Roger Allam talks Endeavour Series V

Endeavour returns with a new six-part series. The first episode airs on Sunday 4 February at 8pm on ITV.

Set in 1968, the new series of ITV’s Inspector Morse prequel sees acclaimed actor Shaun Evans return as the recently promoted Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse.

With each film once again written by series creator Russell Lewis, the new series begins with Morse having finally passed his Sergeant’s exams just as Oxford City Police merges into Thames Valley Constabulary creating uncertainty for everyone at Cowley CID. And despite Joan Thursday return to Oxford, much also remains unresolved following her disappearance the previous year and Endeavour’s unexpected proposal.

Russell Lewis says: “Many of the global tensions of that most turbulent year, 1968, have found their way into our six new Endeavour mysteries. 1967’s Summer of Love seems already a distant memory. Dark clouds are gathering at home and abroad as, after almost 100 years, the long history of Oxford City Police comes to an end. A terrible storm is set to blow through the professional and personal lives of newly promoted Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse and Oxford’s finest, leaving devastation in its wake.”

Also returning will be Roger Allam as Detective Chief Inspector Fred Thursday, Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright, Dakota Blue Richards as WPC Shirley Trewlove, Sean Rigby as Sergeant Jim Strange, James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn, Caroline O’Neil as Win Thursday and Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil.

The series also sees the arrival of new recruit Detective Constable George Fancy, played by Lewis Peek, whom Morse is reluctantly tasked with mentoring. Other names who guest star in the upcoming series include Donald Sumpter, Phil Daniels, Emma Rigby, Steve Elder and Robin Weaver.

Interview with Roger Allam

Is there an element of endings and new horizons in this series?

“Yes, I think so. Certainly the police story is about the possible imminent closure of Oxford City Police and the amalgamation into Thames Valley. The threat of the team breaking up. While Morse and Thursday have the same relationship, they are not together as much as they used to be.

Also with Thursday’s daughter Joan returning, relations are not back to normal between her and Thursday because she is establishing her independence, and his son Sam is away in the Army. There’s a feeling that what used to be the case, that the Thursday household was this warm family – that’s now breaking apart as well and changing.”

Is Thursday making plans for his own future?

“Thursday is very resistant to the prospect of being kicked upstairs and doing a desk job when Oxford City Police is amalgamated. That’s not what attracted him about the job. So retirement is imminent and Win is certainly making plans for when that day comes.

There’s an increasing sense in this series – as I think happens with every generation – that there comes a point in your life where suddenly things seem to have moved on and the world has become a different place to the one you understood when you were a young adult.

In Fred’s case, the whole thing of getting through the war and building a new life in Britain afterwards now seems to be being questioned and under threat. I guess that would be something he might not quite understand.

What’s represented also with his relationship with his daughter Joan is that things change. They don’t stay the same.

Rather like has happened in my generation with the internet, computers, social media and things like that. Technology has moved so fast now that even if you can stagger around the internet like I do and manage, use emails and whatever, it’s already superseded by loads of other things I don’t particularly understand or see the need for.

Fred would be feeling the same about how life is changing in the 1960s. Oxford City Police is a smaller outfit, more like a village than a big corporation that Thames Valley Police would become. Oxford City Police feels like somewhere, to quote another television programme, where everyone knows your name. Now that appears to be coming to an end.”

Thursday encounters the face of fascism in one of the films. Why does that make him so angry?

“There were a lot of people in Britain in the 1930s – a lot of upper class people – who supported Hitler either tacitly or more openly. They saw communism as the enemy. Then Fred experienced the Second World War and lost some six years of his life fighting that war with millions upon millions of deaths.

The anger he has in 1968 is that people he regarded as traitors, like one of the characters he encounters in this new series, got away with it.”

Morse and Thursday are involved in a fire. How was that to film?

“I was running around in a building full of smoke. It’s quite technical and gets broken up into various little sequences. We used two different buildings in very different locations. One for the interior and one for the exterior. So the way you get to film it is very broken up.”

We meet Thursday’s middle brother Charlie, played by Phil Daniels. Had you worked with Phil before?

“I had worked with Phil Daniels before. About 30 years ago at the Royal Shakespeare Company. We were neighbours in Stratford-upon-Avon and then for a while we were neighbours in London.

I’ve seen him on and off since then, but it was very nice to see him and work with him again. That’s one of the nice things about this job – you can meet people years later and just pick up where you left off.”

We see Fred and Win on the dance floor this series. How are your ballroom dancing skills?

“You only meet them briefly, I’m happy to say. I think otherwise we’d still be rehearsing it. My ballroom dancing skills are completely non-existent. I’ve been choreographed in various musicals before. So I’m not completely two left feet. But I’d never done ballroom dancing before. The writer Russell Lewis seemed very keen on those scenes.”

An Oxford cinema is central to one of the new films. Can you remember the first time you visited a cinema?

“It would have been in the East End of London. Something like Carry On Sergeant. One of the early, more innocent, Carry On films. What I remember – and what you don’t often get now – is an absolutely packed cinema of people laughing. That’s how I remember it.”

Are there parallels between some of the events in 1968 and today?

“There are always historical reminders in Endeavour. Our writer Russell Lewis has been very clever about the way he’s done that as we’ve gone through the sixties. The World Cup, Summer of Love, all that sort of thing.

