Actor Shaun Evans is reflective as ITV announced that the final series of Endeavour will begin on February 26 with three new films to enjoy.
“What we wanted to do was to end Endeavour in a way that was fitting to all of the enormous work we had put into it over the last 10 years and also to all of the huge support we have had every year from the audience,” Shaun says. Read Shaun’s interview here
“We put off this awful day for as long as we possibly could, but agreed that it was time to prepare for the final end, and go out on a high!”
“To not leave anybody feeling short changed. To leave people feeling emotionally satisfied. It’s also a thank you, in a way. To say, ‘Thank you so much for sticking with this over the past number of years.’ To honour and respect that.” READ ABOUT THE FINAL SCENES FILMED AT Blenheim Palace HERE
Shaun is however expansive about the new series, what to expect and the sadness of filming the last series. “Our story is at its end,” he says, “but it’s important because we all wanted for not just this ninth season but the whole series to feel as cohesive as possible.”
And what an exciting series they have in store! “Thursday, Morse and others are in real danger in this series. There is a lot of tension,” Roger Allam admits.
The final instalment has once again been written by Endeavour creator Russell Lewis and the new series is set in the early 70s.
“From the first Endeavour pilot Russell has known exactly where he wanted to end the saga of Endeavour Morse and Fred Thursday,” Mammoth production company founder Damien Timmer says. “We put off this awful day for as long as we possibly could, but there was a point a few years ago where we agreed as a creative team that it was time to prepare for the final end, and go out on a high!”
Shaun Evans will reprise the title role of DS Endeavour Morse and also directs the first of the new films titled Prelude.
Alongside Evans, Roger Allam returns as DCI Fred Thursday, alongside Anton Lesser as CS Reginald Bright, Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange, James Bradshaw as Dr Max DeBryn, Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil, Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday and Sara Vickers as Joan Thursday.
Thursday’s son Sam, played by Jack Bannon (Pennyworth), also arrives back from Northern Ireland following his service in the British Army, with a bad drinking problem which causes the Thursday family endless concern.
Roger Allam explains: “All of Thursday’s focus goes on Sam because of the worry about him. Endeavour seems sorted and it appears he has got his drinking under control. Whereas Sam is knocking drink back like anything. It’s not so much that there isn’t also room for Endeavour, because there was in the past. But all of Fred’s focus is on Sam.”
But of course all of this is a backdrop for the plot itself. In the opening film Prelude it’s spring 1972. Two unexplained deaths seem to lead to the Oxford Concert Orchestra, while a body discovered in a derelict warehouse stokes fears that ‘London business’ involving the criminal underworld has again found its way to Oxford. Thursday and Endeavour’s investigation unearths some unsettling connections to cases the duo believed were well and truly behind them.
In the second episode UNIFORM, Endeavour suspects a connection between a woman’s disappearance and her past employer but another missing persons case demands his attention. This time, it’s a notable artist, whose work adorns the covers of a series of paperback mysteries.
Meanwhile, reports flood in of stolen cars and wanton criminal damage, as a debauched group of university undergraduates wreak havoc. A murder of a uniformed copper sees Bright command all hands on deck, while, much to Endeavour and Thursday’s chagrin the cast of television detective series, Jolly For Short, are in town filming the final series.
“It was important that all of the main characters get their farewell moments”
In the final film EXEUNT, Endeavour’s investigation into a number of untimely death notices in the local newspaper, each with a cryptic message, takes him to a series of funerals, then behind the curtain at a funeral directors’, before forcing him to confront his own mortality.
A past investigation focused on former boys’ home Blenheim Vale also returns to the fore in the new series, as do some old faces. “There were an awful lot of strands to that story and certain things never got solved,” Roger Allam says.
“We wanted there to be an end. A point where Endeavour can move off into John Thaw’s Inspector Morse. It felt the right time”
“There have also been stories in previous Endeavour series of struggles between different gangsters which saw the death of young DC George Fancy at the end of series five when he was caught up in crossfire.”
All will be revealed as the first Endeavour episode hits our screens Endeavour, Sunday February 26 at 8pm, ITV1. A bitter sweet moment then? “It was important that all of the main characters get their farewell moments. It reflects the democratic way we have worked. We have all been together from the beginning and everyone’s work is valid and equal. It’s important for everyone,” Shaun agrees.
Timmer adds: “As Endeavour draws to a close, it’s been an honour to be a part of this incredible journey. I’m so proud of the remarkable cast and crew who have dedicated their time and efforts to bring the series to life over the last decade, and I’m certain that the fans will be moved by the final instalment.
“It’s a massive accomplishment for screenwriter Russell Lewis to have written all 72 hours of the show, and his passion for Colin Dexter’s world, combined with his own boundless creativity and fondness for the 1960s and 1970s, has made Endeavour one of the most beloved series on British television.
“as the audience will discover, there is something about Thursday that Endeavour will, indeed, take to his grave”
Roger Allam concludes: “We wanted there to be an end. A point where Endeavour can move off into John Thaw’s Inspector Morse. It felt the right time. We had done plenty of films. From my point of view I also wanted something that had emotional heft that gave a good reason why Morse never mentioned Thursday in the later John Thaw years. Which I think we do satisfactorily in this. I think we covered all of those bases very well.”
“And, as the audience will discover, there is something about Thursday that Endeavour will, indeed, take to his grave.”
Following the transmission of the final Endeavour film, ITV1 will broadcast a special one-off documentary, Morse & the Final Endeavour, featuring behind the scenes interviews with all the main cast members who discuss the huge global appeal of this iconic Oxford detective who is celebrated the world over.
Endeavour, Sunday February 26 at 8pm, ITV1.
Read our interviews with Shaun Evans and Roger Allam on the final series of Endeavour at oxinabox.co.uk