ENDEAVOUR: S8E1. ‘Striker’; Review + Locations, Literary References, Music etc. SPOILERS.

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Where’s Colin?


Directed by Shaun Evans.

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’.


A parcel bomb explodes and kills a young secretary at Lonsdale College. Meanwhile a threat is made by the Provisional IRA on the life of Jack Swift, a famous and talented black Irish footballer. Endeavour is assigned to protect Jack which he is not happy about due to not only his lack of interest in football but also that he would rather be investigating the death of the secretary. Endeavour is still feeling the effect of Violetta’s death and is compensating by drinking more heavily than normal. Joan Thursday has returned from Stevenage (in reality, Sara Vickers was having a baby) and is continuing with her work as a social worker.

(warning, this review will contain some spoilers)

The episode is set on the February 1971.

The episode is solid and workmanlike and this makes it rather dull and plodding. The direction was also plodding and pedestrian with the football match scenes badly directed. This may not be Shaun’s fault as there is a good chance that the football scenes were directed by the second unit director.

It is strange that the episode should start with no mention of the events in Italy. I was sure that the episode would start with the first scene from the first episode of the seventh series, Oracle. In that scene we saw Endeavour smeared in blood (Violetta’s blood as events would show) in an Italian police station.

But, barely any mention is made of what happened in Venice and only a cursory nod here and there to events of series seven. No mention if the Italian police dragged the river to find Ludo’s body. There is also no mention that Endeavour was moving to another police station on January 3rd to work with McNutt. As so often with Russell Lewis he is quite happy to ignore all that happened in previous series and simply wipe the proverbial slate clear and start again with barely a nod to previous events. It is possible the events of Zenana will raise their ugly heads in one or both of the next episodes.

As always the cast did a wonderful job except Joseph Millson as Robert Fenner who overacted to the point of panto or caricature. A highlight of the episode for me was Matthew Slater’s music. It was sublime and he helped the episode to rise above it’s plodding plot.

As you can imagine I have many problems with the episode and here are some of them:

  1. Endeavour remarks that the college is his old college he attended, Lonsdale. However, in the Endeavour pilot episode, Lonsdale was Merton College not Exeter.
  2. Russell crowbars in modern politics using the recent noise about Cecil Rhodes with the student talking about Buchanan.
  3. At eight minutes Thursday asks Endeavour if he knows anything about football. Fred knows he doesn’t. In the Endeavour episode, Nocturne, set against the backdrop of the 1966 World Cup, Fred remarks when talking to Endeavour about the World Cup, “Come to talking football with you I might as well show a dog the three card trick.
  4. Twice Morse overhears a conversation, first between the manager and Swift’s agent. Then within ten minutes overhears another conversation between unknowns. This is such a tired cliché in crime dramas and is more suited to Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder. Bad enough to do it once but TWICE????
  5. Maggie’s sister Frieda never knew about the explosion in the college where her sister works? I know there was no internet but news of that magnitude would get around the city very quickly.
  6. Twice swift scores in the final minute of the two games.
  7. The champagne bottle that killed the young player was found by DeBryn in the soapy water with his body. Would they really be able to get fingerprints from the bottle?
  8. I don’t see Endeavour being a drinks flask kind of person. It’s a secretive thing while Morse would be quite happy going to the pub if he wanted a drink.
  9. Joan says that one reason for coming back from Stevenage was that she “didn’t want to leave mum.” She had no problem leaving her mum when she ran off after the bank robbery in the Coda episode.
  10. So, the kids never played with the doll’s house which had been given as a gift by Maggie? Really? If they had they would have found the tape.
  11. Why all the sepia toned flashbacks. They come across as fillers. Something to eat up the time allotted.
  12. George shoots the officer immediately but his main target, Jack, he blethers with and gives time for Fred and Morse to get there just in time. Cliched and boring.
  13. Morse threatened, again.
  14. Gunplay again.
  15. The ‘This Is Your Life segment also felt like filler and certainly didn’t move the plot or storyline along.
  16. Why does no one mention Jim Strange’s (Sean Rigby) dramatic weight loss.

The episode had one of the Endeavour series lowest viewing figures.

Jags out of ten:


All ‘modern’ music is what was used in the original UK broadcast. For legal and copyright reasons the music may be different in broadcasts in other countries.

At the beginning of the episode the music being played is The Who’s Never Be Fooled Again.

This song is used as a theme for the TV show CSI:Miami. My good friend Sheldon informs me that The Who song wasn’t released in the UK until June 1971 while this episode is set in February 1971.


At around the four minute mark a radio is playing in the Thursday household. The song continues into the next scene.

It is a song by Max Bygraves called decimalisation. Max was a very famous performer of the 1950s, 60s and seventies.


At the fashion show around the 27 minute mark we hear T-Rex playing. The song is Ride A White Swan.


At around the 29 minute mark we hear the theme tune to the British show This is Your Life.


There is music playing in the scene with Endeavour and Swift at around 38 minutes. But I can’t make it out.




At the 11 and a half minute mark Fred says to Endeavour, “Ours is not to reason why.” This is from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Theirs was not to make reply,
Theirs was not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.


At around the 20 and a half minute mark Frazil says to Endeavour, ” And slowly answer’d Arthur from the barge:
“The old order changeth, yielding place to new.”

Another Alfred Lord Tennyson quote from the poem, Morte d’Arthur.

And slowly answer’d Arthur from the barge:
“The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.


At around 38 minutes Jack Swift says to Endeavour, “For those about to die.”

Avē Imperātor, moritūrī tē salūtant (“Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you”) is a well-known Latin phrase quoted in Suetonius, De vita Caesarum (“The Life of the Caesars”, or “The Twelve Caesars”).[1] It was reportedly used during an event in AD 52 on Lake Fucinus by naumachiarii—captives and criminals fated to die fighting during mock naval encounters—in the presence of the emperor Claudius. Suetonius reports that Claudius replied “Aut nōn” (“or not”).


Endeavour comes across John Sarson’s thesis that was being typed up by Maggie Widdowson, “Reader, I controlled the means of production.” “Towards a critical understanding of issues of class and sex in ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ from a Marxist perspective.”

Although he is writing about Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice he has, in the main title, paraphrased from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre: ‘Reader, I married him.’ This is the first line of chapter 38.


The football ground used in the episode.

This is the first of two football grounds used in this episode. Thanks to Maidonian for giving me this information. This one is Chesham United Football Club, The Meadow, Chesham



At around three minutes we see Endeavour’s house.

Someone told me the location of this house but I can’t remember. I know that it was also used as a location in Vera.

A big thank you to Francoise who came up with the location. It is a vicarage next to St Paul’s Church, Grove Park Road, Hounslow, London.



We see the first victim on her way to work at around the four minute mark.

We are looking through the window of a café on the corner of Ship Street and Turl Street.

The arrow indicates which window the camera is looking through.


Scene following on from above.

Strangely, the scene has now moved to Oriel Square which is a long way from the above scene.

As you will find out below the college location is Exeter College which is a skip, hop and a jump from Ship Street as you can see from the map. So, a rather circuitious route to go to work. maybe this is why she was always late. 😂

Maggie walks onto Merton Street. An arrow points to the post box in the wall that is shown in the scene.


Following on from the above scene. Our first college scene.

This is Exeter College.


Endeavour arrives at Lonsdale College.

Exeter College which stands in for Lonsdale College. This is the front quad.


At around the 12 minute mark we get a better look of the football ground.

This is the second football ground used for the football locations.

The actual location of the football ground is St Albans City, Clarence Park, York Road, St Albans.


At 14 minutes Endeavour and Swift are walking and talking.


