ENDEAVOUR: S7E3. ‘Zenana’; Review + Locations, Literary References, Music etc. SPOILERS.

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SPOILERS AHEAD!

Where’s Colin?

REALLY? This is the reference to Colin?

The references to Colin get smaller and smaller and more pathetic. I’m assuming the misspelling of ‘recieves’ is intentional. This really saddens me the way the programme makers are showing less and less respect to Colin.

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well. Harry on Twitter believes this portrait on the wall is Colin. Now I did see this but I don’t think it is and that’s why I never mentioned it in my post about the episode, Zenana. However, I will let you good people decide. It’s about 40 seconds into the episode.

Directed by Kate Saxon . No other connection to 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’.

SYNOPSIS

The title of the episode, “Zenana”, is a word derived from Hindustani and Persian, meaning “the women’s apartments” – sometimes denoting a harem.

The ‘freak accidents’ continue but Morse believes that they are anything but accidents. Thursday refuses to believe that the accidents are anything else but accidents and tires of Endeavour’s need to prove him wrong. The strain begins to show in the Thursday and Endeavour’s relationship.

Endeavour falls in love with Violetta but as they say, love never runs smooth. Who will win her hand, Ludo or Morse?

The towpath deaths continue and the team race against time to stop the killer before anyone else killed.

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

Let me count the ways in which this episode was far from original. Firstly, opera and shootouts? The Godfather III, Miller’s Crossing, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Quantum of Solace, Untouchables, Diva,  to name but a few.

A psychotic serial killing whistler? How about the P.D. James book, Devices and Desires, with the detective Adam Dalgliesh?

A story-line about someone buying insurance policies and then bumping people off to cash in the insurance policies? Taggart, an episode called, Death Benefits. (thank you to Sheldon for this one)

Serial killers are ten a penny in TV dramas. It’s a cliche writers run to when they have become bankrupt of any original ideas.

Original ideas and story lines are difficult to create. It is even more difficult today as television has to fill those 24 hours in a day. ITV churns out dramas from its sausage factory to fill the fifty two weeks of the year, wrapped in a skin of desperation. Desperate to retain their audience who are defecting to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

I understand that it is near impossible to write an original story-line for television dramas but at least make the effort to create something about it that marks it out as different from those programmes that came before. It is the same in music. If you are going to do a cover version, make it your own. The Boyzone cover of the Billy Joel song, Uptown Girl was a straight copy of the original which in my mind makes it redundant and useless. Unlike Johnny Cash’s cover of the Nine Inch Nail’s song, Hurt. Cash made it his own. He created something different from a song that had already been recorded.

That is what the original Morse series did. It took the tired format of police dramas and turned it on its head. I don’t believe that the original Morse would get made today. It doesn’t have shoot outs (apart from one episode, Promised Land). It didn’t have huge body counts each episode (apart from one episode, The Service of All the Dead). Endeavour had TWELVE deaths in three episodes. Eighteen in just over a year in Oxford if you count the ‘freak accidents’. Absolutely ridiculous and over the top.

What makes this series worse is the all too quick change in the characters of Fred Thursday and Endeavour. At the end of the Degüello episode the whole team were on top of the proverbial world. All were happy that the status quo had been restored. But, suddenly at the start of this series Fred takes against Morse and vice versa. It is all too rushed and sudden and doesn’t make sense in the context of the sixth series.

The scene where Endeavour tells Bright about his suspicion that she was murdered was completely act of character for Morse. It showed Endeavour being insensitive, thoughtless and crass. This out of character need to tell Bright seemed to be specifically written to elicit yet another emotional scene. It’s all about manipulation.

Another problem in regard to a change in character is in Thursday not listening to Endeavour in regards to the ‘freaky accidents’. In earlier episodes Thursday would have told Morse to run with his idea that the accidents were not accidents but don’t let it interfere with his investigation into the towpath killings. It is quite ludicrous that the Thursday in this series is so close minded.

