Hello Morsonians and Endeavourists and welcome to my third review of the fifth series of Endeavour. I hope my post finds everyone well. I would like to write a huge thank you for all your support. Ultimately this blog wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for all the readers of this blog. Thank you for your continued support and to those who are visiting for the first time, welcome. I hope you find many articles of interest within my blog. I would also like to thank all those who not only leave comments but point out references, locations etc that I miss. I love this as it makes it a much more a collaborative blog. On that note if anyone wants to write a post about any subject within the Morse universe please do so and forward it to me via the ‘contact me’ button at the top of the page.
Endeavour Series five, Episode three; ‘Passenger’.
Chronologically this is episode 20.
First broadcast 18th February 2018.
A lovely tribute to Colin. Employee of the month? Perversely he was our employee. We handed him our hard earned cash and he wrote many excellent books for all of us. 🙂
Directed by Jim Field Smith . This is Jim’s first connection with the Morse universe.
Written by Colin Dexter (characters), Russell Lewis (written and devised by). Russell has written all the Endeavour episodes. He also wrote;
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’.
The story arc of this series continues with the theft of goods and the killing of the van driver. The Robbery Squad from London think it is connected to Eddie Nero but the Oxford police believe otherwise.
While Thursday, Strange and Endeavour were attending the theft and murder George Fancy is dealing with a missing person’s case. A young woman, Frances Porter, has been missing for a few days and is being reported missing by her husband and her sister.
While George is seconded to the robbery squad, Endeavour is left to deal with missing person. After the dead body of Frances Porter is found Oxford Mail’s Dorothea Frazil tells the police that she believes that Frances’s death may be connected to a death four years previously.
While the lads from the robbery squad cause disruption in Cowley police station in more ways than one the unknown gang who are pushing there way into Eddie Nero’s patch are causing even more confusion and mayhem in Oxford.
(warning, this review will contain some spoilers)
I am going to start this review by writing that I enjoyed the new episode. At no time did I find myself, unlike during the first two episodes of the series, being distracted by my recent bids on Ebay. This episode was more akin to episodes in the original Morse series, slow paced but never plodding. But, (i’m afraid there is a ‘but’) there were still many aspects of the episode that were missteps and some poor writing by Russell Lewis. Hold your breath folks we are going in at the deep end.
I am going to run through what I believe are missteps and poor writing in no particular order. Well, there is some order as I will be relating the following from my notes. Anyway I digress. The episode contains yet another stereotype in the trainspotter/train enthusiast character. Russell’s belief, as is so many other peoples, is that trainspotters are ‘sad’ individuals with no other life beyond their love of trains. Of course they are written as invariably living with their mothers. The stereotype is that all those who live with their mother are sad, lonely individuals with no ability to interact with women. I live with my mother and have done so for almost 12 years. Why, because I am her full time carer and living with me was a better option than throwing her into a nursing home. (Deep breath Chris and move on).
Thursday tells Morse that he is his ‘best man’ after Endeavour assumed he would be part of the team investigating the robbery and murder. Endeavour is his ‘best man’ but he puts him on the case of a missing person and not a robbery and murder????? Quite ridiculous. I understand that Thursday didn’t want Endeavour to have to deal with the yobs from robbery but it still didn’t ring true.
The husband and wife decide to kill her sister and then flee the Oxford area to Brazil before any pictures of her sister appears in the newspapers so alerting friends and colleagues that the woman found dead was not Noel Porter’s wife but actually his sister in law. However, she, Frances Porter, goes wandering around Oxford when she should be keeping her self hidden from any possibly sightings. Which is what happens when she is spotted by
Anoushka Nolan her co-worker. Really Russell? You thought this made sense. It certainly doesn’t make sense to me. Does it make sense to anyone else?
