Tag Archives: Endeavour Series 6

THE ENDEAVOUR INTERVIEWS 2019: Russell Lewis Part IV

Library of a lunatic

Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2019

INT. POLICE STATION/CORRIDOR/CID – DAY X (FLASHBACK)

BRIGHT alone in the corridor. He steels himself, comes along the corridor – and enters CID at the THURSDAY OFFICE end.

BRIGHT: If I might have everyone’s attention.

THURSDAY emerges from his office. UNIFORMS arrive.

BRIGHT (cont’d): As you know, since the merging of City and County – together with our sister constabularies to create Thames Valley, the future of Cowley Police station has been in the balance. I have this day received news from Division. The station is to be reduced to a skeleton staff by the 24th of the month and will close – permanently – at midnight on the 31st. Details of future placements will be sent to each of you in due course.

Looks amongst the troops… ENDEAVOUR, STRANGE, FANCY and TREWLOVE — thunderstruck.

BRIGHT (cont’d): Meantime, I know I can rely on each of you to discharge your duty with the same professionalism I have come to so admire these past years. That is all. Carry on.

DAMIAN: And so with ICARUS, it was the end of Bright as we have come to know and love him?

RUSS: Indeed. Again, I think, in the earliest drafts, I was going for a Christmas/December film. Hence the 24th. And… again, this was shot down.

DAMIAN: You know, you had a good thing going here: the CID set, in a similar way to the Rovers Return or the bridge of the Enterprise perhaps, felt almost like a second home for both the characters and the audience – we felt comfortable and liked meeting there with the characters and the actors who play them, and had an almost unprecedented -for a detective mystery TV show at least-  magical chemistry. And yet, in name of progress, you take away our comfortable place and split up the family, casting them to the four winds. It’s certainly brave creatively but was it also a little risky?

RUSS: Five series. We could have kept it going unchanged indefinitely, I suppose.  But it felt with the historical end of City Police and our move from the base we’d occupied for Series 3, 4 & 5, that it was time to burn everything to the ground.  And Fancy – of course. That was key. And that arose from Dakota’s decision to leave. So… All of these things felt like major changes. And they reflected the year – 1968 – turbulence at home and abroad.  Closing the station and breaking up the band felt the right thing to do.

DAMIAN: ‘Don’t run boy!’. You’ve told me in the past that you were in and out of education as a child, and also there was a kind teacher who was supportive of your writing. Looking back at your education, or lack thereof, how do you think it shaped the bespoke writer and purveyor of fine manuscripts we have all come to so admire these past years?

RUSS: Lack of formal education. It just wasn’t something on the cards for someone of my socio-economic background – or, as we used to call it in old money, class.  My family were of a generation that thought you only went to University if you were going to be a Doctor or a Lawyer. College – we didn’t really have a notion of at all.  And attending ‘The Academy of Eyes and Teeth, Love’ from 3 to 16, er… its own grasp of higher education was pretty non-existent. I had an on-set tutor for a couple of years, and that was quite intensive and useful — but under employment/educational law you were only obliged to do three hours of proper schooling a day.  No science. Dreadful really. Appalling. But you play the cards you’re dealt, don’t you? I was a very early reader – and I suspect that made up a lot of the shortfall. But it was for the most part reading without structure or design. The library, the library, the library. The library was a palace of wonders.

So – yeh…  No proper education to speak of. Just the natural low cunning native to my class. That may sound facetious, but it’s not entirely. I suppose the way it shaped the writing – to return to your original question – is that nobody in a position of academic authority ever told me that such and such was not the way to do something.  Equally, the flipside is that nobody ever said that such and such was the way to do something.  I suppose it’s why I’m skeptical about the “You Too Can Have a Screenplay Like Mine” snake-oil salesmen.  You have to find your own way to it.

But I digress. Look — I’m not proud of a lack of formal education, but I’m not ashamed of it either.  Hard to be proud or ashamed about something over which one had no control. It’s just a thing. It made me hungry to know stuff — maybe more hungry than if it had all just been laid out before me.  There’s something thrilling about knowing how things work. Whatever it might be. Oh – so this bit of the world fits together with that bit of the world, &c. I just find that beguiling. A puzzle without end.  You’re never going to solve it, but each new bit of information deepens your understanding. We have such a short time in existence. So much to know — so little time. And so much of the stuff I’ve picked up along the way has been through work.  You know — you do Sharpe or Hornblower or Cadfael and you want to make a good job of it, you’d better start reading around the subject, bone up on it as if preparing for an exam, try to get a handle on the minds and manners of the period. Do your homework.  Always. That’s the great joy. My library looks like the library of a lunatic. Things that have no business sitting beside one another – a history of the Delta Blues beside the mechanics of an 18th century sailing ship, and surmounted by a book on poisons. Looks like we got ourselves a reader.

DAMIAN: I take it you’re familiar with the 1968 film, if ?

RUSS:  Yes, indeed.  Huge admirer of all things Lindsay Anderson.  The spirit of Mick Travis has infused quite a bit of Endeavourland along the way.  Sam Costin [script editor] and me had some fun with Lindsay Anderson stuff across the first three series.  Little nods here and there. Funnily enough – only this week I’ve caught up with an old grognard, the great muso Jeremy Stacey, and we got to talking about when we did Giles Cooper’s play  Unman, Wittering and Zigo for Radio 4 in the late 70s, with Gawn Grainger playing Mr.Ebony – we were about 15 or something. There’s a fabulous film of it with David Hemmings and the late and lovely Tony Haygarth – who I was blessed to work with on Between the Lines.  And Carolyn (Survivors) Seymour too, before she left for the States, plays Hemmings wife.

Answering this – I realise that I worked with both Hemmings and Carolyn. I did a TV play with Carolyn in the early 70s – written by my hero John Hopkins whose The Offence – directed by Sidney Lument – had a major influence on the vibe of Endeavour ‘69.  Only Connect! My Round Britain Quiz/Panini Sticker life. The ‘boys’ though are a hoot. You’ve got Michael Kitchen in there – Lord is it now? Lord Cashman? Fabulous atmos. And great sleight of hand with the school. Like ours, it’s a Frankenstein’s monster. The exteriors here – the interiors there. So – that got drawn on a bit, as did The History Boys; Jennings; Dead Poets Society…  anything with that boys’ school thing going on. Having done the girls’ side with NOCTURNE, it felt like it might be fun to do the boys.

if…. (1968)
ICARUS

DAMIAN: The headmaster at Coldwater asks if he plays sport and Endeavour replies with the lie, cricket. I wondered if this was your own personal preference in sport or a nod to the other Lewis?

RUSS: Cricket would always be my personal preference — but I went for Cricket because we were shooting in the winter, and the story was set in the winter, and Endeavour would think it a good wheeze to offer up a proficiency in a summer sport, in the hope of avoiding any physical exertion whatsoever.

DAMIAN: And isn’t it funny to see Endeavour finally at the chalkface because I asked if you thought he’d make a good teacher in one of first interviews and later, of course, he confides in Monica with a moped that he’s considering leaving the police to teach?

RUSS:  Yes — that certainly played back to his conversation with Ms.Hicks.

DAMIAN: Bright has a line of dialogue ‘The local Detective Inspector and his bagman lost their lives last weekend in a road traffic accident with an articulated lorry’. Knowing the extent to which you plan your future stories and character subplots ahead, I was worried this might be a sly foreshadowing of events yet to come or am I reading too much into things again?

RUSS:  Not every question gets an answer.  There are things you might infer.

TREWLOVE: Just the one bed, I’m afraid.

ENDEAVOUR: I can take the couch.

TREWLOVE: Don’t be ridiculous. How’s that going to look if anyone comes knocking?

Off ENDEAVOUR: What can Trewlove be suggesting…?

DAMIAN: What was Trewlove suggesting?

RUSS:  One would imagine a bolster being involved.

INT. ROSE COTTAGE/LIVING ROOM – NIGHT 4

ENDEAVOUR listening to one of IVORY’s LPs. TREWLOVE paints her toenails.

TREWLOVE: They say – that – when you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes. Do you think that’s true?

ENDEAVOUR: Grim topic for someone painting their toenails, isn’t it?

TREWLOVE: I told you. I like grim. What should a girl talk about, Morse? Ponies? Kittens? Boys?

ENDEAVOUR: I saw your boy this afternoon. He’s got it into his head that us being shacked up here is the perfect opportunity for a torrid affair.

TREWLOVE: But you’re not my type. Oh, Lord. I told him not to get too serious.

ENDEAVOUR: I thought you liked him.

TREWLOVE: I do. He’s desperately sweet. But, we’re both young. We’ve got to put career first right now. Haven’t we?

ENDEAVOUR: A career’s not going to hold you at three in the morning when the wolves come circling.

TREWLOVE: Do they come circling? Morse?

ENDEAVOUR: It’s late. I’ve got to make my bath. I think, if I found someone… All this wouldn’t matter a damn.

DAMIAN: I can’t quite believe I’m actually going to ask this in light of our Casanova debate, but one of the things I regretted about Trewlove’s departure was the fact that we would never get to find if they would or wouldn’t. I’d argue that there was a mutual attraction from the very beginning but had she stayed another year or two, would they have ever got together do you think?

RUSS:  It was something we were keen to avoid.

DAMIAN: Despite protests to the contrary, isn’t Endeavour exactly her type?

RUSS:  Opposites attract.

DAMIAN: I think they would have made a very fine couple but I was less convinced by her attraction to Fancy. Lovely as he was, would a girl like Trewlove really have had much interest in such a dope?

RUSS:  Because the people who should  be together always end up together, don’t they?  

DAMIAN: Was Endeavour jealous of their relationship or did it simply remind him of his own loneliness?

RUSS:  I don’t think he was jealous of them at all.  Your latter point – possibly.

DAMIAN: Did Endeavour like Fancy or not?

