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Colin Dexter enjoys posthumous appearance in new Endeavour series

By: stagedoorscribbler - February 11, 2019

The late Colin Dexter. Photograph by Hattie Miles

It is heartwarming to see that nearly two years after his death, Colin Dexter was still afforded a sort of posthumous cameo in the opening episode of the new series of Endeavour. 

The author who wrote the original Inspector Morse novels made regular blink-or-you’ll-miss-it Hitchcockian style appearances in the spin-off Tv series until shortly before he died in March 2017.

Sharp-eyed viewers will have noted that the convention still stands with the name C. Dexter and a head and shoulders photo appearing fleetingly on a poster towards the end of last night’s programme. Colin would be delighted and I suspect he would approve of the direction in which young Morse is being taken.

We are now in 1969 and Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) is a good way into the journey that will turn him into the grumpy, crossword-solving, opera-loving, poetry-reciting, real-ale and whisky drinking detective of the 1990s.

After the murder of young PC George Fancy in the last series, Morse has been made a uniformed sergeant and sent out to the Oxfordshire sticks. His mentor Fred Thursday has been busted down a rank and assigned to a thuggish DCI called Ronnie Box and poor old Superintendent Bright has been banished to Traffic Division and forced to appear in road safety adverts alongside a pelican.

It’s not a happy situation but when Morse finds the body of a missing schoolgirl, the team are soon well on the way to being reunited.

Inevitably perhaps Morse’s classical and art education helps solve the case and his detective status is reinstated.

Colin Dexter was of course a regular and popular speaker with Clive Conway Productions. He once told me that when the original Inspector Morse series was commissioned by ITV and John Thaw was cast in the title  role,  he saw it as a kind of televisual antidote to Thaw’s earlier cop series like The Sweeney and Minder. Inspector Morse, he insisted, should not become filled with car chases. 

Given the teeny Panda car that Morse was given last night, car chases remain the remotest of possibilities. And of course we all know that by the time he eventually gets his famed Mark 2 Jag he’ll be far too proud of it to contemplate burning any rubber in pursuit of Oxford's ne'er do wells.