The direction was good and workmanlike. I sympathise with TV director’s as they have little in the way of time or money to create something filmic. She did try to introduce the filmic technique of the Dutch Tilt/Angle but it was used when it didn’t make sense, apart from one time, in regard to the reason filmmakers use the tilt/angle.

The Dutch Tilt or Angle is utilised to depict or cause a psychological apprehension or tension for the viewer. It works well in the second scene shown above with Jim Strange but not with the other two scenes. In the first scene Endeavour is simply visiting the pub to ask questions about the family killed in the fire. No apprehension. No tension. The last scene with Sturgis looking for Jim may just about qualify as right for a Dutch Tilt but not quite.

Here are three good examples of the Dutch Tilt.

Next we are back to the problem I mentioned in my review of Raga, overuse of music.

Watch this scene.

Incredible acting from Anton Lesser. An emotional tour de force. But, why add the music? From Anton’s sublime acting we already know it’s an highly emotional scene. It doesn’t need the music to telegraph to the audience that this is an emotional scene.

It’s the way of so many TV dramas, they feel the need to add music because they believe the audience are too stupid to realise what is going in the scene. If the acting is good enough then there are times, especially in emotional scenes, when music is simply intrusive. TV filmmakers appear to believe that they have to fill ever scene with music. Sometimes silence is better.

More people need to be critical of what they are watching rather than saying, ‘just enjoy it for what it is’. Because Shaun is hunky and charming doesn’t make the show a good one. I believe that if a whole episode was just Shaun sitting at his desk looking wistfully toward the distance some people would believe that it was a great episode. Someone argued that Endeavour series seven must be good because the show has a high rating on IMDB. If you need to mention that statistic then it begs the question as to why one needs that affirmation that one is watching a good show. IMDB stats are not empirical evidence.

One needs to be critical so as not to enable poor films, TV and music. I have been a fanatical Bowie fan for some fifty years but I will freely admit he created some duff albums (Tin Machine anyone). I love the work of Alfred Hitchcock but even I couldn’t write a good review for the likes of Torn Curtain and Family Plot.

Series seven should have been stand alone episodes and not the three interconnected episodes we got. The two main story-lines, Ludo/Violetta and the towpath murders were stretched to breaking point. One episode each for the afore-mentioned story-lines would have been perfect with a final episode with a more down to earth case that set us up for the eighth series.

The acting of some of the cast was not good; I speak of Stephanie Leonidas as Violetta Talenti and Ryan Gage as Ludo Talenti. Put any of their scenes side by side with any of Anton Lesser’s scenes and the difference is palpable.

I’m uneasy with the constant smoking of Endeavour if for no other reason that John Thaw died from Esophageal cancer due to his heavy smoking habit. It seems rather insensitive to me.

Some questions I have about this episode and this series as a whole.

Was it too difficult to mention what happened to Ronnie Box? Did he survive his injuries? Was he jailed and for how long? Even a throwaway line would have sufficed. But Russell Lewis has a habit of this kind of thing. He appears to just ignore some events of previous episodes.

For example in the pilot episode the person in charge of the police station was DCS Crisp. Bright is introduced in the second episode of the first series, Fugue. No mention is made of what happened to DCS Crisp. This has happened quite a few times.

Why not mention WPC Shirley Trewlove? Again just a throwaway line would be sufficient.

Was it really necessary to kill off Mrs Bright? No, it wasn’t but Russell had to find another way to manipulate another highly emotional scene. Unless, Russell is planning to write Bright out of the eighth series and Mrs Bright’s death is the reason that will be used for Bright’s departure from the police force. We may see him in the first episode of the eighth series telling his men he is retiring. Bright is certainly a broken man.

Why does Endeavour come down hard on Thursday and his gut feelings. Hunches and gut feelings are what drives Morse. Many of his cases are solved by gut instinct and hunches in the Endeavour and the original series.

Why would the killer whistle the tune in front of Jim Strange.

How did Fred know where Endeavour was staying in Venice?

Why did Endeavour leave his bedroom door in Venice unlocked?

Why would an intelligent woman decide to put the ladder at the furthermost point to reach something?