RUSS:  I think Fancy grew on him.  But perhaps more important than whether he liked him or not — he felt responsible for him.  And Endeavour would blame himself for not having protected him.  Also, I suspect that deep down he fears Fancy was in some way trying to impress him. After their last unhappy conversation… Of course Endeavour is going to take all the sins of the world, and the loss of Fancy onto his shoulders – for all his protestations to the contrary.

EXT. SNOOKER HALL – NIGHT 5

Police vehicles. In the lee of the entrance, ENDEAVOUR — shocked to his core – he struggles a smoke to his lips, but his hands are trembling too hard to light it. DOROTHEA…

DOROTHEA: Here.

She lights his smoke. Their eyes meet over the flame.

DOROTHEA (CONT’D): Is it true?

The answer in ENDEAVOUR’s – wounded, thousand yard stare.

DAMIAN: Again, I’ll understand any frustration you might have in my asking the following question given our last interview in which I was complaining about him smoking but why doesn’t Endeavour smoke in the filmed version of this scene?

RUSS:  You’d have to ask Shaun and Gordon [Anderson, director].  I’ve no idea. They thought better of it on the floor, presumably.

THURSDAY: I can’t have you pair shooting up the town like it’s the Wild West. Somebody’s going to get hurt…

DAMIAN: Since I know you’re a fan of Westerns, so you will have undoubtedly seen the famous cinematic versions of the Wyatt Earp story such as My Darling Clementine and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral?

RUSS:  Yes, indeed.

DAMIAN: And the audience are all waiting with bated breath for the big shoot out?

RUSS:  Uh huh.

DAMIAN: So, while I appreciate Endeavour is not a western and Fancy is certainly no cowboy, you sustained a tension throughout six episodes regarding Eddie Nero and other violent rival gangs, and then the anticipated resolution to this which happened to be a bloody shootout occurs offscreen!!! Surely Fancy, and indeed Lewis Peek deserved a better send off than this?

RUSS:  Well — you have a choice, don’t you?  You either experience the discovery with Endeavour, Thursday and Strange — or you show it, and put the audience ahead of our heroes. Finding out what has happened to Fancy at the same time as his comrades felt the more shocking, brutal and cruel option. I would contend that if you’d known Fancy was in the thick of it, then the moment wouldn’t have had such an impact.  I’m more drawn to subverting expectations anyway, and would likely have gone for the least obvious, and most awkward, crunchy option.

DAMIAN: I did like that when Bright asked if Fancy’s family had been notified, Strange replies ‘Devon, Sir. Local boys’re dealing.’ That was an especially nice touch wasn’t it?

RUSS:  One for Lewis.  We loved and do love him.  It’s never easy coming in to something knowing that you’re going to be put to the sword at the end of the run.  It was very hard for him, and I did feel for him – but one had to see it through.

A Devonshire Lad

INT. POLICE STATION/BRIGHT’S OFFICE – DAY 6

BRIGHT and TREWLOVE. The end of all things…

BRIGHT: I had hoped to see you as the first female officer in Cowley CID, but our loss is the Yard’s gain. You will do great things there, I’m sure. Great things.

TREWLOVE: Thank you, sir.

BRIGHT: We shall all miss you. I don’t suppose there’s anything one can say..? I’m so frightfully sorry.

TREWLOVE: George was happy here, sir. He particularly admired you.

BRIGHT: His regard was poorly placed, I fear – and woefully served.

TREWLOVE: It wasn’t your fault, sir.

BRIGHT: No, well… The investigation will decide where any blame must fall. (he offers his hand) Good luck, Constable.

TREWLOVE: Thank you for always looking out for me.

BRIGHT: It has been… a privilege.

Trewlove exits.

DAMIAN: It’s typically quite proper for Bright to express his affection for her with a simple handshake but Trewlove could have given him a hug goodbye surely?

RUSS:  She could.  If they’d wanted to go that way on the floor they would have done.  As the cigarette moment outside the snooker hall shows, Director and cast will sometimes take things their own way.

DAMIAN: Well, back to the noble question of whether to hug or not to hug again I’m afraid, after the touching scene where Joan cooks dinner for Thursday because Win has left…

THURSDAY: Whatever went on with you last year… It’s none of my business. I shouldn’t’ve interfered. But it’s what fathers do.

JOAN: It’s what you do.

THURSDAY: I can’t help that. You’re my little girl. Apple of my eye. Always have been. Since the moment you came into the world. Always will be. But it’s your life. I just miss you being in mine. This past twelve months…

JOAN: Oh, Dad.

…the script, albeit not in the filmed version, ends the scene with ‘Hugs’. I remember chastising you for not having Thursday hug Sam as he left for the army and you said something about men of the period being more reserved in the way they show affection, so is it only OK for Thursday to hug his daughter or does he love Joan more than Sam?

RUSS:  I’m not quite sure how you get to that conclusion – but no, he doesn’t love Joan more than Sam.  But I’d probably contend that fathers and daughters in the period are marginally more likely to hug than fathers and sons.

DAMIAN: I appreciate that Endeavour is obviously the main character but wouldn’t Trewlove have wanted to say goodbye to Bright last and wouldn’t it have been better for her to have her final scene with him in a kind of Wizard of Oz/’I’ll miss you most of all’ sort of way?

RUSS:  As Adam West was purportedly fond of telling Burt Ward, ‘The show is called – Batman.’

DAMIAN: The farewell between Endeavour and Trewlove appears as scripted but the following really lovely scene was sadly trimmed due to running time:

THURSDAY waiting. TREWLOVE enters. A moment between them.

THURSDAY: If there was anything I could’ve done. If I could take it back. Me for him.

TREWLOVE: He wouldn’t’ve wanted that. They’ll need you now more than ever. Someone’s got to see them through.

STRANGE comes through.

STRANGE: Off, then, Shirl? Look after yourself, love.

TREWLOVE: You too, Jim.

STRANGE: (off TREWLOVE’S hug) Now, then. You’ll set me off. (a moment) He was a good lad.

TREWLOVE: I know. Look out for Mister Bright. Be kind to him — if he’ll let you. Well…

With a backwards wiggle of her fingers in parting, she exits into the corridor.

DAMIAN: Time, it’s your old archenemy I know, and you’ll undoubtedly find this a vexing question, but Trewlove really did come into her own during series five and I wonder if Dakota would have wanted to leave at all if she was given the material she had last year?

RUSS:  Yes — we shot it, but it didn’t make the cut.  Regrettably. Broke our hearts to see her go, but we were never going to hold on to DB.  Sail on, Silver Girl.

EXT. BRIGHT’S HOUSE – DAY 6

30s Mock Tudor. BRIGHT – in civvies – trimming his privets. He sees: ENDEAVOUR.

BRIGHT: Morse. Good heavens.

CUT TO:

INT. BRIGHT’S HOUSE – DAY 6

Decorated in Late English Desperate vernacular. Oh, chintzy-chintzy cheeriness, half-dead, and half-alive… Between the wars. Punkah-Poona-on-the-Hill. BRIGHT ushers ENDEAVOUR in.

BRIGHT: Mrs. Bright is out, I’m afraid. Bridge circle. I think. May I offer you a drink? I generally have a lime-juice and gin about now.

ENDEAVOUR: Thank you, sir.

BRIGHT: Yes. Well, I’ll just go and, er… wash my hands.

BRIGHT exits. ENDEAVOUR takes in his surroundings. BRIGHT’s life arranged in photographs around the walls. The young subaltern in India before the war. Wedding pictures. Simla…

On a side-board a few framed photographs of a young girl. Babe in arms – toddler – scowling Prince Valiant haired tomboy in khaki shorts. A smiling HOUSE SERVANT looking on. And then… nothing. A sepia promise of beauty; unrealised.

BRIGHT: Dulcie. Our daughter. Sweet little thing.

Behind BRIGHT’s eyes, a world of painful memory. The sudden descent into fever. Tubercular meningitis. The Doctor ‘Up-Country’. A terrible week-long suffering. Nothing to be done. A woman, deranged by grief, howling in the night. All of it contained in the one simple phrase.

BRIGHT (CONT’D): The Tropics.

As well to argue with God. BRIGHT falls to fixing drinks.

BRIGHT (CONT’D): So what’s this all about?

ENDEAVOUR: Ballistics prove George Fancy was shot by someone who got away from the Snooker Hall. His killer is still at large.

BRIGHT: Well — presumably that will be passed to the investigating officer.

ENDEAVOUR: He was our colleague.

BRIGHT: And we will mourn him. I’m on indefinite leave. It’s out of my hands. Nothing to be done. Not what one would wish, but there we are. (brings DRINKS across) Your very good health. Fresh lime, you see. That’s the trick of it.

ENDEAVOUR frustrated. BRIGHT in some private hell.

DAMIAN: Private hell. A world of painful memory. All bloody good meat and potato stuff that actors love to play with and explore. And yet, it’s been a long time coming and I know that the confines of screen time has been a source of frustration for Anton Lesser. While I understand the reasons for this, what I don’t understand is why, apart from a initial letter you wrote to him outlining Bright’s past (the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein inspiration and Betjeman’s A Subaltern’s Love Song: ‘Six o’clock news… lime juice and gin’ to name but a few examples), why you haven’t shared information on Bright’s future. In fact, Anton was completely unaware of many of the character developments for Bright over series five and six until he read them in the scripts. Rather than risk key players losing interest in their parts and possibly leaving the show, why don’t you share all your extremely detailed and insightful plans for the characters with the actors who play them?

RUSS:  Because plans change.  Having marched Anton up the hill only to march him back down it a couple of times now — I’m reluctant to tell anyone anything that’s in my design just in case it doesn’t happen.  But believe me – every line, every scene an actor loses in production or in the cut… it’s tough – because you feel for them, and you wouldn’t have written the scene if you didn’t feel it warranted inclusion.

