John Thaw final scene Endeavour footage approved by Sheila Hancock

Shaun Evans in a dark suit looks pensive in Endeavour
(Image credit: Mammoth/ITV)

Sheila Hancock, the widow of late Inspector Morse actor John Thaw, gave permission for his footage to be used in the final scene of Endeavour.

The prequel came to a critically claimed ending on Sunday, with Shaun Evans' Morse driving away from Blenheim Palace, with the eyes of John Thaw being seen in the rearview mirror, giving young Morse a glimpse of his future self.

The Times revealed that Sheila Hancock approved the footage of Thaw being used, which was taken from Morse series seven episode, "Deadly Slumber".

Endeavour season 9 producer Charlotte Webber spoke to the paper about the challenge of pulling off the effect.

She described it as an "agonising" procedure to match the two actors’ eyelines. 

John Thaw's eyes in mirror in final Endeavour scene

(Image credit: ITV)

The Endeavour finale was a ratings hit, pulling in nearly four million viewers. This is a figure that will rise sharply as fans watch it on catch-up.

John Thaw's daughter Abigail Thaw has been a big part of Endeavour, playing the role of Oxford Mail editor Dorothea Frazil, who has been in the series since the first episode.

Speaking about the series to What to Watch, Abigail Thaw told us what her dad might've thought of the beloved prequel.

She told us: "I like to think that Dad would have given it the nod of approval. We made it our own, we weren’t trying to ape Inspector Morse, but I've always had him as a sort of benign presence on set just there on my shoulder, and I’ve loved that. 

"I think he's up there smiling. Dad would have loved Shaun, and would have totally respected Shaun’s wishes to not emulate him but with the writing, you could still absolutely see Morse and the man he was about to become."

The finale also revealed why the older Morse never mentions Thursday. Roger Allam told us: "There has to be a satisfying reason with an emotional heft as to why John Thaw’s Morse never mentions Fred Thursday…"

We won't spoil the surprise!

Endeavour is available to watch on ITVX.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!