Why did Endeavour send the package to Joan and not direct to Fred? Answer: to elicit yet another emotional scene. If the package had been sent to Fred he would have read it and then made his way to Venice without any need for any kind of emotional scene. It’s all about manipulation of the viewer.

Why was it necessary to injure Jim Strange? We all know he can’t die. Yet another attempt to manifest an emotional scene? Update to what I have written. David Shephard in the comments came up with an excellent theory about why Jim was stabbed.

“I wonder if by S8 we will see him move more definitively towards desk work rather than being ‘on the street’. His injury could be used as a reason why he moves more towards policy than operations. His masonic connections would enable him here too.”

Thanks David

Something else that grated was during the conversation between Endeavour and Fred after Carl Sturgis die and Jenny has been put into the ambulance. Fred asks when Morse is starting at Kidlington. Morse and answers, ‘Fourth of Jan.’ Morse would never use such an abbreviation.

I often get attacked for my opinions but I always state that they are just my opinion, not the only opinion and not necessarily the right opinion but for this moment in time it is my opinion. I am honest in my evaluations of all episodes in the Morse Universe. I have no desire to be sycophantic in the hope I will get noticed by those who make the Endeavour series. I always justify my criticisms.

By the way, McNutt better be played by a Scottish actor.

The three stars are primarily for the Anton Lesser scene mentioned above. Max’s dressing down of Thursday and Endeavour (see video below) and the cinematography.

Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.

MUSIC.

The episode opens with the Winter section from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons; Concerto No.4 in F Minor for violin, string orchestra RV 297. The Ryom-Verzeichnis or Ryom Verzeichnis (both often abbreviated RV) is a (now standard) catalog of the music of Antonio Vivaldi created by Peter Ryom. The catalog is often used to identify Vivaldi’s works by a simple number.

Though Vivaldi has been used before in Endeavour and the Morse series, the Four Seasons has not been utilised until now.

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Around the five minute mark we have Charlotte Potter as Petra Cornwell singing. IMDB incorrectly names her as Petra Connolly. What a fantastic voice.

It is Schubert’s Ave maria.

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Morse visits Violetta at their love nest. She is listening to It’s Getting Better by Cass Elliot. Released in 1969.

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Ludo visits Endeavour around the 30 minute mark. I didn’t recognise the piece.

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The opera music at the end of the episode was specifically written for the episode by Matthew Slater, who has done a wonderful job through the whole third series apart from a few missteps in my opinion, and Russell Lewis who wrote the Libretto.

Matthew Slater wrote on Twitter: Our Endeavour opera that has been across all 3 films was indeed written by Russell Lewis, wonderfully translated by @RosettiNico and I added the music bits-its full name is LA SPOSA DEL DEMONIO o LA CURA PER L’AMORE.

LITERARY REFERENCES.

Jenny is telling Morse of the time when she played hide and seek in her childhood, “I hid in my aunt’s wardrobe once and it was all fur coats.” This is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That wardrobe was also full of fur coats. Lucy hid in the wardrobe during hide and seek.

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Thank you to Leo who noticed the following three literary connections.

“There is a possible literary reference in the name of the character Juliet Baring. Maurice Baring was an author on whom G. K. Chesterton based the protagonist in his collection of short stories ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’. One of Baring’s book was ‘Letters to Lady Juliet Duff’ with whom he was very close. Put them together and you get Juliet Baring.

Another literary reference – Petra Cornwell is a nod to the crime writer Patricia Cornwell.

I suspect Russell Lewis recently saw the Hollywood movie ‘Mr Rogers’ Neighbourhood’. This is a biopic of Fred Rogers – Fred Thursday/Roger Allam. One of the characters played by Fred Rogers is Lady Elaine Fairchilde.”

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In Morse’s letter to Joan he writes of Fred, “He has ever been the best and wisest of men.” Watson says this of Sherlock after his apparent death at the Reichenbach Falls. Watson writes’ “whom I shall ever regard as the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known.”

