Another Star of the Morse Universe has Died: Chris Burt, Producer of Morse and Lewis.

Sadly, I have to report another death in the Morse Universe. Though Chris Burt will be unknown to many people he was an integral part of the Morse Universe. Chris Burt was born in Hong Kong in 1942. He died November 2020.

Chris Burt and Colin Dexter in the Natural History Museum. Oxford.

Chris Burt became a producer on the Inspector Morse series in 1988, the year when the fourth series was filmed. He then produced the episodes of the seventh series and then the subsequent five specials; The Way Through the Woods, Daughters of Cain, Death is Now my Neighbour, The Wench is Dead and The Remorseful Day.

Chris Burt with Colin Dexter.

Chris then went on to produce all of the Lewis series. Chris produced some of the shows that John Thaw starred in, notably Stanley and the Women and Goodnight Mister Tom and he also produced the documentary about the life of John Thaw in 2002, The John Thaw Story.

Chris Burt and Colin Dexter walking together.

Chris Burt was the editor of the pilot episode of The Sweeney, that starred John Thaw, as well as being editor of the two movies based on the popular TV series; The Sweeney and The Sweeney 2.

Here are two short videos of Chris Burt filmed during filming of the Lewis series in 2011. These can be found on the PBS site.

Chris Burt talking about Lewis’s grief in the Lewis series.

Chris answering fan questions.

Laurence Fox wrote on his Twitter feed, “Chris Burt was the naughtiest, sharpest and the most deeply allergic to boring people (his eyes would roll) producer ever. Most of all he was naughty and so much fun. Thank you for the 10 years you made me laugh. Good night dear friend.”

Kevin Whately, Chris Burt and Laurence Fox on set.

Thank you Chris for being part of the Morse Universe and helping to make it a great place. R.I.P.

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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. UPDATE: My mum died from Covid-19 on the 6th May 2020. 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. I am now in second year having passed all the requirements in first year.

6 thoughts

  1. Thank you, Chris, for making us aware of Chris Burt’s passing. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude for his work. My condolences and best wishes to his family and friends.

    1. Chris was a big part of the Morse Universe. I learned that he died from a heart attack on Saturday 14th November.

  2. Sad times for all! I knew all of Chris’s friends, family, co workers and connections to morse and Lewis, amazing memories. I am surprised I never met you at any gathering including Colins funeral. Can you shed some light on how you knew Mr Burt? Many thanks,

    In anticipation of your quick reply Mr Sullivan.

    Kind regards,

    William a friends of Chris Burt.

    1. Hello William and welcome to my website. Unfortunately, I never knew Chris personally only through his work on Morse and Lewis. I was one of the speakers at Oxford Town Hall during Colin Dexter’s memorial service. I always write an obituary when anyone dies who was a part of what I refer to as the Morse Universe. I , and I’m sure all, who inhabit this website are sorry for your loss.

  3. I apologize for being a little late reading this sad news, and I am very sorry to hear that Chris Burt, a true stalwart of the Morse and Lewis series, has passed way. As you say in your post above, Chris, producers of TV shows are perhaps not that well known by the public. However, your namesake was an integral part of the Morse universe. In fact I did not realise Burt’s importance, until I read David Bishops’s excellent book, “The Complete Inspector Morse”. If I may, I will just share with you below, what Bishop had to say about Chris Burt, when he first became a producer of Morse, for the third series, that was filmed in 1988, and broadcast in 1989.

    “Producer Kenny McBain left after the first two series of Morse to develop a new TV drama called “Sharpe”, based on the novels by Bernard Cornwell. To replace him, executive producer Ted Childs brought in Chris Burt, a colleague from “The Sweeney”. Burt made an immediate impact, adding a new regular cast member, Dr. Grayling Russell, played by Amanda Hillwood.

    “The attractive young pathologist was a far cry from her crumpled predecessor Max, with her presence designed to compensate for the show’s lack of female characters. Dr. Russell is initially an irritant to Morse, but soon becomes an object of desire for the often morose detective with a terrible track record in matters of the heart.”

    “Burt also pushed for more humour in the scripts, and was keen to play up the pairing of Morse and Lewis. The four stories in the third series, “Ghost in the Machine”, “The Last Enemy”, “Deceived by Flight”, and “The Secret of Bay 5B”, portray DS Lewis, taking a more active role in solving cases, enhancing his partnership with Morse. The loyal sergeant also acts as a comic foil, pricking his superior’s lapses into pomposity. Viewers responded positively to these changes, with ratings surging by two million for this series of Morse.”

    “Chris Burt moved on after the third series, but his replacement for the fourth series, was a familiar face – Kenny McBain, the show’s original producer. Sadly McBain’s return was cut short when he died from Hodgkin’s disease in April 1989. This very sad event was referenced in the superb third episode of the fourth series, “Driven to Distraction”. Morse tells Lewis and Maitland an anecdote about driving a car for a dying friend each week to keep the battery charged. That unfortunately was a true story. Writer Anthony Minghella did the same thing for Kenny McBain.”

    I have come to the end of my extract about Chris Burt, from David Bishop’s book, and I am sorry if I slightly digressed. Chris Burt, of course, returned to Morse as the producer for series seven, broadcast in 1993, and also for the final five one-off specials, that followed. He would later resume his role as producer, for the whole entirety of the sequel or spin-off to Morse, the wonderful Lewis series (2006-15). Burt was surely then, a hugely significant figure in the smooth transition from Morse to Lewis. He clearly brought great continuity from behind the scenes, and he must have been one of the many reasons, why the Lewis series maintained the high standards, set by Morse.

  4. I have realised a small mistake, and I apologize for that. I accidentally added an extra “s” by mistake, writing David Bishops’s book, but of course, I meant David Bishop’s excellent Morse guide.

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