One of the worst pieces of bad writing is the scene when DI Ronnie Box has a go at WPC Shirley Trewlove. Russell has previously written WPC Shirley Trewlove as being a strong female character who can hold her own in all situations. But in this particular scene she cowers from DI Ronnie Box and then jumps back when he goes to punch her and she has to be saved by the MALE characters. Russell wrote her into the show as a way of shoehorning in a strong female character to answer all the questions about why so much TV and Film are testosterone led in the present day. The one chance he had to show what a strong female character he is and resorts to the damsel in distress scenario. The scene should have been along the lines of Ronnie Box attempts to punch her, Trewlove either kicks him in the groin or restrains him by grabbing his arm and twists it. She turns to her stunned ‘male’ colleagues and says something like, ‘self-defence classes’. The camera then focuses on George Fancy who is visibly thinking that he will have to watch out in future how he treats Trewlove.
If Trewlove were in a similar situation on the streets of Oxford and seeing as she does patrol on her own, would she run away if a thief she is trying to apprehend decides to try and punch her? Of course not. It was a scene that Russell Lewis should be ashamed of in my opinion.
Once again during the episode Russell Lewis continues to insult the viewers intelligence by repeating information that has only just been said in the previous scene. After Frances Porter confesses and all is revealed in detail the next scene involves Endeavour, Thursday et al going over all the same details with Bright, him being the catalyst for this repetition. And by the way would a WPC really be part of these meetings in the 1960s?
The killings can be seen as the same motive as in the previous two episodes, revenge. Though it was primarily about the money Frances Porter made it clear it was also about revenge against her sister who was her mother’s favourite. Three revenge motives in three episodes? That is lazy writing.
Can anyone tell me the point of the attempted killing of the station master’s wife by the trainspotter? It was a completely unnecessary storyline and character. Why did he decide to kill again after four years? Why the station master’s wife? Just because he wouldn’t let him on the platform without a ticket? The usual dramatic chase and death at the end of the episode were superfluous to the the episode as a whole. Yes, mention the death of the schoolgirl in 1964 but it wasn’t necessary to solve that murder. Also if you were keen eyed you would have solved the murder within the first two minutes of the episode. Or at least it would have been obvious when later in the episode Morse is looking at pictures of the murdered schoolgirl.
I paused this shot knowing that there was a reason it was given such prominence. I memorised what was in the drawer and that help me solve the schoolgirl’s murder halfway through the episode.
In twenty episodes of Endeavour we have had 59 murders. In thirty-three episodes of the original Morse series there were 53 murders. Need I say more.
There are many other little niggly problems with the episode but I will finish with the one below.
Finally, (thank heavens I hear you say) how can Joan afford that flat in the middle of Oxford on a part time wage? I know she is flat sharing but it would need to be ten people sharing to make it affordable on a part time wage.
What made it a better episode than the first two? Well beyond the usual great acting, cinematography and editing there was some fine writing in the episode. I think this is what disappointments me more about this fifth series than anything else; Russell Lewis is a good writer and has written some beautiful episodes and scenes but has become complacent. The scene that stands out is the one with Joan and Endeavour on the rooftop. It wasn’t exactly subtle as to what the subtext was referring to but it was still a wonderful scene and well acted by Shaun and Sara.
I have uploaded it to Dailymothion.
This scene alone made the episode better than the previous two. However, (oh Chris please no however I can hear you shout) I do hope that this is the final scene between Joan and Morse as I don’t want the relationship to turn into a soap opera will they or won’t they situation.
Up on the roof. #Endeavour 5 | FILM 3 #BehindTheScenes. @SaraLVickers #ShaunEvans and @JamieCairneyDOP behind the camera. Copyright is owned by Nasir Hamid.
A big thank you to Jean who after a conversation on Twitter with Paul Cripps ( Production Designer on Endeavour ) found out that the above scene “was actually filmed at Exeter College. ”
Although the appearance of the robbery squad didn’t really add anything to the episode it was an interesting inclusion. On British TV, cop shows were beginning to move away from the cuddly and cosy shows like Dixon of Dock Green and into more grittier police shows. The robbery squad known as the Flying Squad were also beginning to show great results with their ideas of fighting fire with fire as far as catching criminals was concerned.
