Exclusive: the making of the new series of Endeavour

As filming begins in Oxford this week on a new four-part run of the Inspector Morse prequel, producer Dan McCulloch tells us what's in store

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Exclusive: the making of the new series of Endeavour
Written By
Dan McCulloch

Millions of you watched, thousands of you voted at RadioTimes.com to see more and here we are. More Endeavour. Four films. Four more directors. Many new guest actors and 92 days of filming. A rolling crew of over of a 100 working over a packed schedule. Russell Lewis has set the bar so high with his scripts that we all have to work extra hard to deliver films that match them.

It was a blink of eye since the first Endeavour met the world on January 2nd 2012. And now – nine months later - I’m on set again. Lots of new faces but many familiar ones who made it back to the show. It’s day one of filming, first up is scene 64 “Thursday tells Endeavour…”, the superb Shaun Evans and indomitable Roger Allam reprising their roles as Detective Constable Endeavour Morse and Detective Inspector Fred Thursday. In Endeavour time it’s only been weeks since Morse has decided to settle in Oxford working for Thursday at Cowley Police Station.

And they won’t be alone… you’ll be seeing more Max DeBryn (James Bradshaw) and Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil and we'll be introducing Constable Strange played by Sean Rigby – a character originally played by James Grout, when Chief Superintendent Strange was the original Morse’s boss… We also introduce two new Russell Lewis creations at the Police Station: Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Bright and Jack Laskey as Detective Sergeant Jakes.

Whilst it’s good to be back with Morse and Thursday as they crack their first new case,  it won’t always be plain sailing. For our hero Endeavour will struggle with life at the police station and Thursday won’t always be around to get him out of a tight spot. Life is complicated for the 20-something starting out, his formative years peppered with the toughest challenges in work and in life.

Each Endeavour is ambitious, the first has over 75 sets and 43 locations (that’s in 23 days remember - the location manager and production designer haven’t shaved in a while!) As in the old days of Morse, we rarely travel back to the same place twice. The new challenge: how to deliver 1960s Oxford with more scale than before.

Filming is pretty fluid and beset with the usual challenges. From shooting mist on the water to getting a two-year-old toddler not to cry for his REAL mummy just sitting off screen, there’s a new challenge nearly every day. What’s amazing is how focused Shaun Evans remains despite all this. He's a consummate performer and I’m hugely looking forward to see how he develops his character through all our films.

Read Endeavour writer Russell Lewis's thoughts on the new series here

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