At around the 16 minute mark Fred and Jim arrive at The Plaza Hotel.

This location is the Coppid Beech Hotel, Bracknell, Berkshire.


Hospital where Miss Newell is recuperating. She was injured in the bomb blast.

The CGI of the ambulance is terrible. Charlotte, my daughter could do a better job. Thanks to Francoise who found it’s location.


At the 22 minute mark we find where Joan is working. NOT IDENTIFIED.


Home of Jack Swift.

A big thank you to Elaine Hayes who located this building; 30A Hendon Avenue, Hendon, Barnet, Greater London, N3 1UE

The house was recently up for sale. Click HERE to see pictures inside and out of the house.


At 40 minutes we get a view of an Oxford College.

This is Exeter College from Fellows Garden.


Immediately after the above view we get this view.

We can see Hertford Bridge (Bridge of Sighs) in the background in New College Lane. The Sheldonian is on the left.


Again after the above view a view of a college.

The above is another view from The Fellows Garden, Exeter College.


At 41 minutes we see the ‘police station.’

The location of the Thames Valley Police Station is, The St Cross Building, University of Oxford. It contains the English Faculty Library.


A view of Oxford at the one hour mark.

This is looking down Turl Street toward the Lincoln College Library (All Saints Church).

The camera is looking in the direction of the thin arrow.


Endeavour and Noel Baxter are walking and talking.

This is Merton Grove which connects Merton Street and Merton Field.

Endeavour and Noel are walking in the direction of the arrow toward Merton Street.


At around one hour and one minute Endeavour walks through the college to talk to the professor.

This is the Front Quad of Exeter College.


At around the one hour and three minute mark we see inside the hotel.


Another view of the college when Endeavour is talking to John Sarson.

This is a view of Fellows Garden, Exeter College.


Pub shown at around the one minute mark.

This is the The Royal Standard of England.

Actors who appeared in STRIKER and/or Morse or Lewis.



The first victim Maggie Widdowson has the same surname as a character in the Morse episode Last Bus to Woodstock, Mary Widdowson. Mary was the nurse in that episode. Is this a subtle hint By Russell that this is the Last series.


At around 15 minutes Jim is talking to Fred and is reeling off those who are agitators. he mentions Amnox an humanitarian organization. This group are mentioned in the Morse episode Masonic Mysteries. It is where Marion Brooke worked. We also see the young Marion in the Endeavour episode, Arcadia.

Diane Fletcher as Marion Brooke

The young Marion Brooke played by Elisabeth Hopper.


Fenner is a character who runs a fashion house in the episode. This is a flimsy connection to the Morse Universe but there was a character called James Graham “Jim” Fenner in a long running British drama called Bad Girls. He was portrayed by Jack Ellis.

Jack Ellis appeared in the Morse episode, The Settling of the Sun and the Lewis pilot episode.

However, I think the main reason for the use of Fenner is probably a nod to Sheila Hancock, John Thaw’s wife. There was a very successful sitcom called The Rag Trade in the 1960s and it starred onE Sheila Hancock.

Sheila is on the right.


Another tenuous link. Valentine cards play a part in this episode. A valentine also played a part in the Morse episode Death is Now my Neighbour.


The building that was used for the hospital, The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Town Hall, was also used as a hospital in the Endeavour episode Lazaretto.


This is the invite to a Mason’s Dinner Dance. Strange asks Joan to accompany him as ‘guest.’


At around the one minute and a half mark we see two boys playing a football game. This is Subbuteo which was released in 1946. It is still widely played today.


At three minutes a threatening phone call is made supposedly by the Provisional IRA. The Irish Republican Army (IRA; Irish: Óglaigh na hÉireann), also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and informally as the Provos, was an Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, facilitate Irish reunification and bring about an independent, socialist republic encompassing all of Ireland.


Maggie receives a valentine card.

The 1.4.3 is a crossword clue. It means ‘I love you.’ Maggie liked crosswords.


At around nine and a half minute Frazil is talking to Morse and Fred. She is describing the voice of the caller who threatened to kill Jack Swift. She says, “Unster, like Paisley.” She is referring to Ian Paisley, a Northern Irish loyalist politician and Protestant religious leader who served as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from 1971 to 2008 and First Minister of Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2008.


In the same scene as above Frazil is talking of racial comments about Swift. She remarks they said, “None with the touch of the tarbrush.” This is referring to Jack Swift’s skin colour.


At around the 7 minute mark while at attending the bombsite at Lonsdale College, Fred says to Jim Strange, “So what do we think, Angry Brigade?” The Angry Brigade was a far-left British terrorist group: 1971, 12 January: Two bombs exploded at the house of government minister Robert Carr. This attack was one of 25 carried out by the Angry Brigade between August 1970 and August 1971.
1971, 31 October: A bomb exploded in the Post Office Tower in London causing extensive damage but no injuries. The “Kilburn Battalion” of the IRA claimed responsibility for the explosion but The Angry Brigade also claimed to have carried out the attack. It’s likely it was the work of the Angry Brigade and not the IRA.


We find out during a meeting between Fred and Bright that Sam, Fred’s son, is posted in Northern Ireland.


During the same meeting mentioned above, Bright says, “There are some blows from which one never quite recovers.” Is this Russell setting up Bright’s retirement from the force. Bright is of course referring to his wife’s murder.


Again from the same scene as above, Fred says about Endeavour, “He ‘s no more the kid who got off the coach from Carshall Newtown.” This referring to the pilot episode when we see Endeavour and others seconded to Cowley Police Station in Oxford.


It is mentioned in the episode that there is a postal strike. The 1971 United Kingdom postal workers strike was a strike in the United Kingdom staged by postal workers between January and March 1971.


Endeavour is looking through a magazine.

The name Tressel may be an allusion to Robert Tressell. Tressel wrote The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists (1914) a semi-autobiographical novel by the Irish house painter and sign writer Robert Noonan, who wrote the book in his spare time under the pen name Robert Tressell. Published after Tressell’s death from tuberculosis in the Liverpool Royal Infirmary in 1911.


The scout has an unusual name Marmaduke Ward.

Horatia Nelson, Admiral Nelson and Emma Hamilton’s daughter, married the Rev. Philip Ward, curate of Burnham Westgate Church, 19 February 1822. They had ten children one of whom was called, Marmaduke Ward.


Duke Ward and Fred are talking in the club bar. Duke is talking about how the football club made it’s home in Potter’s Lane. Fred says, “So, Potter’s Field to Potter’s Lane.” Is this a reference to the James Stewart film It’s A Wonderful Life. Potter’s Field is a housing development owned by Henry F. Potter, the bitter old rich man, and the bank. Thanks to Headwood in the comments who observed a better reason for the Potter’s Field reference, “After the suicide of Judas Iscariot, the Chief Priests recovered the thirty pieces of silver that they had paid him to betray Jesus. As it was blood money, it could not be returned to their treasury. Instead they bought The Potter’s Field, as a “burial place for strangers.” Matthew 27:7”


Fenner says to Endeavour when in the club bar, “It’s good to be king.” “It’s good to be the king“, a catch phrase from the 1981 Mel Brooks film History of the World, Part 1. Also a song by Tom Petty.


The manager, Dan Lofthouse, tells Endeavour and Fred that they were he had been discussing loaning Jack Swift out to Fulchester.  Fulchester United F.C. is the fictitious association football team based within Fulchester. One of the most noted players on the team is Billy ‘The Fish’ Thompson, title character of the “Billy the Fish” strip.


