Hello everyone and welcome to latest post on the Endeavour series. I’m sorry I am rather late with this post but I am juggling so many proverbial balls at the moment it is difficult to keep them all in the air. I hope you like my video above that I created for this post.
Thank you all for your continued support and welcome to my new subscribers. So, without further ado let’s get on with the new post.
As always with the Endeavour episodes I have to be on my toes due to Russell Lewis’s predilection for movie and literary references. I doubt I have caught them all but hopefully I have found most of them.
This post will contain SPOILERS. I hope you enjoy this post.
Endeavour Series One, Episode Three; ‘Rocket’.
Chronologically this is episode 4.
First broadcast 28th April 2013.
Colin can be seen in the background at 40 minutes and 30 seconds.
Directed by Craig Viveiros: Craig didn’t direct any other Endeavour episodes or any Morse or Lewis episodes but he did direct Jack Laskey (DS Peter Jakes) in the WW2 drama X Company.
Written by 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’.
During a royal visit to the arms manufacturer, British Imperial Electric Company, an employee by the name of Percy Mallason is murdered. No motive is obvious but the police find it strange for someone to kill Percy when not only was the place a buzz of activity in the factory but the police had a strong presence in the factory due to threats of the royal car being pelted by eggs from demonstrators.
During Endeavour’s investigation at the the factory he meets someone from his Oxford university days; an Alice Vexin. Alice lived next door to Susan, Endeavour’s girlfriend at the time and the woman who would break his heart.
During the investigation into Percy’s murder a photograph of a girl, Olive Rix, is found in Percy Mallason’s flat; Olive Rix had been murdered 12 years previously.
Endeavour and Thursday discover that Olive had two boyfriends, a Eustace Kendrick, who was blamed for the murder but fled the country and a Harry Broom the son of the owners of British Imperial Electric Company. However, Harry died 4 years previously of an aneurysm.
No sooner has above mystery surfaced than another employee Lenny Frost is found murdered in the factory. Lenny had been suspended from his job and he had been a suspect in the death of Percy as Lenny believed that Percy was responsible for having him suspended.
Endeavour and Thursday are under intense pressure to solve the murders quickly as
Chief Superintendent Bright is under similar pressure from his superiors.
(warning, this review may contain some spoilers)
This penultimate episode of series one keeps up the quality of the series as a whole. As in previous episodes and forthcoming ones the writer Russell Lewis gives us little glimpses into Endeavour’s past. We learn that he smoked French cigarettes at university. Alice Vixin confirms that Endeavour has always been awkward, difficult and contra mundum even before Susan broke his heart.
Like so many of the Endeavour episodes we the audience know that Endeavour is a slow moving show with no car chases, explosions or quick edits so that would mimic a MTV show. But, it does give the perverse impression that it is moving along at a fair gallop. It feels like we the viewer have just got comfortable with our coffee/tea and biscuits and the show has finished its one hour and 40 minute reel time.
This is thanks in no small part to the writer Russell Lewis. However, the director of this episode, Craig Viveiros, deserves kudos for allowing the episode to move along in what feels like an organic and unfussy way. The direction is very tight and never feels like any of the scenes have been included for filler.
I cannot say the same for the script. As much as it is extremely well written there were parts that I felt were unnecessary and used as filler. Personally, I didn’t think most of the sections involving the Arab leader Crown Prince Nabil were necessary. They never added anything to the storyline. No one watching could have thought the Arab leader had any involvement in the murders. The police interview with Crown Prince Nabil could have been mentioned in a single sentence between Thursday and Bright. Most of the scenes involving the Arab leader could have been easily included in dialogue between other characters. Literature has a technique known as ‘show, don’t tell’ but television and films cannot use the same technique. There are many examples of where showing would have been detrimental to a scene.
I will show you an example from one of my favourite films, ‘This Happy Breed’. The scene involves Vi coming home to tell her parents that their son Reg has been killed in a car accident. Watch what the camera does and how the scene plays out.
To many directors in the modern movies and television would have had the camera chasing after Vi to watch the reactions of her parents to the tragic news. But not the genius that was David Lean, the director of this film. He made the scene more tragic by having the viewer take the place of the actors on the screen. What I mean by that is that due to their being no actors on the screen we project ourselves on to the scene and begin to feel everything the characters are feeling off screen.
Sorry I am beginning to rant like a grumpy old man at some of my bêtes noires of modern television and cinema. But I hope I have made my point about the episode.
These early episodes have me missing DS Jakes. It is a shame his character was written out of the series. Of course Jack Laskey may have asked to be written out as he does star in a successful show called X Company. However, I do miss the character as he was an excellent foil to Endeavour’s character something that the newer episodes don’t have.