Look – here’s how it works.  You write a thing. People ask for additional material for a multiplicity of reasons.  You write the requested material. And as often as not, the stuff you care most deeply about – the stuff that made you want to tell that story that way in the first place gets squeezed out by the new material.  That’s just how it is. There’s a lot of moving parts. A lot of people asking for changes to plot or character beats. It’s your job to square the circle. You hold on to what you can – salvage the rest. If you can’t take a creative punishment beating every day…  then you’re in the wrong business.

INT. POLICE STATION/CID – DAY 9

CID stripped bare. THURSDAY in his office, boxing his last bits. ENDEAVOUR and STRANGE watch removal men cart off the last FILING CABINETS. BRIGHT enters. ENDEAVOUR – reacts.

ENDEAVOUR: Sir?

THURSDAY emerges from his office.

BRIGHT: That’s the last of it, is it?

THURSDAY: Yes, sir.

BRIGHT: Well. I just stopped by to wish you all good luck.

A MURMUR of ‘Thanks’ from ENDEAVOUR, THURSDAY and STRANGE.

BRIGHT (CONT’D): When I arrived here three years ago, I had such high hopes. What an ignominious end I have led you to. I shall resign, of course.

THURSDAY: Sir…

BRIGHT: I failed him. I failed my men. The station gone. My brightest and best cast to the four winds. And all is brought to ruin.

Cometh the hour. The one true friend…

STRANGE: Bollocks to that.

THURSDAY: Sergeant…

STRANGE: No, sir. I won’t hear it. We might be down, but we’re not out. Not yet. Not by a long chalk. I’ll be damned if this is how it ends. We’ll have justice for him, sir. Whatever it takes.

THURSDAY: Jim’s right, sir. They can call us Thames Valley till the cows come home, but wherever we wash up, we’re City men – each one of us. To our boots. To the last.

BRIGHT: So few.

ENDEAVOUR: Enough to give him justice.

THURSDAY: We’ll find the bastard, sir.

BRIGHT: Your word on it.

THURSDAY: My oath.

STRANGE: And mine.

They look to ENDEAVOUR.

ENDEAVOUR: For George.

DAMIAN: Honestly, if I could have only risen from my sofa, stood up and joined the four musketeers there and then… Rousing stuff indeed. I was a little confused though, why is Strange ‘the one true friend’?

RUSS:  George Fancy’s.  Jim Strange was fond of the lad.  There is something very straight about Jim Strange.  He might not have the book learning, but when the chips are down, he’s the one man you want to see coming round the corner.

DAMIAN: Will all the mystery surrounding George’s death be resolved by the last film of series six and what can you say about Degüello?

RUSS:  Yeh – I’d hope so.  I can say almost nothing about Degüello.  

DAMIAN: You say almost nothing. Any fragrant ladies? Plot vertigo perhaps? Nothing, really?

RUSS:  There was something that we thought about for ‘68 – but for reasons which will become clear, we didn’t do it.  But it is an ending.  For good or ill.

INT. POLICE STATION/CID – DAY 9

ENDEAVOUR alone. He looks to FANCY’S desk.

FANCY (VOICE OVER): Your desk. Sorry. I was told to wait. Fancy…

TREWLOVE (V.O.) There is a woman under the uniform, Morse. Just not a stupid one.

JAKES (V.O.): Wotcher!

Ghosts fled. ENDEAVOUR empties his drawer. A the bottom — his PHOTOFIT of JOAN from (Series 4). A moment on ENDEAVOUR. He exits CID.

DAMIAN: I liked this very much. Why was the scene changed to Endeavour instead simply taking a moment and then turning the light switch off and leaving CID in darkness?

RUSS:  I’d refer you to the answer I gave some questions ago.   My original ending for S5 was very different, and among the greatest regrets is that I could not carry the day.

DAMIAN: You’re not going to elaborate further on this very different ending that was among your greatest regrets?

RUSS:  An Endeavour Joan moment.  More I cannot say. But it was a beautiful thing.  At least, I thought so.

DAMIAN: You mentioned in our first interview this year that there was no danger of running out of stories and that Damien Timmer feels that the show could move into the early seventies quite happily. And, if the network want another series -they will have almost certainly made up their mind  by the time this interview is posted- you won’t be hanging the Winchester over the fireplace or turning in your tin star just yet?

RUSS:  As you know, I’m bound to silence by fearful oaths.

DAMIAN: When we do say goodbye to Oxford’s brightest and best for the final time though, and regardless to other shows you write -you will do great things, I’m sure- would you be happy to be known and remembered as the chap who wrote Endeavour?

RUSS: Don’t imagine I’ll be remembered at all – by any apart from those who know me.  And quite happy to be forgot.

DAMIAN: Russ, thank you very much indeed. See you down the road?

RUSS:  See you down the road.

THE ENDEAVOUR INTERVIEWS 2019: Russell Lewis Part III

EXT. OXFORD – DAY 1 (18.55)

The long late light of a cool summer’s evening. Oxford – a half-remembered dream. Drowned streets. Subtle and aquatint.

Young lovers kiss in doorways, heedless of the murmuring world…


MURDER ON THE DANCEFLOOR

An exclusive interview with Russell Lewis

Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2019

INT. BALLROOM – DAY 1 (19.20)

Caught in the beam of a Follow Spot, A PAIR of FAMILIAR SILHOUETTES come onto the floor.

M.C.: Would you please welcome onto the floor, couple Number Seven, Frederick and Winifred Thursday.

The No. ‘07’ stretched across a familiar set of shoulders. FRED and WIN. The Astaire and Rogers of East Cowley.

A moment between them. It’s been a while. WIN gives him a nervous smile. THURSDAY shoots her an encouraging wink.

THURSDAY: Here’s looking at you.

Music begins. And they are away — gliding effortlessly across the floor. Bobbing and dipping. It’s a beautiful thing.

DAMIAN: And so it was. Russ, I’ve seen Roger a few times either on set or location and he’s never particularly struck me as the ballroom dancing type. Do you ever think it might be an idea to check if an actor is happy or comfortable learning to dance -or grow a mustache for that matter- before typing this stuff?

RUSS:  They tend to let you know pretty quickly if they’re not.

DAMIAN: What are you like on the dancefloor?

RUSS:  I would refer you to Mx.Ellis Bextor.  

DAMIAN: You write in COLOURS ‘It’s been a while’ but how long exactly and was dancing something that Mr and Mrs Thursday started back in London before the family moved to Oxford?

RUSS:  It’s something that fell by the wayside with bringing up the kids — but now, more or less alone again, it’s something to which they’ve returned.  An ‘interest.’

DAMIAN: Of all the quotes, in all the movies, why did you have Thursday say Bogie’s most famous line?

RUSS:  Even heroes have heroes.  I could see it being a film they liked.

DAMIAN: Well, what with the Thursdays dancing and Strange playing the trombone, it was quite a year for revelations and, potentially at least, we could have had another! A scene set in the hair salon in the first draft reads ‘Hazel comes to her appointments book — leafs through, and finds an appointment for MRS.BRIGHT…’. Might this suggest that you do actually have plans to introduce Reginald’s other half one day, but if not, can’t you at least tell us if she’s blonde or brunette?

RUSS:  Well… funny you should ask… We may meet her yet.

DAMIAN: We see the welcome return of Jack Bannon as Sam Thursday who says to Endeavour, ‘You’ve been around Dad too long. It’s rubbing off’, followed by a line of description that reads: ‘Something about SAM’s tone suggests this isn’t the compliment it might once have been – but rather a rebuke’. I wouldn’t say that Thursday has rubbed off on Endeavour in any negative way but let’s look at the following exchange which follows the possibility of Sam as a murder suspect and see if it helps put this issue into some sort of context:

STRANGE looks at ENDEAVOUR as if seeing him for the first time.

STRANGE: Christ, you’re some piece of work. Listen to yourself. What d’you think the old man’d say he heard you talking about his boy like that?

ENDEAVOUR: He’d say I was doing my job.

STRANGE: Your job.

ENDEAVOUR: Think the unthinkable. Follow the evidence. Without fear or favour.

STRANGE: Wherever it leads?

ENDEAVOUR: Wherever it leads.

STRANGE: I’m senior.

ENDEAVOUR: Yes.

STRANGE: So long as that’s straight.

ENDEAVOURS: Always.

STRANGE: You start off down that road, you’re on your own. Deal me out.

ENDEAVOUR: I already did.

DAMIAN: Unlike Thursday’s actions in the next episode with the battered wife and Strange turning a blind eye in this one where the old man’s kids are concerned (not charging Joan for example for her part in the protest), Endeavour is right to play things by the book isn’t he?

RUSS:  Caesar’s wife.  Even more important to play it by the book, when Sam is potentially involved.

DAMIAN: Since they left on good terms when Thursday saw Sam off at the bus station when he joined the army, is there anything in particular that has happened offscreen that would explain why there was tension between father and son?

RUSS: Distance lends perspective.  Sam’s older – a man, now. Some of those father/son scales have fallen from his eyes.

DAMIAN: Is it possible that Sam might, like his father before him, leave the army and join the police?

RUSS: Thursday & Thursday. It’s possible.

DAMIAN: Strange observes, ‘Just a girl? Might want to leave some for the rest of us. Claudine? That blondie one? Way you’ve been filling your dance-card lately, you think rationing was coming in.’ My thoughts exactly Jim, and this brings us to the subject of Endeavour’s Casanova phase again. However, let’s take a look at the following scene which is longer than the broadcast version:

INT. CLAUDINE’S BEDSIT – NIGHT 3 (23.59)

A deafening clap of thunder. Lit by streetlamp and lightning… ENDEAVOUR and CLAUDINE post-coital – lie in a tangle of bedclothes that has become a makeshift nest, teaspooned together — listening to the night rain. He’s smoking her cigarette. A moment — then:

ENDEAVOUR: Love and rain.