The professor is talking into his tape recorder as Endeavour walks in at around the one hour and one minute mark. He is talking about holding a service in the memory of Maggie Widdowson. He says that the service will held two weeks after Septuagesima. Septuagesima is the name for the ninth Sunday before Easter, the third before Ash Wednesday. The term is sometimes applied to the seventy days starting on Septuagesima Sunday and ending on the Saturday after Easter.


Jack Swift appears to be loosely based on George Best. In 1971 George Best was on This is Your Life, with Eamonn Andrews interrupting a fashion show.


Shaun during filming. Photos Credit: Courtesy of (C) Mammoth Screen


Thanks to Nick for this interesting take on the This Is Your Life scene. Nick wrote, “’m wondering if the This is Your Life segment is a subtle nod to a Two Ronnies sketch – one of the Piggy Malone and Charlie Farley ones I think – in which they think they’ve stumbled across a plot to kill their boss, but it turns out that it’s actually a set-up to have Eamonn Andrews surprise said boss with the red book … although they don’t realise this until after they’ve knocked Eamonn Andrews out.” Thanls Nick that’s very interesting. The Two Ronnies were a famous and well loved duo who created a sketch show in the 1970s and 1980s.


Simon noticed the following; “the yellow Raleigh Chopper was in fact a Mk3 which wasn’t made until 2004 at the earliest. Terrible fail by the props department. It’s not like there are loads of Mk1’s out there to use.”


Thank you to Tim who supplied the following very interesting information. Tim wrote,

Like you, I was thinking that Jack Swift was loosely based on George Best, though the latter’s drinking and womanising were far more extreme. But did you know that there had been a threat to kill Best in 1971, supposedly from the IRA?

And that Best also lived in a white ‘superhouse’ like the building used for Jack Swift’s home in the episode?

British Phrases.

George Sellars when giving his statement to Jim Strange says, “Mr Ward stopped off at the gents for a Jimmy.” This is rhyming slang. Jimmy Riddle means piddle as in urination.


Duke Ward refers to the agent, Jubba, as an eejit. Eejit means idiot.


Maggie Widdowson killed by a parcel bomb. Killed by Robert Fenner who had sent the bomb in collusion with Professor Lucius Stamfield. Maggie was blackmailing the two men as she overheard their unintentional recording of a conversation.


John Paul Martinelli killed by drowning. He was initially hit over the head with a champagne bottle. Gives a whole new meaning to ‘drink going to one’s head.’ 😉 Killed by George Sellars. George was angry that John Paul had sex with his wife.


Roger Allam as Fred Thursday

Shaun Evans as Endeavour Morse

Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday

Angus Yellowlees as John Sarson

 Andrew Havill as Professor Lucius Stamfield

Mia McCallum as Maggie Widdowson

James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn

James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn

Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil

Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright

Julian Moore-Cook as Jack Swift

John Hollingworth as Dan Lofthouse

Joseph Millson as Robert Fenner

Harriet Thorpe as Miss Newell

Gabriel Tierney as John Paul Martinelli

Elliot Levey as Ray Jubba

Sara Vickers as Joan Thursday

Roxanne Palmer as Frida O’Rourke

Lewis Macleod as Eamonn Andrews

Ruth Bradley as Sarah Sellars

Jacinta Mulcahy as Mrs. Swift

Colum Convey as Marmaduke ‘Duke’ Ward

Christopher Brand as DS Bill Shaw

Evelina Järrebring as Brigitte Eriksson

Tom Spink as Noel Baxter


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.

125 thoughts

  1. The usual brilliant analysis. I should have identified the football ground as St Albans, since I live there! But then, I never go to the football.
    I’m sure I have seen Jack Swift’s house in other series, but can’t identify it.
    I thought this was a fairly sound, if rather slow-paced episode.
    You’re right to point out the complete lack of comment on the events of the previous series, though there’s a passing reference to Jim Strange having been off work – of course because he had been stabbed, which accounts for the weight loss, though not for the actor’s weight loss!
    A couple of references perhaps worth pointing out: “It’s good to be the king” was originally from a Budweiser ad. And Swift uses the phrase ‘breakfast of champions’, from a Wheaties ad. There may be other ads quoted.
    The bike in the football ground is a Raleigh Chopper.

  2. Thank you for the review. As a US resident, I was able to watch this episode on YouTube. I agree it was a middling sort of episode–not great but also not infuriatingly awful (cough, cough, Ludo, cough).

    Two quick notes:

    1) I think Exeter has stood in for Lonsdale many times before, as have parts of Brasenose. Notably, Settling of the Sun makes use of Exeter exteriors, and the Chapel is a memorable setting for the near-final scene.

    2) When this airs in the US, will we hear that fabulous “Decimalisation” number? Or some shoddy substitute? LOL.

    1. Hi Mary Anne. I don’t think Exeter has ever doubled for Lonsdale especially not in the Endeavour series. Some shoddy substitute I imagine and that also goes for the T-Rex and The Who numbers.

  3. Excellent and wonderfully informative. Your comment about Morse not being secretive when drinking, did remind me that there is an instance in Last Seen Wearing when he asks a Constable “Downstairs, there’s a bottle of scotch in the cupboard. Pour me a glass, would you? Actually, make it a mug and don’t make a fuss.” That’s a bit secretive.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. Glad you enjoyed it. A bit secretive but Lewis and everyone else did know. Not quite along the lines of a hip flask.

      1. And highly unprofessional. But that was Morse all over – unprofessional.

  4. Loved the “breakfast of champions” any reference to the legend James Hunt is fine by me.
    And seeing the hospital from carry on doctor and carry on again doctor made me chuckle.

    1. Have you seen the film Rush about the rivalry between Lauda and Hunt. It was way better than I expected it to be. Welcome Scott.

      1. Absolutely incredible film and Lauda said it was excellent and captured the season and his friend perfectly Eve though obviously much easier dramatised.

  5. A terrific analysis of the episode. A very trivial footnote: Lewis Macleod, the chap who played Eamonn Andrews in STRIKER, also played Andrews in the film “Hattie,” a pretty good biopic about Hattie Jacques.

  6. After the suicide of Judas Iscariot, the Chief Priests recovered the thirty pieces of silver that they had paid him to betray Jesus. As it was blood money, it could not be returned to their treasury. Instead they bought The Potter’s Field, as a “burial place for strangers.” Matthew 27:7
    Absolutely love your website, Chris. Completely agree with you about last week’s episode. Crossing fingers for a return to form tonight!

    1. Welcome Headwood. Thank you for the reference. I did think the reference to Potter’s Field had to be more meaningful. I will add your observation into the post.

  7. In the United states (possibly the UK as well) a potter’s field was a burial ground for the indigent or unclaimed. This reference goes back to a passage in the new testament in Matthew 27 versus 3 to 8. In the US we still have “potter’s field ” cemeteries for the unclaimed. What I picked up from Fred’s conversation was that the football ground was built on an old potter’s field owned by Lonsdale college and so Fred made the link of potter’s field to potter’s lane

  8. The hospital shot is Maidenhead Town Hall, St Ives Road, Maidenhead which they also used as the hospital in Carry on Doctor. Obviously not a coincidence.

    That terrible shot looked like a photo to me with CGI birds added. I’m guessing it was photo or still taken from the carry on movie.

  9. Yay! A review of S8E1, which I thought might be delayed until it has aired internationally. Anyway, I searched for a review of this episode so I would know what to expect when it finally aired in the US, and much to my amazement landed on a youtube of the entire episode. It wasn’t captioned, however, and even with the sound streamed direct to my hearing aids, it was a struggle to follow the plot. My penance for watching an unofficial version, I suppose. (Where other people see “spoilers”, I see “explanations.”) It didn’t help that my interest in and knowledge of any sort of sportsball is completely non-existent.