One problem I have with this episode and much of the Endeavour series as a whole is that it makes Morse too likeable. In the original series the John Thaw character was played and written at times to be unlikeable. There were times in the original series where one questioned why we the audience liked him due to his occasional tantrums, unworthy outbursts usually aimed at Lewis. The original Morse was shown as a fully formed character warts and all. At the moment Shaun Evans comes across as too likeable, too much at times like a lost and adorable puppy. Yes, Shaun Evans’s Morse has at times had outbursts directed at Thursday but never to a point where you thought for a second, I don’t like this Morse. Of course future episodes may have Shaun Evans’s Morse become more irascible and at times unlikeable but i’m not sure Russell Lewis or the producers will have the courage to do this.
Endeavour continues to antagonise Chief Superintendent Bright and make Thursday wonder if he does it on purpose. There are times where you wonder if Endeavour is trying to get himself fired from the police force (though we know that never happens) as he doesn’t have the nerve to leave his situation.
Altogether a great episode and would have probably been my favourite episode of the first series if the next episode ‘Home’ wasn’t part of it.
Kudos to all of the cast as always but Martin Jarvis and Jenny Seagrove must get special mention as the warring ex partners. They certainly were given some of the episodes juiciest dialogue and boy did they make the most of it.
Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.
Only two pieces of classical music in this episode. The first is at the beginning of the episode when all the factory workers are painting and cleaning in preparation for the royal visit. Not difficult to understand why this piece of music was chosen.
This is ‘Va, Pensiero‘ from Giuseppe Verdi’s (1813 -1901) opera Nabucco. The piece is also know as the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves.
Next up at one hour and 10 minutes after the body of Olive Rix is discovered Endeavour is listening to music in his flat.
This piece of music was composed by English composer Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) Dido & Aeneas – When I am laid in earth (Dido’s lament).
A piece of abstract art in the office of Henry Broom. I’m afraid I don’t recognise this painting. Abstract/Cubism are not my favourite styles of painting.
Another abstract piece in the Broom’s family home, Chinon Court. This painting is called ‘Collage‘ by Stefan Knapp (1921 – 1996).
- At one hour and four minutes when the police are asking questions of the Broom family, Estella Broom mentions that she had meet Olive Rix. Estelle said she was fun and had a “Sara Crew fantasy”. Sarah Crew was a character in the children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess’.
The main location in this episode is the factory used to stand in for British Imperial Electric Company.
The factory used was the Tate and Lyle factory in Greenwich, London.
Producer Dan McCulloch said in an interview with the Radio Times (a British TV listing magazine) “the cast and crew spent half the shoot in a freezing cold, old Tate & Lyle factory building (I’m not sure they’ve forgiven me yet!!).”
Up next we have the location of the shoemakers Cribb and Co. Endeavour finds a pair of well made and expensive shoes in Percy Malleson’s flat and visits the shoemakers.
The shop is actually the Oxfam bookshop on Turl Street.
At around the 39 minute mark Endeavour visits Marigold Proctor, Eustace Kendrick’s cousin. at university.
The location is Canterbury Quad, St John’s College, Oxford.
Next we have the house known as Chinon Court, the home of the Broom family.
The house is in fact known as The Homewood. It is a Historic house museum in Surrey. Click link for more information; https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-homewood.
The pub used in this and a few other episodes of Endeavour is I believe a studio built location.
At one hour and 15 minutes Endeavour is waiting for Alice Vexin.
The location is Radcliffe Square.
Actors who appeared in the Endeavour Series 1, Episode 3 ‘Rocket’ and/or Morse or Lewis.
Apart from Roger Allam, there are four actors who appeared in this episode and also appeared in either the Morse or Lewis series. So, let’s begin…
First up is the lovely Martin Jarvis. He stars in this episode as Henry Broom and also starred in the Morse episode, ‘Greeks Bearing Gifts’ as Randall Rees. (Series 5, Episode 4).
Martin Jarvis as Henry Broom in the Endeavour episode, ‘Rocket’.
Martin Jarvis as Randall Rees in the Morse episode, ‘Greeks Bearing Gifts’.
Next we have William Houston who played Richard Broom in the Endeavour episode and George Stoker in the Lewis episode ‘Expiation’, (Series 1, Episode 3).
William Houston as Richard Broom in the Endeavour episode.
William Houston as George Stoker in the Lewis episode ‘Expiation’.