I thought Jamie Cairney (director of photography) done a wonderful job and had some of the best cinematography of the series so far. It is Jamie’s first venture into the Morse universe and I for one hope it is not his last. There were some shots in the episode that I thought were clever but not pretentious. In particular we had shots from inside vehicles, a lock-up and an oven. These shots reminded me of the kind of shots you get when a film camera is placed at the back of a mortuary’s body storage cabinet before the drawer with the body is pulled out. (I am sure there is a technical name for this but damned if I can think what it is).
So, at last series five has a good episode and let us hope that it continues. Now I have cheated a little regarding a jag score. I have gone back to the other two episodes and reduced their jag score to five. The reason for this is simple. I wanted to give this episdoe one more jag than the previous two episodes. However, I don’t believe this episode deserves a seven out of ten but does deserve a solid six. I hope you don’t mind me doing this.
Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.
Not much classical music in this episode sadly. Another reason the episodes are disappointing. Anyway first up is Sunshine of Your Love by CREAM.
Next we have Piece of My Heart by BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY.
Next we have Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by THE ROLLING STONES played when Endeavour goes to Joan’s housewarming.
Next is Draw Your Brakes by SCOTTY. This is playing when Strange and Thursday visit the Shebeen.
When Trewlove encounters Lloyd selling at the market we hear Baba Boom by The Jamaicans.
At about 51 minutes Endeavour is at Cowley police station listening to music. It is Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770 -1827) haunting Moonlight Sonata.
When Fred and Morse talk to Marty Bedlo at his shop, Alice’s Marmalade Cat we can hear Janis Joplin singing Piece of My Heart.
At around the two minute mark the train enthusiast is reciting W.H. Auden’s poem Night Mail.
This is the Night Mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient’s against her, but she’s on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder,
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily, she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from bushes at her blank-faced coaches.
Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;
They slumber on with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.
Dawn freshens. Her climb is done.
Down towards Glasgow she descends,
Towards the steam tugs yelping down a glade of cranes,
Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.
All Scotland waits for her:
In dark glens, beside pale-green lochs,
Men long for news.
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers’ declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands,
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart’s outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.
Thousands are still asleep,
Dreaming of terrifying monsters
Or a friendly tea beside the band in Cranston’s or Crawford’s:
Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh,
Asleep in granite Aberdeen,
They continue their dreams,
But shall wake soon and hope for letters,
And none will hear the postman’s knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
No art to speak of unfortunately.
The main railway station where the station master worked;
This is Ropley Station, on the Watercress Line, Mid Hants Railway.
Next we have Fred Thursday’s home.
The address is 10 Ramsey Road, Headington.
The scenes where the robbery and murder took place may also be at or around the Mid Hants Heritage Railway.
Our next location is the boutique, Alice’s Marmalade Cat.
The above was filmed in Beaconsfield Old Town.
The empty shop was the location of Alice’s Marmalade Cat.
2 Windsor End, Beaconsfield to be exact.
The pictures below where taken during filming and are all the copyright of Anita Ross Marshall.
The next scene is when Endeavour first meets our railway enthusiast Cedric Naughton.
Here is the station in all it’s glory.
Thank you to Francoise Beghin for this location info.
This is Wood Street in Wallingford.
Box and Dawson are parked just about where the white car is parked in the above photo.
Up next we have the location where Joan’s flat is.
This is Museum Road, Oxford.
Very handy for all the good pubs.
Here is something you may like about the above scene.
BehindTheScenes contact sheet, Oxford, July 2017. Some frames from my Rolleiflex, HP5 film in rapidly fading light. This is the copyright of Nasir Hamid. http://www.simplyoxford.com/
The ‘Shebeen’ where Strange and Thursday visit around the one hour and nine minute mark. Anthony Fry kindly pointed out the location to me as Defence School of Languages Wilton Park in Beaconsfield. Standing sets for filming the ITV TV series Endeavour have been built at Wilton Park since 2016.
Anthony wrote, “As your review notes, a fair bit of that was filmed around Beaconsfield, including the pub the Royal Standard (also in Hot Fuzz!). I was based at the former Defence School of Languages 2009-2014 at Wilton Park in Beaconsfield, and continued living in the married quarters until mid-2016.