    I didn’t have a problem with another college serving as a front for the fictional Lonsdale as it’s not uncommon for things in a pilot episode to change when it is decided to run an entire series. If Lonsdale was a frequent feature and it was changed repeatedly, then that would be irritating.

    Yeah, that line asking Endeavour if he knew anything about football really stood out; very sloppy. It could have been a charming moment if Thursday had referred back to that line from Nocturne.

    I think you’re right about the flask. I think it was a heavy-handed attempt to highlight Endeavour’s increased drinking, “Ooh, look, he’s sneaking drinks from his jacket. He must have A Drinking Problem.” Also in regard to his drinking, for as hungover as he supposedly was, he produced a perkily alert and goofy look at Dorothea when they were all yakking away in Thursday’s office.

    Eh, maybe Joan learned her lesson after seeing how much pain she caused her mother by leaving the first time.

    I don’t have a problem with Morse falling through floors or being threatened etc. Sure, we know he’s going to survive relatively unscathed, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have any bumps along the way. In any program, I have never seen the leads in danger and thought, oh no, if he/she dies they’ll have to cancel the show. I know they will live.

    I thought it was my hearing that made me miss the point of the This is Your Life segment. Apparently not. Other than, were some of the supposedly fond people on the show actually out to kill him? I couldn’t keep them all straight. Even if so, unnecessary. I still don’t understand why people wanted Jack dead and who they were and that whole storyline about managers, owners, coaches being angry with each other, and the other player being killed. I just couldn’t follow the conversations. Oh. “John Paul Martinelli – Killed by George Sellars. George was angry that John Paul had sex with his wife.” Boy, I missed that little plot point.

    As soon as someone mentioned Strange’s return to duty, I thought of course, his injury would explain his weight loss (although not Rigby’s).

    I was surprised also that the Italian police station scene was apparently not going to be used at all. On the other hand, any decision that keeps the execrable season 7 dead and buried is fine with me.

    Thursday and Morse obviously worked out their differences; in Zenana, it was obvious that Thursday had been fretting about Morse to Win, as she finally told him to just call him already. And Morse of course fell all over himself to apologize with his letter. But since a transfer involves a number of people, notably McNutt, who thought he was getting a replacement bagman in a few days, even a sentence of explanation would have been nice. (“Morse really didn’t need the stress of a new assignment right now. Good thing McNutt was okay without a bagman rather than demanding one who was grieving, distraught, and drunk 24/7.”)

    I thought the line about Morse no longer being the kid who got off the coach from Carshall Newtown was very sad. And when Thursday told Morse, “I picked you”, Morse appeared to be baffled as to why Thursday had done any such thing. Also sad.

    I think the exterior of Morse’s house was used in Girl as the exterior of the house where the young secretary with the heart condition lived. It was also used as the exterior of a veterinary clinic in Grantchester S3E3, which wouldn’t be interesting except that the veterinarian was Simon Harrison, good old DCI Ronnie Box from Endeavour.

    I found that a very little bit of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” goes a long way with me. I thought it would never end. I would have welcomed the caterwauliest bit of opera instead.

    I wonder if Sam being stationed in Northern Ireland is going to enter the story going forward. If something happened to him, I can see where that could throw the entire Thursday family into chaos and extreme actions or behaviors.

    1. Wonderful comments–thanks. By the way, I don’t wear hearing aids, and I struggled to understand half of the dialogue.

    2. You can get auto-generated closed captions on YouTube (but they are laughable). Use your streaming device remote to click on pause, then up to the cc box. Even with cc, Jack Swift’s extremely thick accent and mediocre acting spoiled the whole episode for me. Surely there were better Black actors out there!

  10. Apologies if someone has already mentioned the name of the fashion guy. Fenner – clearly a hint to Mr Fenner of the Rag Trade TV comedy in which Sheila Hancock starred.

    Also, did anyone notice Chief Supt Bright’s medal ribbons ? He has lost all his World War 2 medal ribbons but acquired those of the OBE, QPM and long service police medal (this latter was already overdue given his previous colonial service). Possibly they needed a new uniform and just grabbed the nearest in wardrobe.

  11. Did anyone else think the shot of Lincoln Library might be a nod to Colin Dexter, as he stated it was his favourite building in Oxford?

  12. chris: a lot to process in the review and comments. i think you meant to identify jim strange in the cast pictures. it’s jim but you captioned max.

  13. Hi, Chris, and huge thank you for this great review. I could sign every single word, from Jim Strange’s weight loss (probabbly from being wounded in “Zenana”, to cliched and boring script without any references to previous season, especially as I expected Morse to move to a new police station and work with McNutt. Not to mention that there’s no classical music again, it’s the first thing that comes on my mind when I think of Morse, not that he’s alcoholic etc. Anyway, I can hardly wait to see “Striker” with all of you on Twitch. Best regards!

  14. Chris – as always a great review. So many interesting tidbits that I completely miss.

    Re: no mention of Venice – I must admit I really thought that would dominate but very glad it did not. I think it was said here that if they could get away with never mentioning Ronnie Box from S6 to S7 then (fingers crossed for me) they could not mention Ludo/Violetta.

    But you are right it is very odd given that Morse is drink sodden as a result and that seems to be the arc for S8,

    All I can think of is that Lewis and Evans realised how completely bad that whole plotline was and most of the commentary (here, IMDB and Digital spy) was very critical and they thought better of revisiting it at all.

    The “Morse has a drinking problem” was a bit ham fisted.

    Interesting in Damian Barcrofts interview with Russell he says that the Morse smoking was Shaun’s input……it doesn’t sit well with me for some reason.

    Not liking the Strange/Joan angle – it just feels forced for more Morse angst also I was quite offended when I read iin the press pack that she is going to fall (and perhaps marry?) Strange because Joan is reverting to wanting someone just like her father – very patronising especially of an independent woman who is now running a refuge and has seen and rejected her father’s behaviour. (And copped a beating because of it)

    Great pick up with the Rhodes/Buchanan thing.

    1. Maria, I so agree about Joan. Also, if she did want a man just like dear old dad, why on earth would she pick Strange? Her dad much preferred field work to management, and in his own way was ethical and not a corrupt cop (well, except for that period during series 6).

      Strange, on the other hand, wants management bad, and is not above using connections and influence when his own efforts and abilities can’t get him what he wants. I am also pretty sure Thursday had little use for the Masons.

      I missed the part in Bancroft’s interview where Russel says that Morse’s smoking was Shaun’s idea. I don’t like to see him indulging in such a nasty habit, but I can see where an alcoholic might like the nicotine hit to lurch awake in the morning. Just depressing.

      1. Celine – maybe I had better go back and check re: the smoking…..

        Clearly Strange not only stays with the Masons but is actually very influential with them many years later – I just can’t see Joan marrying someone who is so aligned with them. Also, I seem to remember that Mrs Strange was very much a ‘lady who lunches’ and quite into her social status with the hoi poloi of Oxford.

        Anyway- it doesn’t matter really – Russ has always gone his own way with Endeavour. I guess for me I love seeing the 3 series as building on each other – loved the references in Lewis to Morse and earlier connections and equally so loved the early Endeavour connections with the later Inspector Morse series (Copley Barnes, Anthony Donn, Reece, Marion Brooke etc) and even bringing into Endeavour the Lewis connection (Philip Hathaway) – but Russ has made a big deal of the Strange/Masons connection from Episode 2 – he could have easily left it and had us assume that Strange got involved with them later.

        I enjoyed the 2nd episode much more so look forward to others views.

