The new series of ITV detective drama Endeavour brings all sorts of changes for Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans), though happily one key part of the show remains the same: the picturesque filming locations in and around Oxford, the series’ home since its inception.
This year, though, there have been some changes to the ITV drama’s prime locations, with the regularly-used Cowley police station – with exteriors actually filmed in Enfield during the first five series of the drama – scrapped in favour of a new building in the new series.
“In the series, the 1970s is approaching,” set designer Paul Cripps told RadioTimes.com on the set of the new series (which is set in 1969 and includes the Moon Landing as a plot point in one episode).
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“Because we were moving from Oxford City Police it was a really good chance to move the series on in terms of the feel that we’re approaching a whole new era.
“So I built a whole new modernist police station.”
The interiors of the new station, as in previous years, were built in studio spaces, but its distinctive exteriors – including the long walk of stone steps that Morse climbs in various episodes, including the above clip – were shot at the St Cross building in Oxford, which in real life functions as the faculty library (and lecture space) for the English and Law Faculties at the University of Oxford.
“We’ve been using that as an exterior and I’ve built interiors to match in the studio,” Cripps said.
Still, the changing waves of history don’t mean the series will be entirely moving away from the distinctive classic architecture of Oxford.
Oxford’s iconic Bridge of Sighs – based on a Venetian bridge of the same name, which connects two parts of Hertford college over New Cross lane – features prominently in a couple of episodes this year, as do the interiors of various university colleges including Magdalen College, Keble College and St Edmund’s Hall (colloquially known as Teddy Hall). St Edmund’s Hall was also the site of filming for the series’ fourth episode when RadioTimes.com visited the set.
“I was trying to get that slightly sour 70s feel into the series, while still keeping that kind of beautiful Oxford feeling,” Cripps explained.
“We’ve still got sets where it still has that classic feel, but occasionally we’ve tried to bring in a much more modern feel.”
Other familiar Oxford locations this year include the Alternative Tuck Shop – a sandwich shop on Holywell street near Wadham and New College with a vintage aesthetic – as well as exteriors of the Radcliffe Camera building that houses part of the Bodleian library, the city’s most famous architectural feature.
As usual, Endeavour series six films a great deal of outdoor scenes around the Camera’s immediate environs (particularly Radcliffe Square), thanks to the area’s relatively unchanged appearance since the time of Endeavour’s 1969 setting.
And if you’re watching closely enough you might begin to question why quite so many chases, fist fights and other police business seems to take place right next to Oxford’s premiere tourist attraction…
Endeavour season six is repeated on Sundays at 9/8c on PBS Masterpiece in the US
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.
This article was originally published in February 2019