She retrieves her cigarette from his lips — and takes a drag.

CLAUDINE: How English.

ENDEAVOUR: I don’t think we can claim  it all for ourselves. People have been doing this for as long as there’s been people. Before even. Right back to… whatever we were –

CLAUDINE: Quel philosophe!

ENDEAVOUR: They probably lay on a branch, just like this. Looking out at thunderheads breaking over the Savannah. Rain coming down on the leaves. Safe in that one brief moment from the vast unknowable careless awfulness of it all.

CLAUDINE: If he was as gloomy as you, I hope she kicked him out of the tree.

ENDEAVOUR: Gloomy?

CLAUDINE: Yes! Oui! My God! Some men. So gloomy after.

ENDEAVOUR: Some men?

CLAUDINE: Of course — that’s the part you hear. (a moment) Seriously — why do you do that? Like someone died.

ENDEAVOUR: In my case – someone usually has. I don’t know. Intimations of mortality, I suppose. They say you’re never so alive as when you’re close to death. Maybe the reverse is also true.

CLAUDINE: Jesus. It’s just sex. (a moment) It’s not love.

ENDEAVOUR: I know.

CLAUDINE: It’s good to be clear.

ENDEAVOUR: I’m under no illusions. A day. A week. A month. I’ll take how ever long we’ve got. Just one morning you won’t be there. I suppose I’ll miss you when you’ve gone. That’s all.

CLAUDINE: We said. No regrets.

ENDEAVOUR: How French.

CLAUDINE: Enculé.

She reaches behind her head to mock rake his cheek with her nails. A long moment. Some ember of desire sparks into flame.

CLAUDINE (cont’d): Again?

ENDEAVOUR: God, yes.

Her mouth finds his. Still falls the rain.

DAMIAN: There was also another revealing scene with Joan and Strange which we won’t discuss because much of the content was included in series six and hopefully won’t be cut again. However, do you think the juxtaposition of these two scenes might have put to rest any qualms I’ve had regarding Endeavour smoking and his uncharacteristic libidinous behaviour?

RUSS: Uncharacteristic libidinous behaviour?  If ever a character – as evinced by Colin’s novels – had sex on his mind…

Endeavour – perish the thought – managing to squeeze in a one night stand with Charlie’s daughter, and something more substantial with Claudine, hardly makes him Casanova, does it? It grew out of a conversation with Andy [Wilson, director] when we were making CARTOUCHE. A remark he made about ‘68 definitely being a bit of lively year romantically. Generally – he meant – not specifically.

Don’t you think that it grounds the longing of the older Chief Inspector for romance – and I use the word in both its pure and euphemistic sense – in something real?  In his late 40s through to the end, what he’s missing is something he remembers, something he knew. Physical intimacy – as the boys in blue might put it.

The cigarettes…  You’re really overthinking this…  It’s her cigarette. Just strikes me as something Gallic.  C’est tout! When I was young, French cigarettes was about as cool as it got.  Jacques Brel – literally made of cigarettes. Can you imagine Rififi without smoking?  Ditto the mood of the scene. Ooh – as they say – la la!


Rififi (1955)

But, yes. Maybe. It’s a long time ago now, and I think there’s perhaps a bit of Endeavour trying to live la vie normale.  However, I suspect that it always feels for him – to some small degree – as if he’s wearing someone else’s clothes. You can track much of his state of mind back to CODA. And then HARVEST and later. So — all of these things feed into his emotional condition.

DAMIAN: And editing can sometimes create almost a different meaning or context from what was originally written can’t it?

RUSS:  You will not find me disagreeing with you on that point.

DAMIAN: Where are we on the idea that I proposed a while back regarding giving the fans a DVD release of a writer’s cut of episodes such as this one with all the deleted scenes restored?

RUSS:  Oh – I think that’s highly unlikely, now.  But you never know…

~~~

INTERVAL

~~~

Now entertain conjecture of a time When creeping murmur and the poring dark / Fills the wide vessel of the universe…

DAMIAN: QUARTET then, given that series five was loaded with allusions to contemporary politics  such as issues on immigration, was the inclusion of quotes from Henry V, arguably Shakespeare’s most patriotically British play, an audacious attempt to mock the establishment?

RUSS: No, not really.  It was mostly about selling the dummy of the medieval opening. And it’s one of the great ‘eve of battle’ scene setters.

DAMIAN: Certainly less subtle, of course, were the references to the Berserkers and the business with the pig’s head in MUSE, not to mention the following quote from this episode spoken by Millie Bagshot: ‘our friends on the continent are taking it seriously enough. Why else do you imagine De Gaulle is doing all he can to keep us out of the European Community? Buy British – Get Boris.’ Well, you’re certainly not pulling your punches where the other boys in blue are concerned are you?

RUSS:  Well, Oxford’s a long tradition of wankers in waistcoats – so such sentiments are pretty timeless.  What’s that great line from Belloq about John Vavassour de Quentin Jones who was given to throwing stones?  ‘Like many of the Upper Class, he liked the sound of Breaking Glass.’ In much the same way as John Bull is a sort of British, well, let’s be honest, English archetype, Boris was often used as a collective identifier for citizens of Redland.  That it also happened to be the name by which a former Secretary of State is best known to the public was just serendipity. I find all of this a great deal less funny than may appear. Damien Timmer [Executive producer and co-managing director of the production company, Mammoth Screen] said he thought ‘68 had the angriest tone of any of the series up to that point – and I suspect he may have been right.  Much then – and much now to be angry about.

DAMIAN: Is there ever any concern from either the production company or network regarding how political Endeavour should or shouldn’t get or it is regarded as no more than the sort of political satire one would expect from something like Have I Got News For You?

RUSS:  If there is a concern, it has not yet been confided to me.

DAMIAN: Wouldn’t the backdrop of racial tension in Oxford have been even more dramatic had Monica with the moped made an appearance as I can’t imagine Endeavour didn’t think of his ex girlfriend while all this was going on?

RUSS:  It might have been dramatically convenient, but we try to resist such urges.

DAMIAN: Although clearly reluctant to replace Fancy, wasn’t it still a bit unconvincing that Endeavour would take part in any It’s a Knockout tomfoolery?

RUSS:  You clearly think so.

DAMIAN: As with the lovely scene from NOCTURNE in which Max was touched by the death of a young school girl, he seems equally distraught in his attempts of saving Steven and it’s wonderful to see James given something else to play other than the typically sanguine and unflappable aspects (I also appreciated the fact that he later mentions his time at Bart’s). I think the character development for Bright, Strange and Joan has really done justice to the superb actors who play them in the last couple of series, and yes, I know it’s terribly difficult, but do think that along with Dorothea, Max now deserves a little more screen time in order to blossom?

RUSS:  Find me the screen time.

DAMIAN: Of course, scenes that do offer a glimpse into supporting characters’ personal lives and backstory are often the first to get cut. Let’s take a look at the following scene that sadly didn’t appear in the episode:

INT. AMBER LODGE/LOBBY – DAY 1 [12.03]

DOROTHEA waiting as THURSDAY enters with STRANGE.

DOROTHEA: Chief Inspector…

THURSDAY: Not right now, Miss Frazil.

DOROTHEA: Is this anything to do with the shooting at Christ Church Meadow?

THURSDAY: As I said – a statement will be made in the fullness.

THURSDAY and STRANGE start up the stairs — and we find:

CLAUDINE at the RECEPTION desk. She comes across to DOROTHEA…

CLAUDINE: Miss Frazil? Claudine Darc. I’m a photo-journalist.

DOROTHEA: Bad luck.

CLAUDINE: And a friend of Morse. Would you sign something for me?

CLAUDINE pulls out a well-thumbed book — ‘TRAVELS WITH MYSELF – THE WAR IN KOREA – BY DOROTHEA FRAZIL.’

DOROTHEA: Good heavens. Where did you find that?

CLAUDINE: A book-seller on the Seine by Pont-Neuf. It’s a classic. It means a lot to me. (as DOROTHEA SIGNS) What was it like? For a woman on the Front Line.

DOROTHEA: Are you squeamish?

CLAUDINE: No.

DOROTHEA: Then you’ll be alright. Why?

CLAUDINE: Why didn’t you do more?

DOROTHEA: Ask me when you come back.

DAMIAN: Was this scene scrapped in pre-production or actually filmed and then cut in the final edit?

RUSS:  Do you know, I honestly can’t recall.  I suspect it didn’t get shot.

DAMIAN: So presumably it was too traumatising but couldn’t Dorothea have written books on other subjects?

RUSS:  I don’t think trauma came into it.  And Dorothea’s ouvres may well extend into other areas which have not yet been written about.

DAMIAN: What was it then?

RUSS:  Fatigue.  Revulsion for the slaughter and suffering.  The absolute pointlessness of it all. Frazil is as tough as nails – but I think a sense of ‘Say they gave a war and nobody came.’ could have been part of it.  On the one hand journalists bear witness, on the other the notion that by sending back reports to be consumed along of the kippers and kedgeree that the reporter is somehow complicit and by some means enabling the suffering and carnage.  I’m not saying that’s right – but it’s how she may have felt.

DAMIAN: Endeavour asks, ‘No sandwich today?’, to which Thursday replies ‘Sunday? We’ll get a roast down the Lamb and Flag.’ After four years, wouldn’t he know that Thursday doesn’t have sandwiches either on a Saturday or Sunday, or has Endeavour bumped his noggin so many times on the headboard lately that he’s starting to lose his memory?

RUSS:  In the heat of the hunt, the days run one into another.

Monday, cheese and pickle…

DAMIAN: And what does Thursday have on his Wed… oh, nevermind. Taking into account the ‘love and rain’ scene, when Endeavour says to Claudine that ‘Sun’s going already. The year’s turned. Bonfires and hoar-frost. Mist’ll be up soon. The breath of winter’, is he not only accepting her imminent departure but also trying to tell her it’s OK or is it the case, as when she takes a photo of him, he remarks, ‘I wasn’t ready’?

