Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Endeavour: Girl - ITV review

If Broadchurch has, as I said in my last post, underlined the continuing appeal of the whodunit, then Endeavour does not only that but also highlights the seemingly endless potential of Inspector Morse spin-offs. I enjoyed the pilot episode when it was screened, and the first episode of the first full series, Girl, was a high quality murder mystery.

A great deal of credit has to go to Russell Lewis, the writer, who has taken the essence of the original series,and the character as played by John Thaw, and given us a very appealing prequel set in the sixties. The plot of Girl was clever and the revelation of the culprit's identity took me completely by surprise. Pleasurable surprise, I must add. As I said yesterday, it is good to be fooled fairly, and I thought Russell Lewis paced the plot twists perfectly. There was even a neat little code which provided a crucial clue to that person's name. Colin Dexter would have been well pleased, I think.

The acting, too, is very good. Shaun Evans catches the young Morse's bolshie but vulnerable personality, and Roger Allam, as DI Thursday, is humane and believable. Some comic relief is offered by Anton Lesser's prissy disdain for the young cop. Sophie Stuckey, playng a suspect with epilepsy whom Morse fancies, handled the tricky role of the girl of the title very well.

Setting counts for a great deal in so many TV crime shows,and of course the Morse franchise has the inestimable advantage of being set in one of the most photogenic of cities. I wonder sometimes if people who are less keen on Oxford than I am may get bored with the endless flow of cop shows set there, but all the signs are that demand for those shows is as strong as ever. Yes, the broadcasters are playing it safe, and that's why a less conventional series like Broadchurch is so welcome. But if subsequent screenplays are as sharp as this one was, there is a good chance that Endeavour will run and run.

12 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I've seen the pilot for this show and really enjoyed it and the different perspective it gave of Morse. Glad the next in the series is just as good and looking forward to viewing it on our PBS station here. :)

Sarah said...

I thought the plot excellent too Martin and the acting was very good. I'm looking forward to seeing this series. I'm so hopeless with the TV that I forget when things are on. I hope to catch up with Broadchurch and the Arne Dahl series sometime.

Fiona said...

We enjoyed it very much. We hadn't seen Morse before the pilot for Endeavour was shown; we watched and enjoyed that and started catching up with Morse through DVDs. One day we might even start watching Lewis... :)

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I enjoyed Endeavour very much and hope for more to come. I'm not at all bored with cop shows in Oxford, but it is a most dangerous fictional place. I've noticed that the murder rate in the Lake District is getting dangerously high too :) and that's not boring either.

Broadchurch is also excellent.

Martin Edwards said...

Many thanks for these comments.
Sarah, I think you'll enjoy Broadchurch - I don't know anyone who hasn't liked it. Arne Dahl provokes slightly mixed reactions.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Margaret. Rest assured, I am far from bored with the Lakes!! I'm pleased I chose a setting with so much potential. By the way, I once set a short story in Oxford!

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I am glad! And the Lakes do cover a larger geographical area than Oxford (I think!)

Is your Oxford short story in your Short Story collection?

Martin Edwards said...

Yes, it's a historical and it's called 'The Mind of the Master'.

Anonymous said...

I thought Endeavour caught the period feel very well without shouting 'look how well we can do the past!' from the rooftops - one of the most irritating things about most period TV. Especially enjoyed the wonderful acting of the young actors playing pathologist Max (great body language. Very clever) and the later James Grout part ('hello matey'....when we heard this we, as a family cheered!) More please. Liz Gilbey

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Liz, good to hear from you as always. I enjoyed Fugue tonight, and you're right about the James Grout role. I did like him in the original shows.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Martin. James Grout was always a favourite of mine. A wonderful actor. If you ever get the chance to see him in the Kinglsey Amis TV series The Old Devils, do. He plays the elderly love lorn central character, and is just wonderful in a very strong oldies cast which included Ray Smith in his last role, John Stride and Bernard Hepton.
Have just checked on the cast list, and Max is played by James Bradshaw, and Jim Strange by Sean Petty. Two young actors to watch. Fugue was magnificent TV - the series gets better and better, and should (hopefully) run and run. A special mention also for one of my favourite actors, Roger Allam as Fred Thursday. Roger was the original Javert in Les Miserables (trained as an opera singer before he became an actor) and was the best Duke I have ever seen in Measure For Measure. He also played the detective in the superb detective musical City Of Angels. I am becoming A theatre geek here, so shall now stop! Liz Gilbey

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Liz, I am really impressed with Allam as Fred Thursday. Like Hathaway, a very good original character to add to Dexter's great creations.