      2. Sean Rigby seems to have lost charisma along with weight. His acting was so understated throughout the season as to be nonexistent. Starting with his solitary celebration of the game on the radio. Hardly any emoting whatsoever. Poor direction by Shaun. I can’t buy ANY attraction of Joan to Strange. I question the direction? Would better direction have made a connection more believable?

    2. Re: Strange/Joan: I have a feeling Russell would do anything to create more angst for Morse at this point, no matter how ridiculous or out of character. I feel like it’s been a couple of years since the last time he actually remembered it was supposed to be a prequel. He’s just doing whatever he likes, especially S7 felt like something from a completely different universe.

    1. She did. She mentions it to Morse asking if he got things sorted that he had mentioned in his letter.

      1. Thanks Chris – I thought I must have missed it…. I streamed the episode and sometimes the internet wavers.

        I guess because nothing much was said in detail about what happened in Venice and I missed that bit I wasn’t sure.

    2. Tbh it was VERY easy to miss. After the super melodramatic letter you’d think they’d echange more than two sentences on the subject.

  15. John Paul Martinelli, the footballer from ‘Londonderry’, refers to having come over to “the UK”. Derry/Londonderry is in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom. Also, the term ‘the UK’ didn’t enter common speech until the 1990s – maybe late 80s – but definitely nobody ever said “the UK” in 1971!

    Also ‘eejit’ is an Irish phrase not British.

      1. It is absolutely true. Obviously the United Kingdom has been in existence since 1800 but the abbreviation the UK really only came into common usage in the last few decades. I remember noticing it. Up until then people didn’t really distinguish between Britain and the United Kingdom so most people just referred to it as Britain or Great Britain. It’s a common mistake for people to refer to ‘the UK’ and ‘Britain’ as if they were the same thing. But that’s a mistake an Irish person would never make, whether from the North or the Republic. I suppose I’ll have to find some kind of academic source to convince you but I assure you it’s true.

      2. So there is this Google facility called ngram which can give you a graph showing the usage of words and terms in English texts since 1800. If you search for ‘the UK’, its unheard of before WWII and not used much until 1960s. Granted the curve starts to rise in the 70s but it is still a fraction of current use. Texts are not the same as common speech of course but it does demonstrate the point that it is a relatively modern term and I still maintain that most ‘ordinary people’ would not have used it in 1971 – diplomats maybe but not footballers.

  16. I believe two separate football grounds were used to film the match footage. The first game between the clubs was filmed at Chesham United’s ground, The Meadow, in Amy Lane, the replay was filmed at St Albans City’s ground, Clarence Park.

    1. Hi. I will add that as a note to my review. Thank you. Do you know where you came across this info. Welcome.

      1. Hi Chris, the first picture on your review is of Chesham United FC. The club tweeted about the episode on September 12th. Clarence Park, home of St Albans City, is the ground you feature “around the 12 minute mark”. I’ve been to both grounds numerous times.

    1. Well done, I found a lot of similar modernist houses but couldn’t find that one. I was quite surprised to see that it was built as far back as 1959.

    2. If the house seems familiar to anyone, it was featured in the 2013 Miss Marple mystery “Endless Night”. If I remember correctly it burned down at the end (cgi of course).

  17. One more musical reference/quote to add to your list. When Thursday and Morse are getting in the lift at the police station and Thursday suggests Morse should go home and get some sleep, Morse replies, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. That’s the title of a song from Warren Zevon’s self-titled debut album, released in 1976. As far as I can tell, he invented the phrase, though it’s since been used as a film title and for other songs.

  18. I seem to recall seeing the Morse house in an episode of Vera, or Unforgotten. I can’t recall which. Morse’s house has always struck me as way too big for a bachelor.

    1. I still don’t get how he was able to afford to buy that house. Even considering the terrible state it was in when he bought it.

      1. Mprse never had much of a choice. He had terrible taste in women and had no idea how to behave with them – he was so obvious.

  19. I’m getting ever closer to being completely done with Russell’s bull***t. Why is everyone over what happened last series? Why is everyone absolutely fine with Morse working with them like nothing happened? He was so terrible to both Thursday and Bright. He managed to piss off not only Strange, but even Max, who is the calmest and softest person around. And I really get that they know he went through a very traumatic event and that Thursday is basically his dad, but even if everyone decided he was going to continue working with them – also: why? what happened to his transfer and working with McNutt? – I think it would be at least a bit awkward for everyone considering the way he was behaving last year. Thursday says “Morse is Morse” and apparently it means nothing he does has real consequences. This is such bad writing.

  20. I’m getting ever closer to being completely done with Russell’s bull***t. Why is everyone over what happened last series? Why are they all completely fine with working with Morse after he behaved the way he did? He was so terrible to both Thursday and Bright. He managed to piss off not only Strange, but even Max, who is the calmest and softest person around. I get that they know he went through a very traumatic event and that Thursday is basically his dad. But even if everyone was fine with him continuing to work with them – also: why? what happened to his transfer and working with McNutt? – I think it would be at least a bit awkward for everyone considering the way he was behaving last year. Thursday says “Morse is Morse” and apparently it means that nothing he does has consequences. This is such bad writing.

  21. I thought a glaring omission was when morse and Joan meet and after all the Venice happenings and all the heartfelt and ominous things he wrote in that letter to her, the only thing Joan asks is if he sorted it out. Really? Not what happened, what led him to Venice, are things resolved with her father?
    I did like when Thursday said “I picked you.” That told me that all was resolved between them and no need to drag up all the unpleasantness that went on before.
    I was shocked at Strange’s weight loss. Didn’t even recognize him at first.
    I also think Morse’s flask drinking is because he has to work sometime and no time to go to a pub since he is drinking so much.
    It was hard to hear all on YouTube but I agree it was a disappointing episode.

    1. ” the only thing Joan asks is if he sorted it out”

      Which would have been fine if he had written her a heartfelt letter about the disorganized file cabinets at work.

      1. Ha ha – so true. Or inquiring about his sock drawer.

        That reaction to the letter is odd. It certainly declared his feelings…..even the actress says in an interview that when she watched the episode her reaction was ‘go and find her and declare your love’

        I have kind have been partial to Strange (albeit not liking how he rises to the top) but I think it is a shame they made the decision to go in this direction at such a late stage in the series – he has been an amusing foil for Morse. The plodder, using his fists as well like Thursday, who acknowledged (in series 1) that he was not going to get ahead like Morse on brains and merit hence why he was joining the Masons, put that allegiance before coming to the support of Thursday in Neverland…..(wondering how he is going to explain that to Joan – oh I let your Dad walk into an ambush that almost got him killed rather than annoy the Masons) now in S8 we have turned him into a dapper new age romantic guy.

        Not only is Russell not lining him up with the Inspector Morse series (I have learned to forgive those glaring misalignments) he is not even lining the character up with his own series.

        Funny enough I actually preferred the S1 – 7 Strange ! He seemed much more in keeping with Strange of Inspector Morse.

        I saw some Footballer fans lashing this episode – a bit harsh – I think sporting episodes are always hard to get right and with restrictions would have been a nightmare (I am a little surprised they didn’t abandon the storyline given the obstacles – they had plenty of time with the delay in filming)

    2. I agree with you about the flask. A flask would be absolutely necessary to stave off delirium tremens of severe alcoholism which Endeavour has. We can see him cascading into delirium tremens especially in episode 3 when he makes an attempt to stop drinking and the doctor in that episode comments on his illness, but doesn’t say the word alcoholism.