RUSS:  “When you knew that it was over, you were suddenly aware that the autumn leaves were turning to the colour of her hair.”  The stages of grief. Denial. He’s aware that something is off – that she may be slipping away – but not how close it is to the end.  ‘I wasn’t ready’ is a genuine throwaway – to be freighted with meaning in hindsight. But no – for all his fine talk – when the moment finally comes, he wasn’t ready for her to go.

DAMIAN: Endeavour goes to the pub to drown his sorrows after Claudine leaves for Vietnam and then we cut to the scene in the script, which is slightly longer from the broadcast version and contains dialogue cut from a previous episode, where Joan asks him in for coffee. Had he gone in, would they have…

RUSS:  But he didn’t go in.  He’s not an absolute cad.  He’s enough emotional intelligence to know that to go to Joan on the rebound would be to use her – and that he would never do.

EXT. JOAN’S FLAT – NIGHT 4 (23.30)

ENDEAVOUR and JOAN come down the street to her front door. The walk has sobered ENDEAVOUR somewhat.

JOAN: How’s it going with you and Jim?

ENDEAVOUR: It’s not exactly the Yellow House. But it means we can both put something away. I should have enough for a deposit on somewhere by next year.

JOAN: A man of property.

ENDEAVOUR: I suppose.

JOAN: Didn’t Jane Austen have something to say about a single man in possession of a good fortune?

ENDEAVOUR: It’ll hardly be Netherfield Park. (the thought strikes him) Since when do you throw around Austen quotations?

JOAN: You didn’t need to walk me back, you know.

ENDEAVOUR: Old habits.

And here it is. Joan’s flat. No Fred to tap on the window. Nothing to stop them.

JOAN: Do you want to come in?

In the space between the question and the answer – stars are born and die.

ENDEAVOUR: Coffee?

Of course not ‘coffee’!

JOAN: Yeh.

And all he wants is there before him.

ENDEAVOUR: I don’t go much for coffee.

As the moment slips by…

ENDEAVOUR (cont’d): Besides…

JOAN: Besides?

Another moment, and he would be lost forever. What he wants to say is, I don’t trust myself.’ What he says is:-

ENDEAVOUR: Things to do.

JOAN: Okay. Goodnight, then.

She gives him a peck. ENDEAVOUR reacts.

JOAN (cont’d): What?

ENDEAVOUR leans in to her hair, to breathe her in…

JOAN: Morse…

ENDEAVOUR: Vespertine.

DAMIAN: Vespertine! There’s more references to James Bond and various other Cold War/Spy films and television than you could shake a loaded umbrella at but it would probably prove very dull if I kept asking if such and such is from so and so and you kept simply replying ‘yes’ so instead, can I just ask what some of the most potent screen images related to the genre were running through your head as you wrote QUARTET?

RUSS:  I think for a while the film was called ‘VESPERTINE’ – but it wasn’t particularly a nod to Miss Lynd.  Well — this was our out and out salute to the 60s spy genre, and we only get to do these things once… so the Len Deighton/Harry Palmer trilogy loomed large, as it always does.

Things like The Quiller Memorandum. A Dandy in Aspic. Of the Bonds – Goldfinger.  The pre-credit sequence and Auric’s factory. That’s what I was reaching for with Endeavour prowling around the perfume factory after dark. Alas. It was fun to take him up to that London. Albert Hall and the tube station.

DAMIAN: If we could end on quite a serious matter which relates to a lot of the themes of the episode, the terribly sad and shocking Salisbury poisoning happened only shortly after QUARTET was broadcast, now, would you have had to rewrite the script or postpone broadcast if the appalling event had occurred earlier?

RUSS:  It’s quite possible.  Dark days.

DAMIAN: Finally, what can you say about FILM 3, CONFECTION?

RUSS:  Hard and soft centres abound.  Um… ‘69 marked the final entry in Gordon Murray’s ‘Three Colours Primary’ Trilogy, and with The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society landing in Nov.’68 – this sort of felt like a chance to bring things together over the final summer of the 60s.  Village Green is v.nostalgic – a harkening back to some supposed halcyon age. ‘Preserving the old ways…’ Well — I’m not sure all the old ways are worthy or deserving of being preserved. Nostalgia’s a bit of a slow poison. Seductive and comforting, but lethal in its way. Like too much sugar.

THE ENDEAVOUR INTERVIEWS 2019: Russell Lewis Part II

LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE

CARTOUCHE & PASSENGER

Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2019

DAMIAN: You were surprised I liked CARTOUCHE. Why exactly?

RUSS: I thought you might find it too frivolous – too knowing.

DAMIAN: I’ve tried a couple of times in the past to get you to tell me what your favourite episodes are but without much success. Since you’re unlikely to budge on this, perhaps you might instead at least acknowledge that some episodes are more important than others?

RUSS:  I don’t know if I’d agree with you over importance.  To borrow from Marge Gundersson, ‘People always need the little stamps.’

DAMIAN: Let’s look at it from a different perspective then; would you agree that it is unlikely that ITV, Mammoth Screen or yourself would wish to open or close a series of a highly respected Sunday-night detective drama with an episode featuring a mummy on the rampage in Oxford?

RUSS: I would. But while we probably wouldn’t open or close a run with a CARTOUCHE like number, if the entirety of the series followed suit then things might get a little samey.

INT. ROXY/CINEMA SCREEN – DAY 1

In darkness. A crackly, repeating MORSE CODE signal.

— .–. …

Onscreen: Black and white art-deco 1930s FILM LOGO — ‘MAMMOTH PICTURES STUDIOS’ wrapped around a spinning globe topped with a radio antenna sending ‘lightning bolts’ into the ether. An airship circumnavigates the sphere, against the rotation of the planet.

MUSIC of a distinctly Egyptian theme BEGINS… Black and White — TITLES against shifting desert sands. “MERIAM C. DENHAM presents EMIL VALDEMAR in THE PHARAOH’S CURSE” “Screenplay by W.P. Mayhew” “Directed by Von Mayerling.” &c.

DAMIAN: The original description for the Mammoth Pictures Studio logo was more reminiscent of the old RKO and Universal Pictures from the late twenties and early thirties and significantly different from the screen version. At what point did you have the ingenious idea of actually using a mammoth?

RUSS:  When we couldn’t clear the original homage.  I think I’ve mentioned before the legal minefield of clearance.

DAMIAN: It’s not actually Cavendish though is it?

RUSS:  Doubtless an antecedent.


Production designer Paul Cripps designed and built the Mammoth Pictures Studio logo; basically carving an iceberg from poly, bought a Mammoth which he then painted and sprayed. The background was also painted and then he simply stuck both the iceberg and mammoth on a turntable.

DAMIAN: This treasure must surely be proudly housed safely behind glass at Mammoth Screen?

RUSS:  Like the Anglia knight?  Alas. I haven’t seen it around the office.  

Brings back memories.

DAMIAN: I think I get that W.P. Mayhew was the drunken writer in Barton Fink, (Max) Von Mayerling was the silent movie director turned butler from Sunset Boulevard but is Meriam C. Denham a composite of King Kong director and producer Merian C. Cooper and the Carl Denham character from the same film?

RUSS:  Full marks.

DAMIAN: And accompanying those opening film credits, we hear Matthew Slater’s music score. Now, Matt has been doing a fantastic job as composer for most of the last couple of years or so -I think PREY was his first full score?- but CARTOUCHE was simply stunning wasn’t it and almost indistinguishable from a big Hollywood film soundtrack?

RUSS:  Matt’s an extraordinary talent, and his scores are a joy.  His work has spared our blushes on many an occasion.

DAMIAN: There’s been some great scores for horror and fantasy films such as Max Steiner’s work on King Kong, music for the Universal Monster Cycle of the 30s and 40s by composers like Paul Dessau, Hans J. Salter, Frank Skinner and Franz Waxman, in addition to the various artists, perhaps most notably James Bernard, who scored the Hammer films. I’m wondering if you listened to any of these while writing CARTOUCHE or discussed them with Matt as reference points because there’s definitely a Hammer influence in his score isn’t there?

RUSS:  Yeh, we talked about Waxman, and James Bernard.

DAMIAN: It’s perhaps no coincidence that amongst Valdemar’s credits, Buddy and Louie Meet the Pharaoh is mentioned because of all the various costumes and makeup designs for the character over the years, the one in CARTOUCHE most resembles the one in (Budd) Abbott and (Lou) Costello Meet the Mummy. Was this slightly low budget design the look you were going for?

RUSS:  Kind of.  The Hammers also started to look a bit ragged – no pun intended – very quickly. It was meant to invoke something of a B-picture, knocked out very quickly, and on a limited budget.  But Andy – our director – had a lot of fun with it.

DAMIAN: Despite having the most iconic makeup design, I’ve always found Karloff’s The Mummy to be a little slow and stagey much like Dracula as opposed to more cinematic masterpieces from Universal such Bride of Frankenstein, and actually much prefer Hammer’s The Mummy. Do you have a favourite?

RUSS:  A favourite Universal or a favourite Hammer – or a favourite Mummy?  I’m with you on Bride all the way.

DAMIAN: I meant a favourite Mummy. In comparison to other gothic literary characters such as Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, Jekyll and Hyde etc., the Mummy is possibly the least interesting and I just wondered from a writers perspective, which film you thought provided the most engaging characterisation?

RUSS:  Bubba Ho Tep.  I suppose the first two Brendan Fraser/Rachel Weisz Mummy pictures. And of those two, the second probably gives you the biggest window on Imhotep’s history, doesn’t it?  But – let’s be frank – as a franchise, it’s never been particularly deep, has it? I don’t think I mind the Karloff as much as you do.  It is pretty slow, but it does set down all the key lore. Probably the least said about the latest incarnation the better.