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Nick in the comments section noticed this literary reference, “Sturgis’ lawyer, Mr Vholes was Richard Carstone’s lawyer in the case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce in Bleak House.”

LOCATIONS.

Within the first minute we see the house where Carl Sturgis is found to be living in.

Location unknown.

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In the third minute we get a view of All Souls College.

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In the fourth minute we listen to Magdalena Byrne giving a speech.

This is Merton College which is standing in for St Matilda’s College.

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Where Bridget was killed.

This is Stockers Lock on the Grand Union Canal.

photo of Stockers Lock, grand Union Canal

photo of a bridge by stockers lock

The previous killings were carried out at Church Lock and Bridge 116 on the Grand Union Canal. The two locations are quite some distance apart. Church Lock is number 29 on the Grand Union Canal while Stockers Lock is number 82.

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The singer of Ave Maria is standing in Fellows Quad, Merton College. The singer is Charlotte Potter who is a Soprano in Opera and Musical Theatre. Here is her website address; https://www.charlottepottersinger.com/

Below is part of a video I filmed of Fellows Quad in April, 2019. I start in the Front Quad.

The window marked with an arrow below is the room the camera is situated when it films Charlotte Potter singing from afar. The camera then moves into where the Warden is discussing the vote on allowing men into the college.

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The home of Elaine Fairchild. Location unknown.

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Around the tenth minute Morse drives to his love nest.

This is Magpie Lane, Oxford.

Violetta and Morse come out of this blue door.

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The Thursday’s home. The address is 10 Ramsey Road, Headington.

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Where Petra’s body if found.

Stockers Lock on the Grand Union Canal.

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Endeavour visits Magdalena Byrne after the death of Petra.

This is the front quad of Merton College. Merton College Chapel is in the middle of the picture. The entrance to Merton College from Merton Street is where you can see the lecturer leaving by on the right.

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Endeavour sits with Magdalena.

They are sitting with their backs to Merton College Fellow’s Garden.

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Protesters against allowing men into Lady Matilda’s College.

This is St Alban’s Quad, Merton College.

Below is my video of St Alban’s Quad.

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Carl Sturgis makes a statement after being released from prison.

Thanks to Coco who discovered this location. It is All Saints Pastoral Centre,London Colney, St Albans, Hertfordshire. Brilliant work Coco.

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Where Jenny Tate lives. Location unknown.

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Endeavour walks through Radcliffe Square after having his heart stomped on by Violetta.

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Endeavour looking for answers about the fire that killed the Lindens.

This is the town of Hambledon, Buckinghamshire.

This town and pub were used in the Endeavour episode, Harvest.

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Strange visits the house to enquire about the accidents.

Location unknown.

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I think this is studio set but I can’t be sure.

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This looks like a scene with a green screen.

Two people (Paul and La Gazza Ladra) have, independently, put forward the location of the opera house as Wimbledon Theatre, 93 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1QG.

I think they could be right. However, I don’t think the entrance is the Wimbledon Theatre.

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Looking down the Grand Canal of Venice.

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Thank you to La Gazza Ladra on Twitter who pointed me in the direction of the location of this scene. It’s not Venice.

It is Brompton Cemetery in London.

 

PUB LOCATIONS.

I think the ‘pub’ Endeavour and Dorothea in is either a studio set or a College bar.

Thank you to David R who told me that this pub is the Stag and Huntsman in Hambleden, Buckinghamshire. Thank you David.

Image result for Stag and Huntsman hambleden

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Endeavour sets out to ask questions about the deaths of the Lindens and the fire.

This is the town of Hambledon, Buckinghamshire. The pub is actually called the Stag and Huntsman.

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Actors who appeared in the Endeavour Series , Episode 3 ‘Zenana’ and/or Morse or Lewis.

Richard Harrington as Dr. Dai Ferman appeared in the Endeavour episode, Oracle.

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James pointed out that  Don Gallagher who played the coroner also appeared in the Lewis episode Old School Ties.

