Hello fellow Endeavourists and welcome to another post. I hope this post finds you all well and happy.

I found two articles in today’s Daily Mail and Daily Express. There were a few more in other newspapers but they were small inconsequential pieces and weren’t worth the money to buy them. There is also after the articles from today’s newspapers an online article by Rebecca Rideal published yesterday, 8th February 2019. The article was written for the New Statesman America.

On the subject of series six, I will of course be reviewing the new episodes but because I will, as always, be looking to add as much information as possible, locations, literary references, connections to Morse or Lewis it will take me a few days. So, my review of the first episode probably will not be published until Wednesday.

So, before I go onto the articles I will add my requisite begging for subscribers plus posts I recently published;

To see the interview with Roger Allam click HERE.

To listen to the interview with Shaun Evans click HERE

Click HERE to read an article I published from the British magazine Yours.

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Click HERE to visit my Twitter account.

Click HERE to read my recent post on five new articles about series 6.

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So, onto the articles (at bloody long last I hear you say). The first is from today’s (9th February 2019)

Next up we have the article from the Daily Mail. I had to split this in two as the page size was rather large.


Here is the article by Rebecca Rideal in New Statesman America.

Forget The Crown, ITV’s Endeavour is the period drama for our time

“Go home. Put your best record on… And with every note, you remember: that’s something the darkness couldn’t take from you.”

This Sunday, Endeavour returns to our TV screens for its sixth series. It is 1969, a year of moon landings, President Nixon, the Krays and Monty Python. For Endeavour Morse and his colleagues, however, it is a time of new beginnings, grief and… moustaches.

We spend a lot of time critiquing and obsessing over historical authenticity, inaccuracies and achievement in period drama. Yet, weirdly, Endeavour seems to fly under the radar. Despite pulling in solid weekly viewing figures and standing on the shoulders of the cultural giant that was Inspector Morse, there have been very few pieces exploring the quality of one of ITV’s most successful shows. Glossy big-budget dramas such as BodyguardThe Night ManagerSherlockLuther and The Crown, might soak up publicity resources and dominate conversations, but to my mind it is Endeavour that has been quietly and consistently turning out the best drama on TV. In short, it is excellent.

There are many reasons for this. Not least, the setting. 1960s Oxford looks magnificent – a cityscape of grey and gold, with blue skies, leafy country pubs and a milky brown River Thames. It is a place where the dangerous allure and terrible beauty of a city founded on privilege, hypocrisy, intellectual power and raw talent is overt. Against this backdrop, Endeavour is like an enlarged crossword puzzle – we have literature, class division, sandwiches, ambition, boating, excessive alcohol consumption, opera, mystery, greed, art, and murder. At its heart, however, is the most poignant fictional detective ever created: Endeavour Morse.

He is played as thoughtfully by Shaun Evans as he ever was by John Thaw. Indeed, the genius of Endeavour is the way the repositioning of the “Morse story” into a 1960s period drama has enabled a retrograde metamorphosis of its central character. He has become a tragic hero yearning for love and purpose, failing to realise that what he wants, and what he needs, are under his nose.

In this early incarnation, we see the roots of Morse’s incredibly flawed view of women develop. He places those he admires on unattainably high and unrealistically romantic pedestals. Given these circumstances, it would be easy for female characters to become one-dimensional plot devices that propel the central character’s narrative. It is testament to the consistently brilliant writing of Russell Lewis (the show’s writer since 2012) that the series deftly navigates this toxic side to Morse’s character and offers us some of the most interesting female characters onscreen.

There’s the brilliant newspaper editor Dorothea Frazil (played by John Thaw’s daughter Abigail Thaw), who cannily takes Morse under her wing to swap intelligence; there’s nurse Monica Hicks, whose brief romance with Morse in series one told us much more about her and the cultural prejudices of 1960s Oxford than him; there was the ambitious police constable Shirley Trewlove, whose wit and intelligence made her a standalone character rather than merely a tactic for exposing the period’s chauvinism; and, of course, Fred Thursday’s marvellously complex and flawed daughter Joan.

Running throughout the drama is an exploration of the generational pushback that often follows war. This is manifest in the relationship dynamics between Endeavour and his boss, the World War Two veteran DI Fred Thursday. Thursday (played brilliantly by Roger Allam) is of the generation to have seen things no human should endure. Much of his trauma is implied, but it reverberates loudly for younger characters who display a tacit guilt over failing to match the perceived heroism of the preceding generation.

Endeavour depicts all of life. It is part heart-wrenching tragedy – we know Morse dies prematurely and we know his yearning for romantic companionship is never truly realised – and part flawlessly plotted crime thriller. The show has elevated the TV prequel and brought 1960s England vividly to life. What started as a one-off to mark the 25th anniversary of Inspector Morse in 2012 has grown into a superior drama, with high production values, intelligent scripts, wonderful acting and a bittersweet emotional punch.

Rebecca Rideal is a historian of the Stuarts and Restoration London, and author of 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire. She tweets @Rebeccarideal

The original article can be found by clicking HERE.


Author: Chris Sullivan

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

One thought

  1. So Joan is training to be a social worker. Well, good for her! Two thoughts about that: 1. I’d have thought she needed more education than we understood she had to be a social worker, but then, I a. really know nothing about the British system, especially the British system in 1969, and b. seem to remember a passing reference or two in the last episode of the last series about her going back to school, so maybe it’ll all be explained and make sense. And, 2. I always thought Joan’s main problem was that she was a young woman of intelligence and sensitivity who couldn’t find a role for herself in a rapidly changing society. She saw that her mother was happy in her life as a housewife and mother, but knew that wouldn’t be enough for her. But at the same time, Joan came came from a class where nobody, including herself, expected her to continue with her education to take on a real profession. The free-wheeling live-for-the-moment single-girl life was coming into its own, and she tasted that, but that didn’t seem “her,” entirely, either. So what was she to do with herself? From what we saw about her interests last series, social work would really fit the bill for Joan, something useful and satisfying.

    And Strange is doing admin? That’s good, too, I guess. When I watched the original Morse series during the hiatus, it struck me that, despite his bluster and occasional pomposity, Strange was really a pretty good Chief Superintendent, and that even Morse would admit that, though it might take a couple of beers on an already good day to pull that out of him. Being a good administrator requires as particular a skill set as being a good detective does, and Strange had to learn that from somewhere. I guess this is where he gets his start. And it’s better than seeing him play the heavy, which he had to do when sometimes when he and Thursday were out on their own without Endeavour sometimes.

    One thing I wonder…I’m not so sure that Endeavour has been “demoted,” because the stripes on his uniform suggest to me that he’s still a sergeant, but am I wrong? If that’s the case, and he’s been moved to a tiny rural station, could he be the one in charge, or even the only copper there? That might actually be good for him, I think. At any rate, there are enough pictures of him in both the mustache AND a suit to suggest that it doesn’t last long.

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