Jack Roth who played Lenny Frost and appeared in the Lewis episode, ‘The Mind has Mountains’ (series 5, episode 3) he played Jack Collins.
Jack Roth as Lenny Frost in ‘Rocket’.
Jack Roth in Lewis episode, ‘The Mind has Mountains’, as Jack Collins.
Last but not least the fragrant Jenny Seagrove. She played Nora Broom in the Endeavour episode. In the Lewis episode, ‘The Point of Vanishing’ (Series 3, Episode 3) she played the character Cecile Rattenburg.
Jenny Seagrove as Nora Broom in the Endeavour episode.
Jenny Seagrove as Cecile Rattenburg in the Lewis episode, ‘The Point of Vanishing’ (Series 3, Episode 3).
- At one minute and 50 seconds Reg Tracepurcel says “There goes turd of turd hall” when Johnny Broom drives past. This is of course a reference to Kenneth Graham’s Toad of Toad Hall .
- Nora Broom calls her son ‘little boots’. This may be a reference to Caligula. As a boy of just two or three, Gaius accompanied his father, Germanicus, on campaigns in the north of Germania. … He was soon given his nickname Caligula, meaning “little (soldier’s) boot” in Latin, after the small boots he wore.
- At around eight and a half minutes Endeavour passes through the throng of those protesting against the monarchy. He notices they have misspelled the word ‘Levellers’ on their placards. The Levellers were a group of radicals who during the years of the English Civil War challenged the control of Parliament.
- At 19 and a half minutes Endeavour says to Jakes, “Without fear, or favour”. This is a phrase used most notably in the Oath of Allegiance to the British monarchy.
- Chinon Court the name of the Broom family home might be a reference to Château de Chinon a castle located on the bank of the Vienne river in Chinon. Chinon was used most notably as a home by Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was duchess of that same region in southwestern France in the 11th century, and wife of King Henry II Plantagenet of England, for a time. They had eight children together, including the crusader king Richard the Lionheart and the disastrous king John of England.
- At around 18 minutes Endeavour meets Alice Vixin. She was the neighbour of Susan Endeavour’s great love who broke his heart.
- At 18 and a half minutes Alice is talking to Endeavour and mentions that she and Alex Reece made a foursome with Endeavour and Susan. Alex Reece was a main character in the Morse episode ‘The Last Enemy’.
Barry Foster as Sir Alexander Reece
The character also turned up in the Endeavour pilot episode.
Christopher Brandon as Alexander Reece
- One of the character’s names in the episode is Reg Tracepurcel, a trade unionist. With a name like that I knew it had to be a reference to something. As it turned out it is a name used in two great British films, ‘I’m All Right Jack’ and ‘Private’s Progress’. The character’s name is Bertram Tracepurcel played in both films by the excellent, talented and sadly under-rated Dennis Price.
‘I’m All Right Jack’ was a satire on British industrial life in the 1950s and in particular the incompetence of the trade unions, workers and bosses. A theme that runs through this Endeavour episode. It is a great film with a wonderful cast that included Ian Carmichael, Dennis Price, Richard Attenborough, Terry-Thomas, Peter Sellers, John Le Mesurier and the indomitable and wonderful Margaret Rutherford. What a cast, a real who’s who of 1950’s great British character actors. The plot of the film also like the Endeavour episode involves trying to obtain a new contract with a Middle Eastern country.
- At 54 minutes Alice and Endeavour are in the pub. Alice is talking about Endeavour’s awkwardness and then says “Contra mundum”. The Latin phrase means ‘defying or opposing everyone else.’
- Constable Strange hears Endeavour mention he has tickets for the cinema. Strange – “I hear you say pictures? It’s all right for some.
What you gonna see?” Endeavour replies, “There’s a new Bergman.” Strange – “Oh, yeah? I thought she was cracking in Casablanca.”
Of course Endeavour was not talking about the beautiful actress Ingrid Bergman but the famous Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. They were not related. No Bergman film was released in 1965 but his film ‘All These Women’ was released in the summer of 1964.
Thank you to John Molloy who emailed me these very interesting references within the episode,
The character of Werner Volk maybe a nod in the direction of Werner von Braun, a German V1 and V2 scientist who joined the USA rocketry and space exploration programmes after WW2.
The rocket’s name Standfast maybe a literary reference. Mr Standfast is the title of John Buchan’s second sequel to The Thirty Nine Steps.
The designation XXV as written on the nose cone of the missile also a reference to the Buchan novel? This may be a tenuous thread but if you add the letters contained in Mister, Standfast, John and Buchan, they total 25 which is XXV in Roman numerals.
Thank you John.