CONNECTIONS OTHER THAN ACTORS TO THE LEWIS, ORIGINAL MORSE SERIES AND PREVIOUS ENDEAVOUR EPISODES.

Ludo like Hugo DeVries blames his female companion for doing the killings. Hugo blamed Marion while Ludo blamed Violetta.

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Lady Matilda was the name of the college in the Lewis episode Old, Unhappy, Far Off Things. Lady Margaret’s College was the actual college used as a location.

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Mrs Bright affectionately calls Chief Superintendent Bright, ‘Puli’. Puli is a name which means ‘tiger’ in the Indian Tamil-language. This would relate to the story told by Bright in the episode Prey in which he tells of shooting a man-eating tiger.

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Tenuous link time: In Marianne Oldham’s speech near the beginning of the episode she says, “We are prey”. Well…Prey was the title of an Endeavour episode. Told you it was tenuous.

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Another Hugo DeVries connection. Ludo while with Endeavour and Violetta says he pretended to be a Swedish policeman. Hugo DeVries was in a Swedish prison before the events of Masonic Mysteries.

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Sam in the comments, correctly pointed out that, “The insurance policy story-line reminded me a bit of the insurance scam in The Wench is Dead, where deaths were faked to claim the insurance money. Come to think of it a canal murder featured in that episode too.” Thank you Sam.

Penny, in the comments section, quite rightly pointed out that I ignored the gravestone. Here is what Penny wrote.

“I do feel that a paragraph could have been devoted to the ‘Hugo’ theory. I think when you put it all together it does seem to produce some compelling evidence. I notice you did not expand on the gravestone, but I still think that is important. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that “Sacerdos” is “Priest” in Latin. When Morse and he have their dramatic final encounter in Masonic Mysteries, Hugo says “I am the High Priest….I am Sarastro,” (the latter being the High Priest in The Magic Flute). There are also echoes between the two Finale scenes, with Hugo calling Morse ‘Monostatos’ from the same opera (the idiot jailer, a buffoon, an outsider) to his Sarastro. Ludo of course calls Morse his pet policeman (if I recall correctly) and is greatly amused that they should be considered equals – at that point I felt he channelled the very essence of the chilling, but wonderful Hugo de Vries.”

Thank you Penny.

Miscellaneous.

Apparently this is Matthew Slater the composer and music director of the series.

The map sent to Endeavour from Violetta.

At the top on the left it reads ‘Cheisa Di San Michele’ (Church of St Michael the Archangel).  San Michele is an island in the Venetian Lagoon.

On the same map at the bottom of the page.

It reads ‘orario cimitero’. This translates as cemetery timetable.

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So did Ludo take his name from the gravestone? Or is he an ancestor.

The dates on the gravestone read MCDLX (1460) – MDXXVII (1527). I cannot find any relevance to those dates.

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Below was one of the first scenes in the episode Oracle. One has to assume this will be the first scene in the first episode of the eighth series.

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So does this letter have the name, at the bottom, De Vries or De Vere? Is it an ‘F’ for the Christian name?

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In my last review for Raga one of my readers, Kathy Aubrey, believed the tune that was being whistled to be Oh,Oh Antonio. She was right.

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Violetta mentions to Morse that she and Hugo will be spending Christmas at Cortina d’Ampezzo. Cortina d’Ampezzo is a ski resort in northern Italy.

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Jim told Morse not to take work home, he does. And once again Ludo happens to see said work.

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Really? the places were Ludo and Violetta carried out insurance fraud spell LUDO??????

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I wonder why Strange turned down the chance to be Thursday’s bagman.

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We find out Mrs Bright’s first name. It’s Carrie.

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Men were allowed to attend Lady Margaret’s Hall in 1979.

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Rudi in the comments section wrote this, “Cousin Kevin. Cousin Kevin is an evil character from “Tommy” by The Who. He tortures his cousins…..including playing Hide and Seek. Don’t think this is a coincidence”. Thank you Rudi.