  22. Sam being posted to Northern Ireland was mentioned by Win to Morse in the last series, can’t recall which episode. I was surprised as Sam hadn’t been referred to at all since leaving for Germany in ‘Colours’.
    The absence of opera, classical music really means that an essential character is missing from the series and each episode is diminished greatly as a result. Take a look at the opening sequence to Rocket or Game, look and listen at how the music works and adds to the storytelling both visually and in plot development. Then imagine those sequences with only a tinkly piano to accompany them…
    Dull fare in this episode, lots of amnesia from previous series and some lack of continuity though not always. Glad to have Joan back and Morse still disrespecting her, searching the dolls house even though she is unhappy with it, echoes of him making fun of her job/ clothes in an earlier episode. She picks up on his drinking also and points it out.

  23. Thanks once more Chris for all the work you do to make our experience of Endeavour so much richer.

    I am always going to be an Endeavour fan, but was a bit disappointed with Striker, although I do admire the way they managed to present the football scenes during a time of social distancing. From what I could see from a very poor connection via my computer, Scherzo was far more to my taste, even though I don’t think it bore any relation to its title. Maybe it was a joke (pun intended).

    I have no problems with minor inconsistencies, or failure to fill in the gaps. After all, the role of fiction is not to mirror reality, or to paint a complete picture. One of its strengths is giving readers/viewers a chance to participate in the experience with their own imagination, and their own distinctive interpretations and reactions.

    But like JulieB (and I fully expect that many will disagree) I was very disappointed by the music. I heard or read an interview with Matthew Slater some time ago in which he stated that he was looking forward to introducing his own style of music to Endeavour. Well from the pilot episode on it was the music that first drew me to Endeavour. Not only did it reflect Morse as a person, but it gave tremendous impact to individual scenes. It used to be something more than accompanying background music suited to the moment. It made bold and sometime incongruous statements that opened up a world of meaning that I haven’t noticed in other contemporary crime dramas, and became almost a character in its own right. One example: remember the impact of ‘In Paradisum’ as Morse and his colleagues passed through the streets of Oxford in the pilot episode, and what that meant for viewers who had heard that same music as the older Morse lay dying in The Remorseful Day. I personally disliked the music of the fake opera in season seven, but I’m not certainly not criticising the actual score of the Striker music. What I regret is the complete lack of the type of music Morse related to, and the way they have now reverted to a more conventional way of integrating music and drama. Just my personal opinion.

    1. Hi Alison, I agree with you about the music being indicative of the entire Morse character and that it contributes to the whole Morse series’ atmosphere and makes it unique. I can understand the composer’s need to introduce some “modern” music into Endeavour given the time period but his scenes should reflect him and not the period.

      1. I also so agree re: the music. But I think that change has been since S5 (really obvious in S6) – I do so miss it…….I still miss Morse in the choir – which he was in Endeavour and then later in Inspector Morse.

        Yes the complete moving on of everyone from the awful behaviour of Morse without even a backward glance is such glaringly bad well ‘non-continuity’ Also Morse was behaving like a complete jerk for 3 episodes to everyone BEFORE the incident in Venice not as a result.

        Joan’s reaction to the letter – it was so odd that I missed it (my internet did not help while viewing the episode) and was sure she had not been given it even. Until Chris pointed it out to me and I went back and re-watched.

        Considering the same writer has written all 33 episodes (and he stated that was part of why he wanted to write all the episodes) the gaps are huge.

        The reference here by Thursday to Morse knowing nothing about football – well there was almost a full episode of him being completely disinterested in football in S1 – Thursday commented (and a rather funny scene), Strange commented, Sam and Jakes. You would expect the same writer would remember that. Unless Thursday was being sarcastic ?

        And clearly Russell and Evans must have recognised that S7 was pretty dire but to not mention it really at all…..it would have made more sense for Violetta to have been exposed as part of the whole caper – then you could have minimal reference to them but some sort of context.

        Anyway the next episode is much better IMO.

        But feel this cannot be the last series …..

  24. Spoilers for series 8, episode 2: I have to agree with Maria that series 8 is playing like it’s a set-up for either a series 9, or a film to introduce McNutt as Morse’s new guvnor, and a case for them to solve . As it is, episode 3 will see the return of Sam Thursday, the possible outcome of Fred’s meet-up with the London mob (in “SCHERZO”), and the rumoured marriage of Joan & Strange.

    1. Hi sheldon, interesting thought that it might be a movie to tie things up between endeavor and McMutt because I’ve always felt that this series would not lay enough of the groundwork for it.

      1. Kathleen – McNutt has been mentioned a few times throughout “Endeavour,” so, in that sense, the “groundwork” has been laid. So to speak

      2. Yes but only mentioned. Elder Morse has said McMutt taught him everything he knows but Young Morse has been with Thursday for 8 years and had learned much from him. Series 8 can not bring about that close Mcnutt/ Morse relationship timeline. I haven’t seen ep 2 but I don’t think endeavor is leaving just yet. Maybe ep 3 might have him finally being transferred but then if it ends there there will be no McNutt story at all.

      3. I posed here in another thread that i wondered if the last episode of S8 was going to see off the Thursdays (Joan marrying – although that still doesn’t sit well with me for a variety of reasons – mostly the uncomfortable “marrying someone like her dad” (ick) and Strange’s strong and long lasting Mason membership, and for me some sort of Morse/Joan romance after six series of teasing) but TBH it was just a far off thought.

        However, it just seems as if it is too much to wrap up for the last episode, ITV surely would make a big fuss of the ‘final’ episode and Shaun’s hints that he could go on without Allam.(although is that him or the PR people) and the fact that Morse/Thursday seem to be completely sweet again.

        So now I feel either another movie (which would be the 100th outing for the franchise) or even one or two more series feels more likely ? No Thursdays?Joan gone as an ongoing romantic prospect for Morse and potentially Strange gone too. Perhaps Thursday sends Morse off to McNutt to sort himself out ?

        Sam does not seem to be in the cast list for next week but that could be because the lists are not usually complete. Anyway….we shall see.

        Not sure how I feel if there is to be more series (especially without Allam)

  25. Great review Chris, though I feel late to the party.
    I too was a little disappointed with the episode, it didn’t shine for me and won’t be overly well remembered I fear. Such a shame when we all kind of know we’re down to our last three episodes.

    I was rather taken aback by Strange’s dramatic weight loss. I rationalised it by his injury in series 7 and the probable rather long hospital stay/recouperation he would have had to go through. Dr DeBryn’s ‘welcome back’ comment at the site of the explosion gave me cause to think such. Apologies, if someone else has mentioned such further up the post.

  26. I enjoyed this episode more than i had expected to . The anticipated Irish assassin turning out to be Eammon Andrews was an amusing twist (well, I didnt see it coming) but they dragged out the This is Your Life segment far too long. I liked the Viz reference.
    Does the Strange/Joan situation explain why Morse and Strange have a strained relationship in later years ?
    Thinking about the plot inconsistencies i was wondering how much footage ends up on the cutting room floor.Have any DVD releases ever included deleted scenes ?

    A few minor niggles ……..
    The Dolls House – it was huge and surely must have cost a fortune – how did she afford to buy it ?
    Martinelli was referred to as a Northern Ireland international yet he was playing for a very lowly team in Cowley – unlikely i’d have thought
    The suggestion that Napalm and Agent Orange were both created by Buchanan – did Buchanan have some sort of monopoly on chemical warfare weapons ?

    1. Maybe the dolls house was second-hand? More of a mystery is why the children never found the tape, unless they’d never actually played with it.

      Regarding Martinelli, it’s not unusual for Northern Irish internationals to play for English lower-league sides – today, most of them do. I’d’ve thought that in the 1970s, big names like George Best and Pat Jennings would have been exceptions, with most of the rest of the side from the lower divisions. More mystifying is the fact that Martinelli and Swift are clearly both centre forwards so would be vying for the same position in the NI team – maybe Martinelli had only played for his country a couple of times, probably when Swift was injured.

