Shaun Evans takes over as Morse, the role made famous by John Thaw. Pictures: ITV
Shaun Evans takes over as Morse, the role made famous by John Thaw. Pictures: ITV
ITV has confirmed it will mark the 30th anniversary of The Dead of Jericho, the first episode of Inspector Morse to air on TV, with some very special casting in prequel Endeavour.

The original show debuted in January 1987 and ran for thirty-three episodes before coming to an end in 2000 with the death of Morse, played by John Thaw.

Fan demand for more adventures drawn from the world of Colin Dexter’s novels led to ITV commissioning Lewis, a spin-off featuring Morse’s former sidekick Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately).

That show’s success also inspired Endeavour, which first screened in 2012 as a one-off special starring Shaun Evans as the young Morse.

ITV bosses commissioned a fourth run of the show earlier this year which has now gone into production and the broadcaster has promised that the new episodes will pay tribute to the original show.

The new episodes will again star Shaun Evans as the young Morse alongside Roger Allam as Detective Inspector Fred Thursday, and will be written by series creator Russell Lewis.

Producers have already cast James Lawrenson, who appeared in The Dead of Jericho, in the opening episode and are promising “many respectful tips of the trilby from Endeavour to its much admired progenitor in terms of guest casting, heritage characters and stories” across the series.

Series synopsis

Endeavour waits to hear the result of his Sergeant’s Exam, and self-medicates to numb his heartache, but whisky and Tännhauser will only get a man so far. While Thursday and Win deal with their own sense of grief. Their home is empty, Sam gone to the Army and Joan… Who knows where?

The summer of 1967 is on the turn. Midsummer has been and gone but in Lovelace College a team of boffins is about to unveil a ‘thinking machine’ that will challenge the Soviets, and plunge Endeavour and Thursday into their most perilous, baffling and darkly terrifying case to date. White Heat. Cold War. And an immortal game that will cast the life of a friend into the hazard.

The stories that remain will take Endeavour and Thursday, together with the rest of Oxford’s Finest, into places hitherto unexplored – the worlds of 1960s pop; Doctors and Nurses; and an exploration of the English pastoral.