Boris Karloff in The Mummy (1932)
Christopher Lee in The Mummy (1959)

DAMIAN: After the success of individual horror character franchises such as Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man, Universal created a shared universe for these classic monsters. Now, considering that these films are meant to follow on from each other, it’s rather bizarre that Lionel Atwill is cast in so many and yet plays completely different characters including Inspector Krogh (Son of Frankenstein), Doctor Theodore Bohmer (The Ghost of Frankenstein), the Mayor (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man), Inspector Arnz (House of Frankenstein) and Inspector Holtz (House of Dracula). Regardless, with the nod to his name in the script and the character with the one arm, why has the memory of Atwill endured perhaps more than other supporting Universal character players such as my personal favourite, Dwight Frye?

RUSS:  I think – as you say – it was probably Atwill’s presence in so many different incarnations that guaranteed his immortality.  Ah – Dwight Frye. Will Dwight Frye make you Frye of Dwight?!

Lionel Atwill
Dwight Frye in this magnificent publicity still for Dracula (1931)

DAMIAN: I suppose in a similar vein to the Carry On films and other beloved institutes, Universal and Hammer had a repertoire of supporting roles players which we don’t quite see to the same extent in contemporary productions. Do you think that, in always striving to prove their versatility and avoid typecasting, it’s a pity we no longer enjoy character actors in the same way anymore?

RUSS:  Well, a Hammer never really felt like a Hammer without the appropriately named Michael Ripper, did it?  I just don’t think we make things the same way. The world changes. But I’m very grateful we’ve still got all those wonderful films, and those regular faces to enjoy.  

Michael Ripper who possibly appeared in more Hammer films than any other actor.

DAMIAN: And the Hammer Horrors featured many glamourous scream queens such as Valerie Leon and Ingrid Pitt but Veronica Carlson must still be a favourite who you mentioned in one of our early interviews and gets a nod in CARTOUCHE as Veronique Carlton. In your opinion, why is she the epitome of the 60s Hammer and British Horror scream queen?

RUSS:  I think it’s that she pulled off that extraordinary back to back double in ‘68 and ‘69 with the Count and then the Baron.  Dracula Has Risen from the Gravy — and Frankenstein Must be Dismayed.

Veronica Carlson
Veronique Carlton

DAMIAN: Apart from Bela Lugosi who died in 1956, which of the iconic horror actors would you have liked to have cast as Emil Valdemar if CARTOUCHE was actually made in the year in which it was set?

RUSS:  Well — we were thinking about Bogdanovich’s Targets a lot – which was a big jumping off point for the story.  So – it was Karloff the Uncanny, all the way. It would have had to be someone British and old enough to have served in the Great War.

Targets (1968) Boris Karloff is so scary he even makes himself jump.

DAMIAN: As always, there’s so many references in the episode such as Fu Manchu, the Corman/Price cycle and Poe more generally, that we can’t possibly discuss them all, although I thought the nod to Lauren Bacall (Betty Perske/Persky) was particularly lovely because she was actually a theatre usher in real life wasn’t she?

RUSS: Exactly that.

An early photo of Betty

DAMIAN: It was wonderful to see Thursday in such a (rare) good mood reminiscing about the cinema of his childhood although I was less impressed with Endeavour’s response – is he only interested in watching Ingmar Bergman films and -much later in life- Last Tango in Paris?

RUSS: Colin didn’t really give us much of a steer on his cinematic interests.  But Endeavour’s recollection of Saturday Morning Pictures are mine. I’m not sure if it made the cut – but his invocation of Dante made Damien Timmer chuckle, which always pleases me.

DAMIAN: Yes it did, something about all that screaming in the dark. However, for someone who consistently shows such a reverence in their writing for classic cinema, I’m somewhat surprised and confused by such negative recollections of Saturday Morning Pictures. I would have thought you would have more in common with Thursday than Endeavour in this regard?

RUSS:  Endeavour’s recollections are perhaps not unsurprisingly my recollection of the one and only trip I made to the Granada, St.John’s Hill for Saturday Morning Pictures. I can still hear the screaming.

DAMIAN: Starting with Carol this series, Endeavour begins his Casanova phase which I had a few problems with and hope to debate in a future interview, however, can you not think of a nice young lady to introduce to Strange for a change?

RUSS:  Well — we have seen him out on a double-date with Endeavour – to a Horror Double Bill appropriately enough.  Well — I look forward to discussing Endeavour’s Casanova phase. A one night stand with the least appropriate young woman imaginable – and a meaningful few months with Claudine, of whom he had hopes.  Some Casanova phase. Surely such Homework would warrant, ‘Must try harder!’ in the margin?

DAMIAN: And speaking of other halves, Bright is eating alone in the restaurant because his wife is otherwise engaged yet again! Come on now Russ, this is getting quite ridiculous unless Reginald has perhaps buried her under the patio or keeping her well-preserved mummified corpse in the fruit cellar?

RUSS:  It’s been quite fun keeping people guessing about Mrs.Bright.  We shall see.

DAMIAN: Towards the end of the episode, Charlie says ‘You’re the best of us, Fred’, to which Thursday replies, ‘The best of us never came home’. Earlier, when reminiscing about Saturday morning matinees as a child, Thursday mentions to Endeavour that he’d go in first and then ‘spring the window in the Gents for Chas and Billy’. Can you tell us more about Billy, presumably the youngest of the three Thursday brothers, or is this perhaps something you might elaborate on in a future story?

RUSS:  There is a story that tells us more about Billy – but whether we will get to make it is doubtful.  The exchange rate has taken a bit of a hit since I first had it in mind — and probably rules it out.

DAMIAN: You make the parallels between ex-Detective Sergeant Ronald Beavis and Endeavour quite explicit with similar characters traits and shared interests including a passion for opera; the two even have the same Rosalind Calloway performance of La Traviata LP – oh, just out of curiosity, why were you so specific in the script that the record not have her image on the sleeve?

RUSS:  Was I? I think I just wanted to avoid the LP Endeavour had signed in the very first film also being owned by Beavis. As if it were the ONLY Rosalind Calloway recording in existence.

DAMIAN: Anyway, after leaving the museum at the end of the episode, there’s a discussion of the parallels between Beavis and Endeavour and Thursday says ‘he’d no family to keep him on the straight. Lot to be said for family’, to which Endeavour replies, ‘What if you don’t have one? Is that how you finish your days? Alone in some two-bob kip with nothing but a bottle for company?’. Thursday ends the discussion with, ‘That was his future. Not yours. You’ll make better choices’. First of all, does Thursday really believe this, and secondly, would he, if not really approve, then reluctantly give his consent -at this particular moment in time at least- if such choices included Joan?

RUSS:  I don’t think there’s any reason for Fred to think Endeavour won’t make better choices.  His first thought would be of Joan’s happiness. If being with Endeavour made her happy, then I’m sure Thursday would be behind her all the way.  

DAMIAN: Of course, we know how it ends for Endeavour, but the way the scene is written suggests that he does too. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that loneliness is a subjective experience. For someone like Endeavour with all his emotional baggage and psychological damage, his loneliness and estrangement might foster a self-defeating attitude in that the more he marginalises himself, the more his protracted loneliness intensifies, and becomes increasingly difficult to break free from such a mindset that negatively influences his perception of relationships making him more pessimistic as to their outcome (as might be the case with Joan or Susan Fallon for that matter). To what extent would you agree with all this and has Endeavour -again, at this point in the story- accepted his fate or is he simply just a miserable sod?

RUSS:  No – I don’t think he’s accepted his fate at all at this point.  Did he ever? He always seemed optimistic when pursuing romance. In this instance, I think Endeavour was rattled by finding some similarities with Beavis – primarily, the music – and beyond that, the want of family.  And, of course, he was an ex-copper.

DAMIAN: And so without further delay or cancellation, we arrive at possibly one of the most beautifully shot films of this or any other series of Endeavour. You’ve often found inspiration from poetry during the conception and development of characters such as Thursday (Henry Reed’s Lessons of the WarNaming of Parts in particular) and Bright (Betjeman’s Subaltern’s Love Song), so I’m wondering if there’s any deeper significance to your inclusion of WH Auden’s Night Mail in PASSENGER beyond the theme of trains?

RUSS:  Well – all credit to Jim Field Smith and DoP Jamie Cairney.  For my part, it was just an early memory of a re-run of the 1936 documentary that ends with the verse.  The British Documentary Film Movement is an endless source of wonder and inspiration. But ‘Night Mail’… probably melts a bit into the train journey in ‘I Know Where I’m Going’. Trains – particularly the old steamers – have an innate air of romance, mystery and – for our purposes – danger.  That ‘The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations’ makes the list of ‘These Foolish Things’ is no accident. The Orient Express. The Blue Train. The 4:50 From Paddington. All aboard!

DAMIAN: Interestingly, Auden was addicted to the crime genre and had some very particular opinions about it which shaped the poem, Detective Story, and an essay on the subject, The Guilty Vicarage, in which he makes a series of observations while deconstructing the Whodunit formula including the discourse between good and evil, the ethical and eristic conflict between Us and Them and the dialectics of innocence and guilt, while also identifying its five essential elements: milieu, victim, murderer, suspects and detectives. Perhaps even more than Sherlock Holmes’ more cosmopolitan and diverse Victorian London for example, I wonder if it’s milieu that’s particularly applicable to the Morse Universe if we view Oxford as a kind of garden of Eden in which the various sins don’t necessarily attract evil to the city, but instead reveal the evil that already inhabits the dreaming spires hiding under the gown of piousness and respectability?

