|"Have you seen this news, sir?": Roger Allam as Thursday, Shaun Evans as Endeavour ©ITV|
Interviewed on Spreecast, Evans talked about meeting earlier this week with the Endeavour producers and the show's deviser/writer/executive producer Russell Lewis to discuss series 3. He said four new episodes would be set in 1966 and/or 1967, but revealed no other details. [You can replay the event here, it works via Google Chrome.]
UPDATE: September 27th, 2014 - this week ITV officially announced it has commissioned a third series of Endeavour, confirming the news reported by this blogpost back in July. The press release reveals the new run of four stories will be set in 1967 but - beyond the return of Shaun Evans as Endeavour Morse - nothing was said about how the cliffhanger ending of series 2 will be resolved.
Writer Russell Lewis offered the following cryptic clues: "Endeavour '67 ... Pepper - Piper - Purple Haze... As 'Oxford's finest' encounter friends and foes both old and new, our next quartet of mysteries will take the audience on a psychedelic Summer of Love fairground ride, filled with twists and turns shrieks and scares. For something wicked this way comes..."
It's hard to speculate about series 3 without spoiling the end of series 2 for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I'll try. There are plenty of unresolved questions to answer - the challenge for Lewis will be how best to do that? Devote a significant chunk [or, indeed, most] of the first episode to it, or jump ahead in time and slowly drip-feed the answers?
Series 2 took an unusual step for a series based on Colin Dexter's characters - it ramped up the serial elements. Each story had a standalone, story of the week conundrum for Endeavour and Thursday. But there were also a tangle of plot threads that grew round the characters, slowly tightening like a Gordion knot in that shocking finale.
Previously, the TV iterations of Morse - Inspector Morse, the Lewis spin-off [back this autumn], and Endeavour - were pure standalones. Yes, the regular cast and their inter-relationships evolved, but each episode could be watched in isolation. A series arc in Endeavour is a new approach, and a tougher needle to thread for the creative team.
It will be fascinating to see how Russell Lewis and Mammoth Screen take Endeavour forwards. It may well be series 3 is broadcast later in 2015 than it was in 2014. Russell Lewis has written every story to date, which is equivalent to scripting four new feature films a year - a massive task for any scribe, and quality takes time.
As a dedicated follower of Dexter's characters, I'm just happy we'll be getting a third run of Endeavour in the next year or two. The return of Lewis and Hathaway this autumn will help to pass the long wait. In the meantime, it might be time to rewatch some Inspector Morse. Been a while since I saw The Dead of Jericho...