The new series includes protests over immigration, increasing racial tensions, the influx of the Kenyan Asians. We also have a black criminal gang moving in on white criminal territory.”

Some fans are fascinated by the different contents of the sandwiches Win makesevery day for Thursday to take to work. Did that come as a surprise to the cast?

“It’s lovely that people enjoy that. Thursday’s sandwiches are one of those little continuity things people love. It’s just one of the aspects that marks the series out as somewhat different to Inspector Morse, Lewis or a lot of other police and crime shows.

In that there are a fair amount of regular characters who we get to know independent of the police inquiry taking place in any one film. There are Thursday family stories and Morse’s involvement with them that are not to do with the whodunit element.”

trailer 1 || trailer 2 || clip 1 || clip 2 || gallery: promo pics and behind the scenes || itv press pack || watch Roger Allam’s interview on ITV Lorraine

10 thoughts on “Roger Allam talks Endeavour Series V

  1. Briefly the best series of any Morse stories. Superb acting and all the cast are so believable ,and authentic, from the young lady constable and the other bluff sergeant,who I thought was going to bully Morse, but didn’t in the end. The charming pathologist and the prickly Chief constable. When he said to Morse he would be ‘returning to genaral duties’ I could happily have knifed him at that point.!! I love your Domestic set up and look forward to seeing Win get a dance and some fun for a change, shes been through so much. As for Joan ‘Marry me’ says Morse, wow so what was stopping her come on? This is the first evr Fan letter I have ever written and I am in the age generation above yours Mr Allam but only just found this web site and just had to say what I felt about this superbly acted series. One thing though, now Morse is a Sergeant could he have a better bedsit. I lived in one in Liverpool in the sixties but it was clean,, carpeted, and nicely decorated, and poor Morse looks to be in near penury in his, after all if he’s to have somthing of a love life well I ask you? Thats all, Sunday nights will be a joy again from the 4th of February. Thanks again to the whole cast.
    Mrs Patricia Griffiths.

  2. I adore Roger Allam. He is so perfect in this role and totally fascinating. Handsome, classy, gorgeous voice, so expressive without saying anything. I cannot wait for Season 5. Endeavour is absolutely and without a doubt my favorite program of all time, ever! Everything about it is marvelous. The ensemble is perfectly cast, the production values, the costumes and set design, the cinematography–it is a real work of art. I think the values it honors and the humanity it celebrates are inspiring. However, it would not work without Roger. Everyone loves Shaun, and deservedly so, but it only works with both of them, perfect chemistry and casting make these wonderful stories so riveting.
    I am sure the work is arduous, but hope very much that you will stay with Endeavour for some time to come.
    Thank you.

    1. I so agree with the duo of Roger and Shaun, our favorite show on PBS. We wait with anticipation…we have not yet been able to get Season Four and thank you for going to Season Five! Roger, you are magical!

  3. I always enjoyed Morse, 2 hours of intrigue and the great John Thaw. Lewis was a good follow up. However Endeavour has been stupendous. The best Police based drama ever.Faboulus cast, great story lines and a wonderful production showing of the wonders of Oxford. . Each episode deserves an Oscar or a Bafta never mind the series. Sean and Roger are a great partnership and long may it continue!

  4. Hi Roger, just like to say how much I’ve been looking forward to this new series.
    All round great acting, storylines, characters especially the chemistry between yourself and Shaun. Endeavour stands out like a beacon amongst the drivel put out by the other stations that passes for “Entertainment” these days (Sorry about the rant!) Bit perturbed to read you won’t be together with Morse as much though…

  5. Will never forget your kindness many years ago, when you and Desmond Barrit gave us your time and expertise in answering questions about Shakespeare, when we were a fledgling Open University Shakespeare Society. Have enjoyed watching your career progress, ever since. Endeavour is a gem.

  6. When Fred takes his hat off to sort out the two London plain clothes men, after they beat up Morse having mistaken him for someone else is one of the great moments of film.

    That we didn’t see any of the ensuing hat off action, makes it even more powerful.

    Roger briliantly portrays a bloke who’s been through a lot in the war, doesn’t want to make a fuss (absolutely alien to him), yet sees so much of the world that he fought for changing before his eyes.

    I am so looking forward to seeing how he navigates the merger of his force with the others in Oxford – doubtless Mr. Bright will survive, but I’m worried about Fred.

    If Fred ever visits the Southampton on Highgate Road, I’d buy him a pint.

  7. Just watched the last episode last night of Endeavor and the sad break up of the cowley street station. What a marvellous episode again and I was so sad afterwards. Why did the writers have to do this as it isn’t after all ‘real life’ and they could have gone on there forever. Hats off anyway to the whole cast , superbe acting all round and the whole cast are worthy of some award somewhere surely. Mr Bright also excelled himself and when he and truelove said goodbye it was very emotional. As for Morse and Thursday please let us see them continue as a team as it beats all the other Detective shows on T V in every way. How long we have to wait now is killing, but once again.Bravo, Bravo, Bravo.and thankyou . Patricia.

  8. Farewell to Cowley,
    Retirement deferred –
    Endeavour’s staunch friend and
    Unafraid to use fists
    Doting husband, fond father
    And now family man.
    You’re going to be tested – not rested!

    Congratulations to all on another fine series!

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