      I’m wondering if the This is Your Life segment is a subtle nod to a Two Ronnies sketch – one of the Piggy Malone and Charlie Farley ones I think – in which they think they’ve stumbled across a plot to kill their boss, but it turns out that it’s actually a set-up to have Eamonn Andrews surprise said boss with the red book … although they don’t realise this until after they’ve knocked Eamonn Andrews out. Maybe I’m over-thinking things.

      1. Hi Nick and welcome. That is very interesting regarding the Two Ronnies. I have added that info to the miscellaneous section of the review.

  27. Just saw some of the magazine runs for this week’s episode – no separate stories, doesn’t even make the pick of the day – unless they are going for the BIG surprise it didn’t exactly have the hint (to me) of the final episode – unless ITV are trying the weirdest marketing campaign ever!

  28. As an Endeavour apologist, I was pleased with this episode. Yes, it was average, but that is a return to form after the last series.
    I too enjoyed the This is Your Life/terrorism confusion.
    The hip flask did not seem out of character. Ale is best drunk fresh, but spirits do not suffer this way.
    Finally I would give this series a bit of latitude as it would have been affected by lockdown.

    1. Yes – agree – I think filming the episodes under such tight restrictions would have been a nightmare…. A shame they did not wait a few more months and I think in the UK some filming restrictions may have eased.

      Filming sports stories is always a challenge (I suspect because trying to display the extras as elite sports people would be hard) but doing it when they had to use such a small amount of people due to co-vid even harder !

      1. Why did they shoot the games in the pouring rain? It was hard enough to see what was happening.

      2. Not seeing what was happening was the reason for the darkness and the rain. There were no crowds at the filming of the games and that had to be hidden in some way.

  29. I personally felt no chemistry between Joan and slim Jim, on Joan,s part. Is it
    Really feasible that someone as attractive as Joan would not have met
    Some one in Stevenage, and finally if they do get together will she spill
    The beans to Him about her shenanigans in Leamington,

    1. Agree, I have watched the 2nd episode twice now and I saw no real chemistry either – in fact it kind of felt a bit ‘awkward’ and definitely forced.

      Jim seems very different in this series (more than the weight loss) and him using Fred’s lines and in the final episode seemingly dressing like him a wee bit disturbing for me !

      IMO introducing this whole storyline making them have this great love after one date is a plot device to exit at least Joan and perhaps all the Thursdays. But we shall see…..

      It doesn’t line up with the Inspector Morse series if Joan is Strange’s wife and the Thursdays his in-laws but guess the alignment only matters to some of us. For many of the current fans it matters diddly squat.

      1. Yes, the whole ‘Joan and Jim’ thing does seem an implausible and forced plot development to me, though I think we can assume that they will have had a few more dates by the next episode. If they do get together, why would that never have been be referred to in Inspector Morse? Yes, I anticipate some teeth-grindlingly annoying developments in this subplot.

      2. Maria, I so agree about the lack of chemistry between Joan and Strange. None, zip, zero. I also thought Jim’s prattling on to the taxi driver about Joan’s attributes was cringe-worthy, especially about what an independent woman she was.

        I just can’t see Strange prizing a woman who is independent. I think if they marry Joan off to him, she is going to be real surprised to find out that now that she is a married woman, her career is to have dinner on the table when hubby gets home. Strange’s single-mindedness about advancing his career in a conservative male-dominated profession doesn’t seem to leave a whole lot of room for a “modern” woman inconveniencing him along the way. He has never struck me as imaginative or forward thinking. Plodding comes to mind.

        That whole plotline, yecch. Although I would find a big flaming fight between them over expectations in a marriage hugely entertaining.

      3. I have always said that I didn’t believe Strange and Joan would be a good match. But if they do end up together I don’t think Strange would mind that Joan is a “career and independent” woman. I think he admires her for what she is. Being independent and having a career and being in a compatible relationship is not mutually exclusive in my experience. And we don’t really know what Joan is looking for in a relationship since she at first fell for Jakes, a very dubious choice, and then became a kept woman with a married man, and then turned down Morse who I think she always felt he was too closed off and too focused on his job. She seems to be all over the place with her aspirations and I can’t really hone in on what she is looking for in a relationship. She seems to not be able to either. I do believe, though, she wants more than her career.

      4. The Thursday family never made an appearance in the Inspector Morse series. Fred and his family were characters invented for the Endeavour series. I’m not sure why they didn’t use McNutt – maybe Chris has covered this?

        Not sure, but I think McNutt wasn’t in Colin Dexter’s Morse books, either. Wasn’t he invented specifically for the Masonic Mysteries Morse episode? Please correct me if I’m wrong – I haven’t read all the books yet.

        Oh, and Derrick McNutt was a British crossword compiler – surely Mr. Dexter, who also was a crossword compiler himself, would have known (at least of) him. Nice!

  30. Celine – I agree that was almost excruciatingly hackneyed writing – real hit the audience over the head stuff – oh look Jim is a sensitive new age man really – despite the last 7 series. I cannot see a man (especially one like Strange) in that era would boast about an ‘independent’ woman. He might defend her as not being ‘crumpet’ yes.

    Kathleen- agree but him wanting an ‘independent career woman’ doesn’t line up for me with the Strange in S1-7 and the Strange of the Inspector Morse series but that is neither or nor there I guess.

    I have certainly gone from expecting this will be the last series to 100% sure that S9 is to be announced on Sunday night or shortly after. As i mentioned I think the Jim/Joan storyline is part of positioning S9 very differently. Not sure how I feel about that……but i guess if it is done well ? Anyway of course all conjecture.

    1. One thing that struck me – The bomb had an alarm clock in it – so obviously a timer, but it exploded when it opened. So why the clock? Was it supposed to go off when it was opened? How did the bomber know where it would be when the the time was up? Nothing makes sense.

      1. I’ve noticed this before with bombs in fiction. They always have a timer, but they always go off when the package is opened. I don’t think writers quite understand how improvised bombs work. There’s a scene in the movie Grosse Pointe Blank where an improvised bomb in a microwave goes off when the microwave pings – why? I also notice that many writers don’t understand the difference between a revolver and an automatic pistol. Little things…

  31. Hi Chris, good to see the series reviews are back and sorry to hear about your mum. Just wanted to add the yellow Raleigh Chopper was in fact a Mk3 which wasn’t made until 2004 at the earliest. Terrible fail by the props department. It’s not like there are loads of Mk1’s out there to use. Regards, Simon.

    1. *edit* This might have been the 2nd episode – I’ve been recording them and watching when I get a chance 🙂

    2. Hello Simon and thank you for your condolences regarding my mum. Thanks about the info about the bike. I have added that info to my post.

  32. I wonder if this season will explain why Morse stayed in policing, not to mention Strange. I just mention that because they are obviously quite depressed and maybe traumatized, yet they stay for another 20 + years.

    Strange’s voice is different.

    It was kind of great to see it on YouTube, since I doubt if it will be available in my country soon. It’s likely the music they used will be replaced, it usually is because of the cost, so I was glad to catch that.

  33. Thanks Chris for all these amazing details and for having the guts to criticize. I’m not giving Evans a pass on directing, pandemic or not. Even the best of actors need direction. One reason for the boredom was wooden or mediocre performances or caricatures. I won’t mention names (Allam and Rigby???). In fact, I found it so dull that I did not care who killed whom (who?). As for the opening Who song, a quick Google search for the top British rock and roll songs in 1971 revealed that Who song as the only top of the charts song that fit. I personally would have used the Stones’ Gimme Shelter, even though that was a sixties song. It might still have been a good choice as an anti-war song. For those missing classical music, I would have gone out on a limb and chosen Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring as the opener.

