Mammoth Screen to make Morse prequel, Endeavour

Endeavour will star Shaun Evans in the lead role of Endeavour Morse while the drama is to be written by Russell Lewis who created Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis.

The single film will be shot in Oxford this autumn and will air early next year. Shaun Evans will play the young Morse, who was of course forever to be identified with John Thaw who played the inspector across thirteen years.

Evans commented: “Morse as a young man is a wonderful character that I’m very excited to be playing. My hope is that we can compliment what’s come before, by telling a great story, and telling it well.”

Originally produced for Central Television, the Midland ITV company, Inspector Morse was first aired in 1987. This new one-off special will mark the 25th anniversary of that initial broadcast which lead to over 30 episodes being made.

Inspector Morse was devised as a series of novels by Colin before the two-hour long dramas were commissioned by Central for ITV. The crime drama became an instant hit with viewers who followed Morse through solving the crimes while entertaining his love of crosswords, classical music, real ale and classic cars.

Laura, Director of ITV Drama, said: “Inspector Morse was a television institution and nearly 14 million people tuned in to watch the final episode in 2000 when Colin Dexter’s eponymous hero died from a heart attack. Endeavour is a beautifully written story that not only provides many nods to Morse’s unique character traits for fans but re-unites many of the team behind the original series.”

The prequel is set in 1965, the story follows the hunt for a missing schoolgirl which draws Endeavour Morse back to the place which will ultimately shape and define his destiny – Oxford.

Deep in a full-blown murder investigation and led by Detective Inspector Fred Thursday, Endeavour finds himself side-lined, discredited and at a dead end. Facing down the demons of his past, Endeavour begins his own quest in pursuit of justice, risking all in the hunt for a truth that will haunt him for the rest of his days.

Endeavour is to be over seen by former Central drama executive Michele Buck and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen who are producing the one-off with Masterpiece Productions. Rebecca Eaton is Executive Producer for Masterpiece. Lewis began production in 2005, starring Morse’s old side-kick Robert Lewis played by Kevin Whately.