Endeavour: exclusive guide to episode one – Girl

Producer Dan McCulloch tells us what young Morse can expect from the opening case of the new series

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This week, as I’ve been putting the finishing touches to the final story in this series of Endeavour, I’ve been struck by a thought. Here I am sitting on four enormous new cases for DC Morse and you’ve yet to see the first one! What a strange and exciting position for me to be in.  So I thought that it would only be fair to whet your appetite for what lies ahead and offer some clues as to what to expect from tonight’s opening episode.

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It’s in ‘Girl’ that we find Endeavour going full time at Oxford City police station and it’s by no means a parochial, run-of-the-mill job. From the off, we see that Morse struggles with the system. He’s a brilliant detective but a poor policeman and that’s where the conflict with his colleagues lies. Intellectually, he’s fierce but this doesn’t seem to impress either his boss Chief Superintendent Bright or the sarcastic DS Peter Jakes.

We also introduce PC Jim Strange, the man who – as Morse fans know – ended up as John Thaw’s boss in the original series. It’s a really beautiful twist of fate from writer Russell Lewis that Morse starts out as Strange’s superior. People don’t always rise through the ranks for the right reasons and I believe that we enjoy the character of Endeavour all the more for unwittingly finding the pitfalls in station politics.

Amid these obstacles, we also get a real sense of what it was like to be alive in 1965. The storyline is unflinching despite the 8pm timeslot as we don’t hide behind the comfy ideal of law enforcement at that time. And we don’t shy away from the realities of blue-collar police life – the thoughts, actions and observations of these elaborate one-of-a-kind characters will keep you glued. They don’t make ’em like Anton Lesser’s brilliant Chief Supt Bright anymore.

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In the early creative talks we were fixated on the ambition to be bold with Endeavour and do something different in every single film. The result is epic stuff and Russell is really breaking the mould on what to expect from a Sunday night murder mystery. Next week, we have a dark, race-against-time film about an unparalleled Oxford killer! So join me back here in seven days’ time to find out more…