At around 3 minutes and 45 seconds Bright, Morse, Jakes and Thursday are in the police station.
Bright – “After the first “Your Highness”, it’s Ma’am. To rhyme with Spam.”
Thursday – “Rather than Smarm.”
Bright – What?
Thursday – “To rhyme with, sir. Mam, not Marm.”
Bright – “Just so.”
Back at the police station after the royal visit to the Broom’s factory.
Bright – “Her Royal Highness put everyone quite at their ease. A marvellous quality, don’t you think?”
Thursday – “She spoke to you, then, sir?”
Bright – “Oh, yes. Protocol dictates of course that one has to wait for Her Royal Highness to speak to one first. ‘Have you come far?’ she said. Just like that. Regular, familiar as you please. Have you come far?”
Thursday – “What did you say?”
Bright – ” That I hadn’t.”
Thursday – “One for the memoirs Sir.”
At 54 minutes Endeavour and Alice are in a pub.
Alice – “You were never like the rest.”
Endeavour – “Well, I wanted to be. I tried to be, I think.”
Alice – “When?”
Endeavour – “I did. I tried to Trad and the Angries. Satre. French cigarettes.”
Alice – “That’s why I like you. You were difficult.”
Endeavour – “Different, surely.”
Alice – “Difficult, definitely. Awkward. You were all…corners socially.”
Endeavour – “Oh well.”
Alice – “And so angry. Contra Mundum. At yourself most of all.”
James Merry as Percy Malleson
Rosalind Halstead as Estella Broom
Jack Roth as Lenny Frost
James Northcote as Johnny Broom
Craig Parkinson as Reg Tracepurcel
Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Bright
Martin Jarvis as Henry Broom
Maimie McCoy as Alice Vexin
Darwin Shaw as Crown Prince Nabil
Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday
Sean Rigby as PC Jim Strange
Jack Laskey as DS Peter Jakes
William Houston as Richard Broom
Shaun Evans as DC Endeavour Morse
Joanna Cassidy as Brenda Grice
Jenny Seagrove as Nora Broom
William Brand as Dr. Werner Volk
Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil
James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn
Tim Stern as Cribb’s Bootmaker
Ellie Beaven as Marigold Proctor.
That is that for this post. I hope you enjoyed it and leave any comments you have about the post below. Take care.
I enjoy your analysis, but the article is too long. Perhaps split it in specific topics. Continue your blog as it is definitely showing your lnowledge and insight.
Not too long at all.
I enjoy your blog very much. Keep up the good work. It’s appreciated.
Off topic but I thought your followers, if that is the right word, might be interested to know that Lewis and Endeavour will both no longer be available on Netflix from the end of this month. I don’t know why. I’m busily trying to get through the last couple of series of Lewis at the moment before the door closes. Morse hasn’t been on Netflix in a few years, I believe. It’s a real pity.
Anyway, I hope your readers find this info helpful.
Thank you for that heads up Michael.
Is that Estella Broom who comes to the door of the Gulf Arab’s room? By the way, I like the Arab/Anglo history element he brings. From soldiers of Lawrence to armament buyers in England.
I very much enjoy Endeavour, your analysis of the background and script is very interesting and worthwhile. I understand the need to allow Endeavour to stand alone rather than try and continually tie it in with Morse. Clearly both are very good and in there way simulate life as changes through life experience form the character. Shaun Evans is great as he bridges the post – undergrad self with the discipline and reality of working police. Waiting for his elevation to inspector.
I have a theory that much of this episode refers to the 1966 play The Lion in Winter by James Goldman. Nora is Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry Broom is Henry II (Plantagenet is Broom I think.). Ownership of the French territory of Vexin forms part of the plot, and Chinon in Anjou is the setting.
I keep wondering why no one (till now!) has commented on this. The parallels are so numerous, almost in every detail. The Broom children? Their eldest son, Harry, as Henry II and Eleanor’s son, Prince Henry, both died before inheriting. Their other sons, Richard and John; match up with Richard the Lionheart and evil Prince John in the film. Alice Vexin – on TV, assistant to (and rumored mistress of) Mr. Broom; in The Lion In Winter, Alys was Henry II’s mistress; and the Vexin was the property in France that Henry and Eleanor were fighting over. Always a fascinating episode, for these and many other reasons..
Another Lion in Winter similarity is when Nora arrives and Henryasks her how her trip was and she responds that all of the lights turned green for her.
Eleanor’s reply to Henry’s query “did the waters part for you?”, was no but it went flat when I told it to.
