'Endeavour' star Shaun Evans: 'Morse is not coping!'

Shaun Evans in Endeavour
Shaun Evans is back on the case in Endeavour. (Image credit: ITV)

Endeavour is on a slippery slope as the eighth season of the Inspector Morse prequel begins.

The three-part run of Endeavour, airing on ITV on Sunday 12 September, finds the morose detective sergeant, played by Shaun Evans, mourning the death of his married lover Violetta at the end of the last series and hitting the bottle in a big way. But as he and his boss DCI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) tackle a trio of challenging new cases, will Endeavour’s erratic behaviour cast a shadow over his work?

We caught up with Shaun Evans to find out more...

Where do we find Endeavour?

“A couple of months have passed after Violetta’s death and he’s not dealing with it well, but he’s trying not to reveal that. But over the series, it becomes apparent he’s not coping. Drinking too much and numbing yourself is part of a bigger problem. I was keen to unpick that more in this series.” 

The last run saw Thursday and Endeavour at loggerheads, how is their relationship now?

“Thursday is a watchful presence over Endeavour, he knows what happened, so he’s keeping an eye out. By the end, he says, ‘You need to sort yourself out.’ There’s tough love there. But both of them are going through crises, as Thursday has personal things to deal with too…”

Roger Allam and Shaun Evans in Endeavour

Thursday (Roger Allam) is keeping Endeavour (Shaun Evans) under observation. (Image credit: ITV)

Thursday’s social worker daughter Joan, played by Sara Vickers, is also back. Is the will-they-won’t-they spark between her and Endeavour still there?

“Joan returns from trying to save the world but sadly, Endeavour doesn’t have the wherewithal to give her what she needs at this point. And DS Strange [Endeavour’s reliable colleague, played by Sean Rigby] becomes a more present figure in the Thursday household…”

Sean Rigby in Endeavour.

Strange (Sean Rigby) has his eye on Joan Thursday in Endeavour. (Image credit: ITV)

Tell us about the cases this time...

"The first one is set in the world of football and the early days of sports celebrity but there’s also the wider picture of the beginning of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Then in the second, about taxi drivers, Endeavour’s stepmother Gwen [Lynda Rooke] comes to stay but he’s on this downward spiral and she pushes him further over the edge. And the last one is like Agatha Christie! People stay in a hotel and get knocked off. But It packs an emotional punch.”

Is the end of Endeavour drawing nearer?

“There’s always something where I’ve thought, ‘I don't think it's fully told. There's more I could do and if the audience wants us to return, how can we improve?’ But once we've seen how these films go down, that’ll tell us a lot. I don't want the team or audience to get complacent. You need to know the time to move on. I don't want to stagnate, I want to feel challenged.” 

When can I watch Endeavour?

Endeavour Season 8 starts on Sunday 12 September at 8pm on ITV in the UK and is set to air on Masterpiece on PBS in the US at a later date.

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.