Snowy Oxford countryside. Determined workmen hoist a road sign. A freezing college student looks over the quad at her lecturers. A van, outside a road stop café, is stolen. Then a stage, spotlight and a girl sings about an angry lover in a vibrant, edgy club we come to know as The Moonlight Rooms. And this is how it all ends…
Finding “big themes” in a police procedural drama isn’t easy. Somehow all these elements above interconnect into a mystery, which then dovetails into something much more personally profound for our two lead characters. Russell Lewis has explored the idea of family each week in this first series. The definitely weird, possessive Sloans in Girl, Endeavour’s solitude mirroring Thursday’s comfortable home life in Fugue, and the wealthy, self-conflicted arms dealers with the Brooms in Rocket.
All these ideas now come to rest in the explosive Home, when the shadow of Thursday’s past rises over Oxford and threatens to destroy everything for our heroes. Whilst of course we know what Morse becomes, there’s still much tragedy to be had in Endeavour by discovering how he is fated to be alone and Thursday’s innate goodness could be his undoing…
In this story, we’ll learn about the past and the future. Thursday’s time in London and why he came to Oxford. Two characters from the original Morse universe make their debut (Cherubim and Seraphim fans take note) and we’ll once more see the return of Dorothea Frazil, Dr Max DeBryn, Strange, Jakes and Bright. The line of regulars we’ve come to know so well in series one, each with their own part to play in the finale.
Shooting for Home took place in January. We were ready for the snow, but not quite so much of it! Filming had to be halted on one day, while we battled the weather for almost a week. In the end, we’re very pleased with the result the chilly landscape gives the story. It all adds to the sensation of Home, deftly crafted by returning Endeavour director Colm McCarthy. How far we’ve come since non-drinking, non-Oxford Morse in the opening of the pilot.
When I got the word from Damien Timmer @Mammothscreen, saying I’d got the job on Morse I remember the soaring joy halted abruptly by the lightning bolt of true and absolute fear – the script was beautiful, but what if we messed it up? I mean… People. Love. Morse. They love John Thaw. What on earth were we playing at? For me, it was the memory of watching the show as a kid: the key attributes were very vivid in my mind. I think we stuck with that, with a lot of love and skill from Russell. Our directors. Shaun and Roger. Colin Dexter, of course. Damien and Michele Buck. These people cared deeply. Worked incredibly hard along with the cast and crew.
So you can imagine the exhale when original fans and new viewers alike responded so positively and effusively about the new show. Thank you for viewing and thanks for letting us know what you thought (even the picky historical ones, who still seemed to mostly enjoy!) Particular moments of joy were the blessings from people personally connected to the original, including Sheila Hancock, Dominic Minghella (brother of Anthony, who dramatised the very first TV Morse) and of course Abigail.
So that’s me signing off… #pourswhiskey … My thanks to the Radio Times for their support from the first read-through to the last broadcast … #turnsupopera … And take care… particularly when in Oxford… #putsfeetondesk.
Follow Dan on Twitter @danmcculloch