many things of interest on my website.

  26. Hi Chris. I wrote these comments, earlier, on another page of your website, that advertised watching the Endeavour pilot on Twitch. I have now decided, it is perhaps best to place it underneath your excellent review of the first ever Endeavour episode.

    Just thought it was just worth reiterating, that the pilot episode, “First Bus to Woodstock”, is a wonderful and magical Endeavour!!! It was a pleasure to watch it with you, and all your followers on Twitch. Thanks also for agreeing to my suggestion, Chris, that the discussion on a Wednesday, should be called “A Critical Endeavour”!! Everything was marvellous in this episode, the acting, the music, the location scenery, and the numerous connections to the original Morse series. Most importantly of all, the writer, Russell Lewis, scripted an excellent and exciting story, covering all sorts of subjects, such as corruption in the police force and the wider community. This was interconnected with political scandal (the sex parties at a grand manor, where a sleazy Minister was involved with underage girls). The contrast between the good and bad detectives. Old Morse favourites, such as our hero being unlucky in love, and also his passion for classical music and crosswords. The association with the historically famous, Oxford colleges, this time through a Classics lecturer, romantically linked to the missing, later found murdered, 15 year-old schoolgirl, that he was supposedly mentoring. Finally, the commencement of a new and intriguing detective partnership, between of course, Thursday and Morse.

  27. Further to my above comments, I should have said that corruption was interconnected with political scandal, because the crooked and dodgy car dealer, with policemen in his pocket, named Teddy Samuels, organised the sex parties at a grand manor, and procured underage girls, for the Minister and other prominent people. The episode is set in June 1965, and It has slight echoes of the notorious Profumo Affair of 1963. This of course, was referenced, when the character Dempsey, mentioned, “he did not want another Cliveden”, which is an English country house and estate, on the border between Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The main house of this privileged estate, sits above the banks of the River Thames, and it was the setting for key events of the aforementioned Profumo Scandal.

    Speaking of the River Thames, this pilot episode had as many connections to the original Morse series, as bridges that connect the Thames, through London!!! A number of these are delightful, as you illustrated in your excellent review on this website, Chris. According to Antony Richards and Philip Attwell in their book, “The Oxford of Inspector Morse”, there is another connection, regarding the wonderful conclusion to the episode, when young Morse looks into the driver’s mirror and sees the face of John Thaw, just before the soothing Morse theme music, plays out the show.

    Wendy Spencer in the Colin Dexter books, better known in the original television series as Susan Bryce-Morgan, or using her married name, Susan Fallon, lived at No. 22 St. John Street, Oxford, during her University days. This was at the time, Morse fell in love with her, which was half-way through his third year studying classics. In the acclaimed Morse episode “Dead on Time”, we are told Morse and Susan were briefly engaged, during this period. The affair, led to Morse failing his degree, and not long afterwards their relationship had broken down. Morse thus left Oxford with a broken heart.

    Back to the events of “First Bus to Woodstock”, and of course, Morse returns to Oxford for the first time, since that turbulent phase of his life, now as a policeman. At the very end of the episode, Morse driving his boss’s Jaguar, stops at the traffic lights, towards the very end of Pusey Street. His new mentor, Fred Thursday, asks him where he would like to be in twenty years time. Cue the previously described, poignant and emotional scene. It is therefore entirely appropriate, that this was filmed at the corner of St. John Street and Pusey Street, because No. 22 St. John Street, is clearly in shot, as Morse drives off.

    To back up the evidence provided by Antony Richards and Philip Attwell, here is a Google Maps satellite link, which portrays the exact location of No. 22 St. John Street, Oxford. As Morse drives out of Pusey Street, choosing to go to his right, the house can be seen very briefly in the background. If you look over to Morse’s left, as he starts to pull out of Pusey Street, and into St. John Street, there is the green door of No. 22, that you can see, just beyond the black and white pole of the traffic lights.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/22+St+John+St,+Oxford+OX1+2LH/@51.7564008,-1.2619549,98m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x4876c6a68613894f:0x1a9145b657e3824d!8m2!3d51.7564055!4d-1.2617323

