The eighth instalment of “Endeavour” dropped on BritBox recently with Roger Allam (Detective Chief Inspector Fred Thursday) once again joining co-stars Shaun Evans (Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse), Anton Lesser (Police Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright), James Bradshaw (Dr Max DeBryn), Abigail Thaw (Dorothea Frazil, editor of the Oxford Mail) and Caroline O’Neill (Fred’s wife Winifred “Win” Thursday).
Set in 1971, this season comprises three episodes.
As before, Morse looks into several intriguing cases from a Northern Irish footballer targeted by paramilitaries to a cab driver murdered close to a naturist resort while he also revisits a new turn of events spurred on by a murder spree at a hotel some eight years ago.
Personally, Morse’s dependence on alcohol has become a serious problem as it starts to affect his performance on the job. And he finds himself at odds with Thursday after missing a major clue in a case, but a change in circumstances helps with that situation.
Allam, who is renowned for his stage work, has several notable small-screen projects, including “Game of Thrones”, under his belt.
On Thursday and Morse’s relationship at the start of the season, Allam revealed: “Throughout this series, Morse is in some crisis. Violetta died in his arms at the end of the last series. So, he is in a very bad way, which becomes more apparent as this new series goes on.
“He is drinking too much and that starts to affect what he is doing. As is the way of these things, especially in those days, it’s all ignored. No one speaks about it until it is really necessary to do so.”
He added: “I don’t think Thursday realises how bad Morse’s drinking problem is at first. It was a drinking culture then and Morse has always drunk, ever since they introduced him to the notion in the pilot episode. But it’s now very serious. It’s whisky during the day.”
Of course, Thursday has dealt with his own demons so he is a bit more forgiving of Morse’s current faux pas, which is triggered by recent events.
As for Thursday’s relationship with his wife, he shared: “Things are okay between Fred and Win at the beginning of this season. But the big difficulty is that their son Sam is serving in Belfast with the army, which is dangerous.
“In the last episode of this series, a lot of the feeling that Win has buried about Sam being in the army comes out. So things are bad between them.”
His daughter Joan (Sara Vickers) returns to Oxford as an independent career woman in social services, so that also contributes to a bit of drama.
There is a reminder in the first film that Thursday is not to be crossed.
He explained: “That scene is just saying, ‘Hello, here I am.’ Fred grew up in the East End of London and he also fought in the war. So, he can easily resort to fighting and violence.”
In the final episode, Thursday faces two crises.
The veteran actor commented: “Fred faces a situation in the third film where he feels powerless about one thing, but there is something he can do about another. Both his actual son Sam and his surrogate son Endeavour are in danger.”
And Thursday can only save one of them.
Interestingly, this is one of his longest-running TV roles.
As for what else he has in the kitty, Allam shared: “I’m filming a series for BritBox called ‘Murder In Provence’, based on books by Mary Lou Longworth and adapted by Shelagh Stephenson.”
As far as whodunnits go, this period offering certainly whets the appetite of viewers of the genre.
“Endeavour” season 8 is currently streaming on BritBox.