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Sheldon on my FB page put forward this interesting titbit, “Ludo is short for “Ludovico,” also the name of the treatment given to Alex in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (ie: The Ludovico Technique), to cure him of his violent urges. Russell Lewis’ profile picture (below) on Twitter is a still from A Clockwork Orange of Patrick Magee as Frank Alexander.”

 

Sheldon also believes that the creature that Jenny sees in her moments of delusion, and whom she has painted on to her wall, looks not dissimilar to the Babadook.

Image result for Babadook

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Ivan mentioned in the comments section this observation, “the funeral director Karl Sturgis works for is Duxbury’s. Perhaps a southern affiliate of Shadrack and Duxbury, the undertaker which employs Billy Fisher in (the film) Billy Liar.”

FRED THURSDAY’S WORDS OF WISDOM.

Fred was too grumpy in this episode to have any wise words for us.

THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERER/S AND THEIR METHODS.

Bridget Mulcahy was killed by Carl Sturgis.

Her neck was broken.

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Petra Cornwell. IMDB incorrectly named her as Petra Connolly.

Manually Strangled. Killed by either Sturgis or Clemens.

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Nancy Deveen is one of the ‘accidental’ victims. Apparently hit her head on a large bust.

Killed by either Ludo or Violetta.

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Pippa Tetbury

Killed by either Violetta or Ludo.

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Mrs Bright electrocuted. Killed by Ludo.

CAST

Marianne Oldham as Magdalena Byrne

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Flora London as Bridget Mulcahy

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James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn

 

Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange

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Don Gallagher as Coroner

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Charlotte Potter as Petra Cornwell.

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Naomi Yang as Nancy Deveen.

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Roger Allam as DCI Fred Thursday

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Anton Lesser as CS Reginald Bright

 

Jessica Hayles as Elaine Fairchild

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Shaun Evans as DS Endeavour Morse

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Richard Harrington as Dr. Dai Ferman

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Holli Dempsey as Jenny Tate

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Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday

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Carol Royle as Mrs. Bright

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Ryan Gage … Ludo Talenti

 

Stephanie Leonidas as Violetta Talenti

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Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil

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Andy Williams as Landlord

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SPOILERS ABOVE.

Author: Chris Sullivan

After having looked after my mum for some 11 years she is now unfortunately in a nursing home. I'm afraid her dementia worsened as did her physical capabilities. So, for the first time in 21 years I find myself no longer caring for anyone. Apart from my mum I was also a single parent to two children and also looked after my dad who had Alzheimers, (he died in 2005). So, I have decided to return to University to try and get another degree this time in English Literature. (My other degree I got some 30 years ago is one in Ecological Science). After a year at college I have passed all grades and now will start Edinburgh University in September 2019. A busy time ahead made even busier by my writing a book on the TV series, Lewis.

104 thoughts

  1. True Kathleen – and perhaps his aversion in later life was from this experience ?? I know both series don”t co-relate but it seems inconsistent that he goes from so moral in the earlier Endeavour (black and white about right and wrong to his detriment career wise) series to so off the rails then back again as he gets older (always foolish about women but in later life but in a naive slightly gullible way)

    Rachel -in the DVD extras did they position the affair as a great true love ? I think that was their intention to explain Morse’s behaviour i just didn’t think it translated to the screen.

    1. Hi Maria, I like your theory that the whole experience of a love affair with a married woman might have changed him in later life. Shaun has said in articles that he has never seen the Inspector Morse series. Perhaps if he had, it might have given us more continuity of character. I haven’t read the books, but Shaun has said he has, so I am wondering if Morse’s character in them is a bit different than the moralistic, even chivalrous, elder Morse. All in all, there can be none better, in my mind and heart, than John Thaw’s Morse.

  2. I do not think “the constant smoking of Endeavour” was included “for no other reason that John Thaw died from Esophageal cancer”. That would indeed have been insensitive. Morse is a smoker in Colin Dexter’s novels. E.g. from Last Bus to Woodstock (end of chapter six): “Morse, not an additive smoker, bought twenty king sized cigarettes and smoked and drank continuously until 2.00 p.m.”

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