RUSS:  ‘As the milieu told its tale…’  I think much of Auden’s take on the Whodunit applies particularly to the Golden Age and the notion of Mayhem Parva.  It probably starts to break down when applied to Bay City. Oxford as a Garden of Eden? I guess I’m with you about the frailties of human nature residing there already – rather than something that arrives with an interloper.  (Though that may change…) But no more or less than any other town of a like size. Don’t be fooled for a moment by the architecture. Or by the trappings of academe. The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. A juicy and coveted Chair is just as likely to be pursued, as is the wife or daughter of another don. Clixby Bream come on down! That’s one of the many things Colin did so well in the novels. And he knew that world better than most. Where abideth man, there abideth sin.  

Richard Briers as Sir Clixby Bream in the original Morse: Death is Now My Neighbour

DAMIAN: And perhaps Endeavour represents this loss of innocence more acutely than either Inspector Morse or Lewis ever did?

RUSS:  Yes, I think that’s fair to say. We have a much younger protagonist. And a romantic to boot. He was always going to have much further to fall. But I think that one of the things about his older incarnation is some part of that hope still remains. That’s what lends it its melancholy. And, of course, it’s what redeems him.

DAMIAN: One aspect of Auden’s musings on the detective story that certainly can’t be applied to Endeavour is that the characters are not changed in or by their actions. Indeed, reflecting on the heartbreak and misery frequently bestowed upon Endeavour and Joan for example, how far are you willing to go in putting your loyal and loving audience on a downer?

RUSS:  Does it bring the audience down, do you think?  One of the great, unlooked for delights of writing this thing has been charting the push and pull of those binary stars. Who knew?

I don’t know about putting the audience on a downer, but how far am I willing to go with telling that story?  All the way. Always.

EXT. JOAN’S FLAT/ROOF – DAY

JOAN clambers up through a skylight onto the roof. ENDEAVOUR follows. By the time he’s out and into the daylight, with the resultant queasiness of realisation that he’s up high. JOAN is at the edge, looking out over OXFORD.

JOAN: It was the view I fell in love with.

ENDEAVOUR’S POV: JOAN against a backdrop of magic hour Oxford – a sky of pink and pearl.

ENDEAVOUR: Yes.

A world contained in a single word. If his heart were to stop now, it would be enough. To die in the moment of perfection. Like…

ENDEAVOUR (cont’d): Cherry blossom.

His whisper lost on the breeze.

JOAN: You can’t see from there. Come closer.

ENDEAVOUR: This is as close as I get.

And it is. And ever will be.

ENDEAVOUR (cont’d): Come back now.

And it is. And ever will be.

JOAN: Scared of heights?

ENDEAVOUR: Not heights. Just falling…

DAMIAN: Fans may occasionally debate the merits of certain plot points and the motivation of various suspects or perpetrators but there can be little doubt that scenes such as this clearly demonstrate your transcendent and unrivalled talent for consistently writing characters in a detective drama that we all care about so very deeply. Knowing that you will almost certainly deflect the compliment in your now familiar self-effacing and reticent maner, I challenge you to give me an example of just one other detective drama written for TV that consistently delivers both the mystery and emotion of Endeavour.

RUSS:  I don’t watch enough to have a representative sample upon which to draw. But, I think if all we were doing was constructing a puzzle for the audience to solve, it would be a very dreary exercise.  A much bigger conversation probably, but, ‘Why write at all?’ Why tell stories? It’s about making a connection, isn’t it? One heart speaking to another. I think if you’re going to do it at all, then you have to be prepared to go all in.  The audience can sniff out fakery at 500 yards. You might be dressing something up in slightly different clothes, or presenting it at one or more remove — but the initial impulse – the thing you’re having these characters saying – has to come from something real.

The plot and the whodunit are hugely important – but it’s the emotional beats that I suspect will outlast the conundrum. “All the feels”, as I believe the young people have it.  Like the man said, “Nobody goes home whistling the scenery”.

DAMIAN: And then you almost go and spoil it all by following such a beautiful scene by having Claudine appear and Endeavour lighting a cigarette for her which I have two problems with: firstly, although I understand that one of the functions of the scene was Joan wanting to introduce Endeavour to someone who might look after him, doesn’t the smile he gives Claudine show his instant attraction to her despite having literally just walked away from Joan only seconds earlier and somewhat undermine his passion and love for Joan and all the pink, pearl and cherry blossom?

RUSS:  C’est la vie, mon vieux.

DAMIAN: The second aspect was Endeavour lighting her cigarette; why would he even be carrying a lighter when he doesn’t smoke? – yet!

RUSS:  You will recall Thursday’s advice to Trewlove concerning cigarettes.  We forget now – in these more health conscious times – the social connection and conviviality that was part of the theatre of nicotine.  “Cigarette?” was a great ice-breaker. An instant connection. For a detective dealing with those who have witnessed terrible things – to be able to offer a cigarette to someone ‘in shock’ was considered at the very least an act of kindness.  Likewise – in interview, with a suspect or indeed the guilty party – the bestowal or withholding of tobacco – is a tool in the box. For Endeavour to be tootling about without a box of smokes would be a bit of a shortcoming.

DAMIAN: In response to my question in our last interview regarding how much longer the show could continue, you said that there’s a little way to go yet, but, you are starting to say goodbye. Therefore, given there’s a few other characters from the original series yet to make an appearance, I wonder if there’s still time to see Endeavour and Susan Fallon reunited and if so, is there even enough room for yet another doomed relationship – I mean how many great, ill-fated loves can one man have?

RUSS:  I think it unlikely we’ll see Susan Fallon.  The Prime Directive is all. Yet another doomed relationship?  Well — given where we found him in ‘87 and left him at the end of century, one might argue that ALL his relationships were doomed.  How many great, ill-fated loves can one man have? I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Enter — DI RONNIE BOX, (30s), a young thief-taker, and DS PATRICK DAWSON, (30s), a mordant, humourless, career copper – a young Kenneth Colley.

BRIGHT: Ah. Perfect timing.

DAMIAN: Why now in this particular episode and what does Dawson’s relationship with Box say about his character here and in his future incarnation?

RUSS:  There is perhaps more to tell on that score.  We shall see if room is available.

DAMIAN: Unlike the antagonist DS Peter Jakes who audiences eventually began to warm to, there can’t be any such redemption for a character as despicable as DI Ronnie Box can there?

RUSS:  Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?  

DAMIAN: Was his introduction here planned to set up the character (and storylines) as a regular for the sixth series?

RUSS:  Box certainly played into the evolution of the Sixth Series.

DAMIAN: I think we may have spoke about the use of clichéd and stereotypical archetypes before and how they can be both useful -especially in detective stories in terms of misdirecting the audience- but also dangerous for a writer. In retrospect, do you think that a stuttering trainspotter who still lives with his mother was a bit much?

RUSS:  Clearly not.  One might as well be hung for a sheep.  The major story here concerned… well – it’s not possible to set down what it concerned without spoilers.  But, one thing that did horrify me was a suggestion that one was presenting a character on the autistic spectrum.  I’d grant ‘English eccentric’ and ‘flawed and malignant personality’- but when it comes to autism nothing could have been further from our intentions.  A moment’s thought about that – given some of the things we’ve done elsewhere in the show – and I’d hope anyone would realise that, if such was indeed our intent, then we’d never engineer such a crass depiction.

DAMIAN: Did you ever have a train set?

RUSS:  I did. Hornby.  But like South West Trains, I could never get it to run properly.

DAMIAN: Some lovely cultural references again in this episode such as Norborough Station (60s Avengers) but I would have put money on nods to The Signal-man or Brief Encounter – did I miss them?

RUSS:  We are ever constrained by what can be delivered.  I had wanted to use the original location for The Signalman – but it lay far beyond our reach.  ‘Hallo! Below there!’ Brief Encounter… I don’t know if it made the cut – but I’m pretty sure we’ve nodded to ‘taking books back to Boots’ elsewhere.

DAMIAN: I could have understood Bates Motel (indeed, there’s a slight reference: ‘Twenty-four chalets, twenty-four vacancies’) but bloody Crossroads Motel! You’ve given us countless tales that witness your fanaticism for Tony Hancock, Carry On films and The Beatles but why on earth would you even think of paying homage to such a decrepit piece of soap opera history?

RUSS:  Damien Timmer is very fond of Crossroads, and was very keen to honour it. Lest we forget, when Miss Diane left Kings Oak, she tipped up in… of all places…  a certain city of dreaming spires. Easy to knock, of course — but it once commanded huge audiences, and the viewing nation hung spellbound on the fate of Meg and Sandy and Jill, and all the rest

But as always with Endeavour, one might imagine it to be A Crossroads, rather than necessarily THE Crossroads.  We rationalised it – kind of – thus, that once, perhaps, Hazel Adair and Peter Ling had taken a wrong turn on a lonely highway and ended up at our Crossroads, which had in turn inspired them to create their Crossroads.

You are right about Bates Motel, of course.  In fact, I think in the original iteration of the script there was an extended night driving sequence for Endeavour before he arrived.  Alas, time and budget, and poor man’s process, wait for no man. But I clearly thought it would have been funnier if we’d laid in a longer build-up to the reveal of his destination.

DAMIAN: And a certain Mrs. Turtle is referenced in the script and briefly seen on screen at the reception desk who looked remarkably similar to Ann George. Like Veronica Carlson, please tell me she wasn’t another one of your boyhood crushes?

RUSS:  I worked at ATV in Brum for some time in the early 70s — and we would often see the stars from Crossroad in the canteen, or heading into studio.  Ann George was quite glamorous in a furs and bling way – but, no, she never caught my imagination in quite the same way as Miss Carlson.

DAMIAN: What can you tell us about the second film of series 6, APOLLO?

RUSS:  Er, well — Shaun’s directed it.  And a very fine job he’s done, too.  William Goldman’s advice was ‘Give the star everything.’  So – I hope the moon will suffice. Seriously – it’s quite spooky the way it worked out.  Of all the films in all the series in all the world that he could have directed…

I’m sure I’ll have much more to say about it at a later date, but we were blessed to be joined on this film by Stephen La Riviere and his wonderfully talented team at Century 21.  He brought with him some absolute pioneers of British film and television. So, for a couple of days, our pretend past reached out across half a century and joined hands with those who had lived the real thing.  It also marks (and will remain) my only onscreen appearance in Endeavour, and proves that sometimes one’s childhood dreams really can come true.