The “shebeen” was the bar of the Officer’s Mess. I spent many, many hours in the bar over those years and recognised the room (and the bar) instantly when I saw the episode. It’s not a big room, nor is the bar itself, but I swear I could still see the damage where a few of us forced the shutters one night to carry on celebrating post some exams (to significant trouble the next morning!). They put what looks like coloured tissue paper on the windows (to avoid seeing the school buildings and giving away this was the first floor of a building I assume) and hung beads in the doorway. The bar stool someone is sitting on looks unchanged although the rest of the furniture is different (I suspect someone had the exceptionally nice leather couches away at some point, they usually do when places close). As they exit, they are illuminated which I assume is to give the impression of going out into daylight – actually they are heading into the very centre of the first-floor open area. The ceiling of the bar was striped pine – as was so much of the place, dating from late 60s/early 70s itself, so very appropriate for Endeavour era! (the houses were the same, ceilings, even some walls were covered in pine planking!). The School closed in mid-2013 and the MoD sold the site.”
The pub location is the same as used in last week’s episode.
The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green, Beaconsfield HP9 1XS.
Actors who appeared in the Endeavour Series 5, Episode 3 ‘Passenger’ and/or Morse or Lewis.
Edwin Thomas who played the murderer Noel Porter appeared in the Lewis episode Down Among the Fearful.
Edwin Thomas as Reuben Beatty.
CONNECTIONS OTHER THAN ACTORS TO THE LEWIS AND ORIGINAL MORSE SERIES
The character of Patrick Dawson of the Robbery Squad is a nod to the same character in the Morse episode, ‘Second Time Around‘. (Click here to read my review of that episode).
The character of Patrick Dawson appeared in the Morse episode, ‘Second Time Around‘. That episode involved the murder of Mary Lapsley. In that episode Patrick Dawson was played by Kenneth Colley. To read my review of Second Time Around click here.
Coincidentally Kenneth Colley appeared with John Thaw in an episode of The Sweeney, Season 2, Episode 6 Trap (6 Oct. 1975).
Another trainspotting murderer was in the Morse episode, Sins of the Father. Click here to read my review of that episode.
Alex Jennings as Victor Preece
Another connection to Sins of the Father is Radford’s beer. When Endeavour comes home to find Fancy and Strange eating a Chinese meal he asks where his Radford beer is. Radfords was the name of the brewery mentioned in the afore-mentioned episode.
At around four minutes Endeavour goes to collect Fred. He talks to Joan and Win in the hallway. Fred is upstairs. They both call up to Fred but he doesn’t answer. We can hear water running. After no reply from Fred Win says to Endeavour, “He can’t hear over the taps.
This is reminiscent of two scenes in previous episodes, ‘Lazaretto’ and ‘Harvest’ both from series four. In ‘Lazaretto’ Endeavour is collecting Fred. Fred calls up the stairs to Win but she doesn’t answer. In ‘Harvest’ Endeavour is standing in the Thursday’s hall bringing Fred up to date with the case. menawhile Win is watching television. Morse says goodbye to Win but she doesn’t answer. Fred says, “She gets lost in her programmes.”
The arrival of the Robbery Squad otherwise known as The Flying Squad was a lovely nod to not only John Thaw. The nickname for The Flying Squad was The Sweeney. The name was derived from the Cockney rhyming slang Sweeney Todd (Flying Squad). Of course John Thaw starred in the excellent 1970s TV show The Sweeney.
In case you haven’t seen it here is a video I created that mixed Morse and The Sweeney TV shows. But first is the original titles of the Sweeney series.
All British people of a certain age will have noticed this reference to an old soap opera of the 1960’s, 1970s and I think 1980s.
Crossroads was a much loved soap opera starring Noele Gordon. “The Crossroads Motel” was located on the outskirts of the small village of King’s Oak, which is on the outskirts of Birmingham. Before the above scene we see Morse driving past a sign for King’s Oak.
Was Gidburys alluding to Cadburys or is that too obvious?
Or is it a more subtle reference to the excellent sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. The company he worked for was Sunshine Desserts.
