Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Morse and Endeavour

I can't say I'm a TV addict. I've gone long spells of my life without watching any TV at all, and have now become pretty selective about what I watch. One of the series I have always enjoyed is Inspector Morse, based on the novels of Colin Dexter. John Thaw plays a convincing lead character steeped in culture but haunted by his past.

So it was with anticipation that I awaited the series about Morse as a younger man, Endeavour. It is still steeped in culture which comes into stark contrast with the reality of the crimes committed. What I really like is the intelligence of the script and the references to the earlier series of Morse about his later life. Many factors about the older Morse are explained in Endeavour, such as his limp which was acquired as a result of being shot.

There are also echoes between the series, and one that I found excellent was at the end of series 2 of Endeavour, where Morse and his Chief Inspector are awaiting their doom in the form of a trap set by their adversaries. While awaiting the arrival of the "bad guys", young Morse starts reciting a poem. The poem, by his favourite A. E. Houseman, is the same poem he recited while awaiting his doom as the older Morse in the original series. It is little touches like these that make these series so beautiful to watch.

"How Clear, How Lovely Bright"
XVI More Poems 1936
A. E. Houseman

How clear, how lovely bright,
How beautiful to sight
Those beams of morning play;
How heaven laughs out with glee
Where, like a bird set free,
Up from the eastern sea
Soars the delightful day.

To-day I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
I never kept before.

Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.

1 comment:

  1. I've really enjoyed Endeavour (apart from the really cheesy last few seconds of the pilot episode). How good is Roger Allam? Great casting and superb scripts. Like Inspector Morse and Lewis, this programme makes me slightly homesick. If you've not watched Lewis, I recommend it.