Yes, according to the Project Britain website, “Plantagenet” comes from “planta genista”, Latin for the yellow broom flower, which the Counts of Anjou wore on their helmets as an emblem. Now that you point it out, I can definitely see the connection!
I see this was already mentioned below by Margaret. Sorry for not reading further before commenting! Always amazed not only at Christopher’s insights but at those of Morse/Endeavour viewers. They add so much to the enjoyment of these episodes.
Love your blog.
I notice, that the Broom family is a mirror of the Plantagenet family itself, particularly in the play “The Lion in Winter.” In fact, the central issue in this episode is a narrative mirror of that play. The characters in the Broom family have the same names as in The Lion in Winter. Nora Bloom is Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard Broom is Richard Lionheart, and so on.
The Plantagenet name came to the family of Henry II because his father Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou wore a broom flower in his hat, or, as the French called it, planta genet, i.e., broom.
This is not the only episode of Endeavor mapped to a film. Another episode is mapped in terms of narrative structure to the film Jaws. Look for more fun film plot theft in other episodes. More to nerd out about.
Thank you Margaret for a very insightful comment. I will add that info to my post.
It’s not just a film, of course. ‘The Lion in Winter’ dramatises the actual relationship and issues in the Plantagenet family, especially after the death of the ‘young king’ Henry (who was actually crowned during his father’s lifetime). The main difference of course is that in real life it wasn’t Henry and Eleanor’s daughter who inherited!
I would like to mention that Henry Broom, Sr. misquotes Shakespeare when he says, “When troubles come…” It is, “When sorrows come…” From Hamlet. “When sorrows come they come not single spies, but in battalions.”
Fred Thursday uses the phrase “tell the truth and shame the devil,” in this episode, and in the series six episode PYLON.
Endeavor continues to shine with the sixties fashion of the young women.
The location for the pub where Morse and Alice meet looks to be the old Hornsey Town Hall in Crouch End, London. Hornsey Town Hall was used extensively as the setting for the BBC series “The Hour” starring Ben Whishaw and Dominic West, you can see the same red-and-gold wallpaper in this shot:
Hornsey was also used as the interior location for “Wessex Bank” in the Endeavour S4 episode CODA. The climactic shootout for CODA was filmed in the courtyard car park in the back of Hornsey.
Trivia: Anton Lesser starred in both series, and shot scenes in almost the exact same spot in the car park!
Thank you Dave and welcome to my website. I will look into the location and add the information to my post.
The outside of the factory as Johnny Broom drives in at the beginning is the old Cilag factory near Saunderton just outside High Wycombe. It is now seemingly high class apartments.
I know this is now a few years old, but I think identifying the more prominent classic cars would be great. i.e., what is the coupe that is used to drop off Nora Broom in her first scene?
Hi Nick and welcome to my website. Sorry, but I know nothing about cars.
‘I do hope there will be sandwiches. There’s only so much insincere obsequiousness I can take on an empty stomach’ says Nora Broom as she arrives at British Imperial ahead of the Royal visit. A wonderful line and so well delivered by Jenny Seagrove. She plays her role perfectly.
Would Mr Tracepurcel have been allowed to greet royalty without wearing a jacket ? Shirt and braces indeed !
One wouldn’t think so Kevin.
I didn’t rate this episode at all. The thing that made the original Morse such a great series, is that the motives for the murders were both convincing and logically resolved (The Way Through The Woods and Second Time Around especially). What was the motive here for the Olive Rix murder? Tracepurcel tried it on with her, killed her, and yet he was never even a suspect in the original enquiry? Come on!! And surely if he was the sort of character to kill over a rebuttal of his advances, Morse and Thursday would have investigated his past and these murderous tendencies would have been apparent?
But no, Endeavour and Thursday consider him to be the murderer because they find a shard of electrical equipment at the scene. How very convenient. As convenient as the all-too-obvious ending, where Tracepurcel coughed up the location of his jacket rather than just keeping schtum, or even saying “How did you find it THERE?”, leaving the location unmentioned.
It just felt like a lazy ending to an – at best – tenuous series of murders…
On the one hand this was a great episode that I rewatched on Saturday evening (coincidentally Coronation Day). It had all the hallmarks of good interplay between the police cast, the Broom family all had their own idiosyncracies and we had some further Morse development.
What spoilt it for me was Tracepurcel and Olive Rix. I saw no reason to bring that into it at all. For me it let the whole story down.
The fact that Tracepurcel was even allowed to have been presented without wearing a jacket is something that bothered me, but it seems to have gone unnoticed until Morse watched the film (strangely at the cinema, I’m surprised no-one had thought to look at any footage from the event as part of the investigation).