  28. I have found a very interesting conversation with the writer Russell Lewis, all about the wonderful Endeavour pilot, he scripted. The interview on this link I have discovered, was from 2014, just before the broadcast of the first episode of the second series, “Trove”. Nevertheless, the article is mainly all about “First Bus to Woodstock”, and there is also a shorter interview with Abigail Thaw, John Thaw’s daughter, who of course, plays the Oxford Mail Editor, Dorothea Frazil. Here is the link:

    http://dmbarcroft.com/2014/03/

    1. I especially enjoyed this interview. And since Thursday’s sandwiches are mentioned, I do recall, if I’m not mistaken, in one of the early episodes that on Thursday, Thursday’s sandwich is ham and tomato.

  29. Every few years I like to rewatch Morse and Endeavour, and I always have to reference these delightful posts. I’m a young fan, and never caught Morse on television as it was airing, but I watch them now while my kids play outside.

    Just wanted to say I appreciate all the work you put into these. They’re so fascinating and there is always something else to notice with each viewing. I must admit (and perhaps this is due to my age) that I prefer Endeavour to Morse, although I hold the original series in the highest regard. I just finished watching Endeavour through season 7 and started fresh last night with this pilot. The actual murder mysteries vary in quality from episode to episode (especially season 7, in my opinion), but I have developed such an attachment to the cast of supporting characters. I think the character development of Thursday and Bright has been tremendous, and I find myself more concerned with what is going on in their lives than Endeavour Morse!

    Once I complete this watchthrough I will probably watch the orginal Morse again, and perhaps Lewis (although for some reason I find some of those episodes difficult to watch and skip some).

    Again, fantastic work!

    A Morse Appreciator,
    Bria

    1. Thank you Bria for your lovely comment and support. I think one’s favourite series in the Morse Universe can be attributed to age and which series one watches first.

  30. i discovered poet Philip Larkin a couple years but still haven’t read much of his work. then it dawned on me,”I wonder if any of Larkin’s work was mentioned in ENDEAVOUR” (timeline, use of poetry in show, etc.). thanks your blog post, i was right!

    again – this is a great blog and i’m sure i’ll get into more as i go along. i might have asked this question on one of your other posts but did we ever find out any more on DI Ronnie Box’s condition the last episode of Season 6?

    also, i read somewhere a viewer criticizing Morse for being a shitty shot with the pistol, regarding the same episode mentioned above. i disagreed. Box’s gun pointed at Thursday, Morse’s gun pointed at Box, the other guy’s gun pointed…where was it pointed? i forgot. anyway. if you sort it all out, i wouldn’t think Morse was wrong in any way what he did – reaction time being what it is, how would Morse know what Box’s last move would be.

    finally, are you aware of ANY site that talks just about the poetry used in ENDEAVOUR? or would your blog be my best bet?

    cheers & thanks!
    jeff

  31. Chris, While watching the pilot again, I noticed a seat belt in the black Jag that Morse uses the first time he picks up Thursday. He is not wearing it but it is hanging by the driver’s side. I believe the pilot takes place in 1965 and I don’t recall seat belts being used in cars at that time (I had just started driving then in the US) so I googled it, particularly when seat belts were first installed in cars in Britain (not made mandatory) and read that it was in 1968. Obviously that Jag must still be used today so, unless I am wrong, it had to be retrofitted with them but I’m wondering if the production crew should have taken more care to leave that out of that shot of Morse driving it. A small thing but it did strike me as not being true to the time period. I could be wrong about the date but that is the date according to Google.

  32. Reading this review i’m reminded that sadly, another part of the Morse universe is no more; The Lamb & Flag is no longer a public house.

  33. it wasn’t until AFTER i completed watching Season 1 that i stumbled upon the Pilot episode (this is in the U.S.). anyone know why the pilot wasn’t included with the rest of the seasons? was it included in other countries?

    1. I have heard this often about the lack of a pilot episode from many people over the years. It may have something to do with copyright.

  34. I think the scene where we see the salacious party venue at dawn with the flash cars outside looks like the scene towards the end of Get Carter where a similar gathering is ‘busted by the rozzers’ at dawn.

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