ITV series Endeavour has long been popular with drama fans, but writer Russell Lewis left many of the show’s ardent followers in shock at the end of series five with the death of George Fancy (played by Lewis Peek) who was the unlucky victim of gang warfare.
We’ve had to wait the best part of a year for series six, but with new episodes imminent, here is all you need to know about the return of Shaun Evans’ Endeavour Morse – with a few contributions from the cast and crew after we spoke to them on the set of series six.
When does Endeavour series six start on TV in the UK?
There’s not long to wait – ITV has confirmed the new series of Endeavour will begin airing on Sunday 10th February at 8pm.
When does Endeavour series six start on TV in the US and Australia?
Endeavour traditionally airs on PBS Masterpiece in the US and ABC in Australia – air dates for season six have yet to be confirmed.
How many episodes are in Endeavour series six?
2018 delivered six episodes of Endeavour, but for the 2019 series ITV has dropped the number back down to four films.
“I think six was quite tiring for everybody,” producer Deanne Cunningham told RadioTimes.com.
“This is a 20 week shoot, and if you do six it’s a 30-week shoot, and that is a long old time to be getting up at half 5 in the morning and working 14-hour days.
“And also Endeavour is obviously very unusual in that Russ Lewis writes every word of every single episode. So that is also a huge undertaking. I think everyone is quite glad we’re only doing four this year instead of six.”
What happened at the end of Endeavour series five?
The tragic murder of George Fancy was one of many dramatic twists in the final episode. The young copper – who was introduced at the start of the series – was gunned down in a shock killing, before Cowley police station was shuttered and the team all headed off to separate postings.
“Everyone’s gone their separate ways and seemingly we won’t all be together again,” Evans told RadioTimes.com from the set of series six.
“Strange is in a different place from where we last saw him. Thursday’s in a very different place, as is Bright. I’m in the countryside in my own little station, back in uniform.
“So everyone’s sort of had very different life circumstances from where we last saw them.”
There were some major changes for some of the drama’s main characters – WPC Trewlove (played by Dakota Blue Richards) set out for pastures new, with executive producer Damien Timmer confirming to RadioTimes.com that the character has departed the series. Meanwhile, Roger Allam’s DCI Fred Thursday was forced to put off the retirement that loomed for much of series five after losing his life savings to his brother.
Suffice to say, there’s plenty to catch up on when the series returns.
What will happen in the new series of Endeavour?
A glance at the any pictures from Endeavour series six reveals at least one major change for the new series – you don’t have to be eagle-eyed to spot Shaun Evans’ significant facial furniture.
“It warms your top lip, if nothing else,” Evans told RadioTimes.com of the ‘Morse-tache’. “It was Russ’ idea, not mine, and I was more than happy to oblige.”
Naturally, DC Fancy’s death looms over the characters as Thursday adjusts to working with new boss DI Ronnie Box (Simon Harrison) and junior DS Alan Jago (Richard Riddell). Meanwhile, Thursday’s daughter Joan (whom Endeavour is in love with) is training to work in social services in Oxford under the mentorship of new boss Viv Wall (Alison Newman).
While on set, series lead Shaun Evans gave us a quick guide to each of the stories this year, which take in a variety of settings and characters. Starting with…
Episode 1 – Pylon
“There’s a girl goes missing and it’s repetitive for a case where a girl has gone missing three years before,” Evans said.
“And I think there’s a connection, although nobody else does. When will they learn?”
Episode 2 – Apollo
“The second one’s really fun actually,” Evans said of episode two, which he directed.
“It’s about the Moon Landing in 69, and this group of people in a sort of New Age centre. So it’s got a very particular, not tongue-in-cheek exactly, but very particular sort of humorous attitude to it.”
“Obviously ’69 was the moon landings, so film 2, which is Shaun’s episode, is looking at that, tying into that and what that means for mankind and Endeavour,” producer Deanne Cunningham said.
“It was the first thing I’d directed that I was in,” Evans continued.
“So that brought with it its own challenges, but made it quite economical and efficient as well.”
Episode 3 – Confection
“The third one is at a chocolate factory, where everything looks perfect on the surface but if you dig underneath then it’s all kind of cankerous at its heart,” Evans told us.
“It’s set at Chigton Green, which is this sort of picture perfect village just outside Oxford,” added Cunningham.
“Is it as picture-perfect as it seems, or is there something darker lurking underneath the roses and the bunting?”
Episode 4 -Degüello
“Film four is, I think, a terrific story,” Evans told RadioTimes.com.
“You have the collapse of a building. Within the foundations of a building we found a body which has been there for a year, which has a connection to a body that we find at the beginning of the story. So we know that they’re connected.
“It’s a great way to round it up, I think. And it’s a great way to pay off the characters that we’ve introduced this season, and also bring us all back together as well by the end of it.”
Who is in the cast of Endeavour?
Shaun Evans is, of course, back as Endeavour Morse, along with Allam as Thursday. Evans will also direct an episode in the upcoming series.
Anton Lesser plays PCS Reginald Bright (pictured), Sean Rigby is DS Jim Strange, James Bradshaw is Dr Max DeBryn and Sara Vickers is Joan Thursday. The main cast are rounded out by Abigail Thaw (daughter of Morse legend John) as Dorothea Frazil and Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday.
Newcomers to the main cast this year include Simon Harrison as DCI Box and Richard Riddell as DS Jago, while former series regular WPC Trewlove – played by Dakota Blue Richards – has been confirmed to depart the series following the events of series five.
There are also a host of guest stars joining series six, including Sophie Winkleman (Peep Show), Blake Ritson (Indian Summers), Matthew Cottle (Unforgotten), Oliver Chris (King Charles III), Sargon Yelda (Strike), Alice Orr-Ewing (A Very English Scandal) and Ross Boatman (Mum).
Where is the new series filmed?
As usual, Endeavour is filmed in and around the city of Oxford, particularly its historic city centre around the Bodleian library and its surrounding buildings (little has changed there since the 1960s, making it a good location for a period drama.
This year, there’s also a new police station where several of the characters work, which in real life in the English and Law Faculty Library, aka the St Cross building. The interiors are built in a studio.
“There’s a whole new modernist police station,” set designer Paul Cripps told RadioTimes.com. “It’s quite a different look from the old Oxford City police.
“So we built that set and then we found an exterior which is the Oxford English and Law library, the St Cross building. So we’ve been using that as an exterior and I’ve built interiors to match in the studio.”
Where can I watch the first five series of Endeavour online?
Series one of Endeavour is currently available on the ITV Hub. You can also purchase episodes from the drama’s full run through Amazon Prime Video.
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