Gibbet was an early guillotine, or decapitating machine, used in the town of Halifax, West Yorkshire.
At about the 48 minute mark Fred and Win are sitting on the couch watching TV. Win says, “What time are the Minstrels on?” The Minstrels she is referring to are the Black and White Minstrels. A horrible TV show from the 1960s and 1970s. Even as a very young person I hated this show but was never sure why. It involved white people blacking up. Enough said.
At about fifty minutes the station master has just arrived home. His wife notices he has hurt himself. He replies “Caught some old Tommy Brock”. Tommy Brock is a reference to the character of the badger from a story called The Tale of Mr Tod by Beatrix Potter.
On the wall of the Shebeen we can see the flag of St Andrew.
St Andrew is not only the patron saint of my homeland, Scotland but also Barbados. Jennifer English has corrected me on the flag, “the flag on the wall of the Shebeen is the flag of Jamaica. While it does have a saltire, it is a gold saltire, with 2 black sections and 2 green sections.” Thanks Jennifer.
Thank you to Lee Sylvester for the following information.
” the location of the abandoned railway station at Gibbet’s End is Quainton Road at the Bucks Railway Centre. Norborough comes from a 1967 Avengers episode called A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Station. From the list of stations on the line given by the railway enthusiast I can identify two from a St Trinian’s Film (the railway robbery one from 1966) which are Pudham and Hamingwell Halt. Chadwick Station is from a short detective story from 1951 called The Adventure of the Lost Locomotive. And an Agatha Christie one – Whimperley Station from Dead Man’s Mirror.”
Endeavour visits Lillian Conway at the home for the aged.
Sundowning is a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It’s also known as “late-day confusion.” If someone you care for has dementia, their confusion and agitation may get worse in the late afternoon and evening.
Burridges the big department store gets two mentions in the episode. One is when Fancy notices stolen toasters from Burridges in Lloyd’s lock-up. Secondly, is when Win mentions she is taking Joan their to buy a lamp. The Burridges store was prevalent in the Endeavour episode “Sway”.
Thank you to Hazel Braden who pointed me toward the following photographs.
The pictures were found at https://www.facebook.com/BucksRailCentre/posts/1419541498133851
I’m assuming that Hammond and Sons Hauliers is a reference to a British TV show of the 1970s called The Brothers. Primarily the show is about Robert Hammond’s three sons Edward, Brian and David who inherit the family trucking company and try to run it after Robert dies.
Thanks to John and Cheryl for the following; “At 39 minutes Box says to Fancy, ” Softly, softly, son “. Softly, Softly was a BBC TV series about the Police which began in 1966 and was a spin off from the earlier BBC TV Police series Z Cars, both being created by Troy Kennedy Martin. Apparently the title derives from the phrase ” Softly, softly, catchee monkey ” which I have read is the motto of The Lancashire Constabulary Training School.”
THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERER/S AND THEIR METHODS.
The first murder victim.
Burt Hobbs Beaten to death by unknown assailants.
Anoushka Nolan strangled by either Noel Porter or his wife. Probably Noel Porter.
Lloyd stabbed by Cromwell Ames.
Cedric Naughton commits suicide by train.
Judy Clifton as Lilian Conway
John Biggins as Burt Hobbs
Shaun Evans as DS Endeavour Morse
Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright
Roger Allam as DCI Fred Thursday
Colin Mace as Mr. Hammond
Celeste Dodwell as Anoushka Nolan
Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as Don Mercer
Simon Scardifield as Cedric Naughton
Rosalie Craig as Jilly Conway
Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil
Lewis Peek as DC George Fancy
Edwin Thomas as Noel Porter
James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn
Justin Edwards as Station Master Paterson
Dakota Blue Richards as WPC Shirley Trewlove
Lizzy Watts as Heather Paterson
Mark Asante as Lloyd Collins
Hadley Fraser as Marty Bedlo
Simon Harrison as DI Ronnie Box
Sara Vickers as Joan Thursday
Leon Stewart as Ferdy
Lydea Perkins as Frances Porter