  34. I’ve just seen Striker here in Australia! It’s been a year since I watched s7 and I can’t remember much about it, but read your comment about Joan giving birth in Stevenage (maybe).

    I’m afraid I can’t remember who the father might be! I only remember when she was living with the married man who beat her and she got pregnant, but I thought she deliberately fell down the stairs to have an abortion.

    Can someone please jog my memory about who the father is? Is it Morse? Did she get pregnant again after the married man?

    1. Welcome Jenny to my website. Whose comment regarding Joan giving birth? Joan has never given birth to a baby. She was pregnant but it was never established if she deliberately threw herself down the stairs or that her married boyfriend pushed her down the stairs.

      1. “Joan Thursday has returned from Stevenage (in reality she was having a baby) and is continuing with her work as a social worker.

        This was in your synopsis above. I can’t remember much about what happened in s7, and Striker is set in 1971. I thought Joan living with her married boyfriend happened a few years earlier? I could be wrong, though.

      2. Ah I see Jenny. The actress Sara Vickers had a baby not the character. Sorry for the confusion.

      3. Thanks, Chris. I thought you meant in reality in the fictional Morse universe 🙂 I’m glad I didn’t forget something important!

  35. Completely agree on the wooden acting, the unexplained weight loss of the actor playing Strange and the very subdued voice on “Fred Thursday”.

    Much less – the total lack of explanation for why Morse had not moved on to another station. I had been hoping that might refresh the series. Especially as Chief Super. Bright (who never does appear too bright) seemed to maintain his animus towards Morse, when he should have issued a grovelling apology for his completely unprofessional senior officer behaviour when advised of his wife’s murder (as it turned out).

    And what were the references to (looming) trouble in NI – in 1971 ? It had been underway since 1968 – I was in Belfast in 1969 just after the British Army entered.

  36. Sorry to be late, but I’ve only just got round to watching my recording of this episode. I found you on Google while looking for confirmation that one of the football grounds was St. Albans, which I visited in Feb 2020, for the last match I managed to attend before lockdown.

    Like you, I was thinking that Jack Swift was loosely based on George Best, though the latter’s drinking and womanising were far more extreme. But did you know that there had been a threat to kill Best in 1971, supposedly from the IRA?

    And that Best also lived in a white ‘superhouse’ like the building used for Jack Swift’s home in the episode?

    1. Thank you Tim for this very interesting piece of information. I have added the info to my review post of Striker.

  37. Just a throwaway comment – I watched this again – I unfortunately bought the series 8 DVD’s as it is not playing in US yet- but when Thursday, Endeavour and Bright are discussing football, Bright calls it soccer. Here in the US that’s what we call it but I’m just wondering if that term is now used in the UK and Europe in general.

    1. Definitely not Kathleen. It is and always will be called football here in the UK. I guess Russell was kowtowing to the American market.

      1. Not strictly true, I believe. The abbreviation ‘soccer’ or variations of was in use in the UK as early as the 1880s, and according to some accounts originated in Oxford. It didn’t fall out of wide use in the UK until the 20th century, but may still have been used by the old-fashioned, or by upper-class twits. I think what Bright is showing is that he may be a bit of both!

      2. Hi Chris. That is very interesting and a very good point about why Bright would use the word ‘soccer’ rather than football.

      3. I’m not a sports fan by any means but to me it makes more sense to call the UK version of soccer “football “as it is played with feet! 😉 whereas American football, with the exception of a field goal now and then) is not mainly played that way so that term seems incongruous with the American game. As an aside, the absolute best line in the entire episode comes at the end when Endeavour tells Thursday that he was never chosen for any sporty anyone and Thursday replies, “I chose you.” It just warmed my heart in its sincerity, especially after all their ups and downs.

    2. I have many old football annuals from the 60’s and 70’s are a fair few are titled ‘soccer’ Bobby Charlton’s Soccer Annual, George Best’s Christmas Soccer Book and The Sun ‘Soccer Stars’ are three that I can think of off the top of my head.

  38. Nobody has picked up on Dan Lofthouse who appears to be modelled on Nat Lofthouse of Bolton Wanderers. He was a well known footballer at that time. When Thursday speaks to him after This is Your Life, he recounts him playing in a game against Millwall, which was actually a Bolton Wanderers vs Millwall game

  39. Another micro-connection: Ruth Bradley (Sarah Sellars) plays Ms. Bowen in “Ted Lasso”, which is also about football.

  40. Did Morse ever smoke? It’s been so long since I read the books I can’t remember but I don’t think he ever smoked in the original. Also, seeing him maudlin and so sloppy drunk seems out of character ..flask drinking too..just doesn’t ring true. The scene between Joaniie and Morse to me seemed powerful in how few words were exchanged, but the subtleties in her facial expressions said alot. Although why he stood there so long with his neck crooked was a little weird. Sorry about your mum. Lost my mom and my uncle and aunt and its left such a empty space in my life. Best to you

    1. i dont think Morse ever smoked in the original TV series but he definitely did in the books

  41. I am interested to know why Assistant Chief Constable Bright has been demoted to Chief Superintendent, along with an awful hairstyle?

    1. I see his “awful hairstyle” as a consequence of the death of his wife. She no longer makes sure that he looks well-groomed.

      1. @Jokerin – Bright is still grieving. I think that might be why he looks disheveled. He looks smart again in the final series.

  42. The public phone with push buttons seen in the first few minutes is an anachronism. The public phones were dials in the Seventies.

  43. Ian, I have commented elsewhere that I think Bright’s hairstyle is meant to be symbolic of the enormous change he has just experienced, namely the death of Mrs Bright. He may not be as interested in his appearance as he is going through the grieving process.

    1. That could certainly be the reason Julie but a more mundane reason is that he was also filming another series, Andor, where he wore his hair long. Of course he could have wore his hair long in Andor because he was filming Endeavour around the same time.

  44. Hi Chris – I think this is my least-liked episode of the entire 9 series, for all the reasons you list, plus the whole business with the tape-recording: I can’t believe the two conspirators would leave it running whilst they discussed their plot! Also, after the match when the body is discovered and Swift has disappeared, the detectives just sit around looking dejected – Morse was supposed to be guarding Swift, you would think he would be frantic!!! I normally forgive Russell Lewis a lot, but not explaining the apparent reconciliation between Morse and Thursday, or why his transfer to Kiddlington never happened, is not easily overlooked!
    Best regards,

  45. I just watched this, probably 18 months after it was on TV. I noticed that there was a stuffed Womble on the bed in the refuge when Morse was rummaging around the room. I don’t think that Womble merchandise would have been around in 1971, I was born mid 70s and my older brothers had them but I think they only became mainstream on childrens’ TV around 1974/5.

  46. I’ve always wondered if Strange’s weight loss was written into the part
    I know he took a injury to stomach in the last episode and was it intentional you have to admit he looks pretty handsome and obviously in the end he gets the girl
    I think Sean Rigby has acted beautifully all the way through the series
    I wish had know a little more of what happened from the last season end to this season start there were a lot of loose end and wondering
    But nobody mentions how different sergeant Strange looks it would would have been the perfect time when Dr DeBryn says nice to see you back
    Thankyou again for all your research on the episodes it really is appreciated

  47. Just been watching this episode on ITVX and spotted an “Investors in People” plaque on the column beside the reception desk in the hotel. The scheme didn’t start until 1991.

    Odd episode in a number of respects.

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