Damian and Russ meet for their very first interview at a Japanese Monster Convention

THE ENDEAVOUR INTERVIEWS 2019: Caroline O’Neill

Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2019

DAMIAN: Given all the stars who appeared there during the sixties such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Dusty Springfield, Jimmy Clitheroe, Sid James and Arthur Askey for example, Blackpool must have been an exciting place to grow up?

CAROLINE: Our house was FULL of Marvin Gaye, Dianna Ross and The Four Tops, soul music. I was lucky enough to see Dianna Ross at the Opera House in 1976 when I was 15, amazing! Blackpool was a fabulous place to be and I was lucky to see many artist as a teenager: The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kate Bush as well as Genesis and Led Zeppelin – the 70s were amazing and I was going to concerts all the time.

DAMIAN: Do you think this influenced your decision to work in show business?

CAROLINE: I don’t think so. I sort of ended up doing drama by default. I had been pretty lax at studying for my O Levels and my mum said I had to get some qualifications. So I went along to St Anne’s College and, among other subjects, I did Drama. Life changing. It was an incredible Drama Course and my head was turned. No looking back, that was what I wanted to do. Some fabulous actors have been through that course – David Thewlis and John Simm to name a couple.

DAMIAN: In addition to your work in theatre, you’ve had a prolific career in television appearing in Coronation Street, A Touch of Frost, Waking the Dead, EastEnders, Whitechapel, Happy Valley, Doc Martin and Last Tango in Halifax to name but a few. As you look back on all these productions, I wonder which you feel most proud of or have especially fond memories working on?

CAROLINE: I have to say Coronation Street, not so much for my work on it, but for the fact that growing up we watched it all the time, it was huge. The feeling of walking into the Granada building in Manchester, and being on such an iconic show was amazing. Doc Martin was a dream as everyone, particularly Martin, was a joy. Getting to play an addict, like Lynn Dewhurst in Happy Valley, is a really exciting challenge for any actor, and I loved getting my teeth into such an extreme character. The York Realist at the Royal Court Theatre, London, was maybe my proudest theatre moment. It was a hugely successful production and I made a life long friend in Anne Reid – who’s a huge Endeavour fan!

DAMIAN: I’m curious about your first appearance in the world of Colin Dexter with Lewis. Russell Lewis wrote some of the episodes including that all important first one, how do you think his vision of contemporary Oxford compares to the period Endeavour?

CAROLINE: Russell manages to recreate a whole new world in Endeavour through the tone and language of his scripts. He writes the period like no one else could. And it’s the harmonious relationship between the writing and the fantastic costume and set designs that bring 60s Oxford to life in the show.

And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea

DAMIAN: Since the introduction of Win, Joan and Sam during the first series, to what extent do you think that the Thursdays were a surrogate for Endeavour in the absence of a loving family of his own?

CAROLINE: In the early seasons when everyone was at home, and we had all those lovely bustling breakfasts and dinners, Endeavour would arrive to pick up Fred… oh yes I do feel he had a little yearning for that. Win is such a warm and maternal character, I think she felt Endeavour needed looking after at times. She was also always aware that Fred had an almost paternal, protective relationship with Endeavour, and wanted to help nurture that.

I also think that from the first visit, Endeavour enjoyed coming round because there was that immediate chemistry between Joan and himself – I think Win picked up on that straight away.

DAMIAN: For the first few years at least, until Sam joined the army and Joan went AWOL, I suspect that, like Endeavour, Sunday-night viewers savoured the respite from grisly murders for just a few minutes to enjoy the comfort and cosiness of the Thursday family enjoying a meal round the table or sharing a box of chocolates while watching TV together on the sofa. Given the lovely chemistry between Roger, Sara, Jack and yourself, did you as an actor also feel a certain sense of loss?

CAROLINE: I always feel how lucky I am to be in this show and a part of the Thursday family, they’re all such lovely actors, and it did just work so well on set. I certainly miss having them around. Their leaving home also coincided with both my daughters leaving home, one off to University and the other to Boarding School, and you do grieve the change, the quiet… the sense of loss as your role as a parent changes, so playing Win became quite poignant. It would be fabulous to have all the Thursdays back for some celebration together before the final episode… Russell?

DAMIAN: And of course even you left, leaving poor old Fred alone at the end of last series because he loaned (and lost) a large portion of their retirement money to his brother, Charlie. I can understand that Win would have liked to have had a say in the matter but wouldn’t she have said no anyway?

CAROLINE: Truly, I believe Win would go with what Fred had wanted to do in the end. Though she does hold her own – she would have put up a fight and tried to talk him out of it, definitely! I imagine they might have negotiated how much to give him too. I think her disappointment in this awful situation was the secrecy and deceit – family means everything to Win – which is why I do think she would have ultimately wanted to help Charlie. But at the centre of the Thursday family is trust and honesty, both of which were tested in that situation.

DAMIAN: And was it selfish of Win to want Fred to give up coppering so they can compete dance competitions?

CAROLINE: Win has stood by Fred through twenty-seven years of coppering and I think she felt it was time to have something else in their lives. Not just for her, for both of them. It was something he enjoyed too. I think if things had turned out differently with Charlie, who knows…

DAMIAN: Given the fact that many of your scenes are set in the Thursday kitchen or dining room, was it something of a lovely surprise to read the script and see you would be ballroom dancing?

CAROLINE: My goodness yes! I don’t think Win had been out of the house for five films! -I may be slightly exaggerating there- but it was fabulous to have the opportunity to explore another side to their characters. And Roger is a wonderful dance partner. It was a really fun little project.

DAMIAN: What was Roger’s reaction and can you tell me a little bit about the two of you rehearsing the choreography?

CAROLINE: I think Roger was as surprised and delighted as I was! Particularly at the level of competition we had reached. It was great fun to film, but important it looked good – a bit of a challenge as neither of us had ballroom danced before! So we went off to a studio for a few hours and the marvellous, patient, Sally and friend, they were both brilliant in making us look good, took us through the routines and filmed them so we could practice in our kitchens

THURSDAY: (soaking in the view) God, I love this place. You should’ve seen their faces – Win and the kids – [when] I brought ‘em here for the first time. We’d been two-up, back to back in the Smoke. Outside lav. One cold tap. Mind – Win kept it spotless. Spotless. (a moment) ‘Is this Heaven, Dad?’ Joan. You know. Little face looking up. Those blue eyes. Couldn’t believe somewhere like this existed. Not after bomb-sites and soot. Was like we’d stepped out of black and white and into colour.

-SERIES 5, FILM 6: ICARUS

DAMIAN: I remember discussing the relationship between Endeavour and Joan a few years ago with Russ when I asked him at what point he decided that they’d fall for each other and he replied, ‘From the moment I had her open the door to him for the first time’. Not only beautiful, but it also shows what foresight and understanding he has for the characters. Did you ever discuss Fred and Win’s history with Russ prior to their move to Oxford?

CAROLINE: I think Russel has an extraordinary ability to write for individual characters, little idiosyncrasies and mannerism in their speech and behaviour carry so much story. And coming back to Win each series has always felt like putting on comfortable shoes. I think he had a clear idea of where he was taking Fred and Win and it was always exciting to see the journey. Moving to the house in Oxford is quite symbolic of what it means to be a Thursday family member really, they worked hard to achieve what they did and have that to show for it. It’s the simple things in life that matter most to Win – her family, her home.

THURSDAY: A policeman’s lot is not a happy one, I’m told. But the lot of a policeman’s wife hardly gets a mention. But while I’ve been out running around, nabbing villains and generally playing silly buggers… the real brains of the outfit has made a house a home, raised two children, our children. Seen ‘em off to school each morning, clean and smart. And somehow, even with all that to do, there’s always been a hot meal for me when I get home. Twenty-five years ago I got the best bit of luck any man ever had. The toast is… my Win.

-SERIES 2, FILM 4: SWAY

DAMIAN: One of my favourite storylines is from SWAY in which Thursday is reunited with his old war sweetheart, Luisa Armstrong. Do you think he would have continued to see her in secret had she not committed suicide?

CAROLINE: Mine too Damian, I loved working with Andy Wilson on that episode and the anniversary scene was so great. You’re aware that some scenes get cut from the final episode, and this is a case in point. Russell had written a wonderful scene where you saw Win’s strength and tenacity. Win actually spoke to Luisa and made it clear she was not going anywhere and neither was her and Fred’s relationship.

I don’t believe he would have continued to see her, Win is his one true love. We can all see the past through rose tinted glasses, and first loves will always hold a special place in one’s heart, but I don’t think he would risk losing Win.

THURSDAY: We were friends once.

LUISA: That’s the last thing we were. Friendship takes time. What did we have? Two months? Three? If that. There wasn’t room for friendship too.

THURSDAY: Don’t tell me. I was there. I remember everything. Everything. Every moment like nothing before or since. It’s here. Still. Forever. The scent of the pines. The sun on the water. So vivid. And you. All above everything, I remember you.

LUISA: Don’t.

THURSDAY: Your eyes.

LUISA: You can’t say these things. You can’t, not to me.

THURSDAY: I’ve no-one else to say them to.

DAMIAN: Do you think Fred betrayed Win with words such as these?

CAROLINE: The relationship Fred had with Luisa was something extremely special at a time when the whole world was being torn apart in the war. He obviously felt deeply for Luisa, and he reminisces here about it. But I think he truly loves Win and, free of the pressures of fleeting, war-torn romance, their love is completely different. Those memories are real, but so are the many memories he has with Win: having children buying a home, sharing the last piece of cake on a Sunday afternoon – that’s real Thursday love!  

DAMIAN: And in Luisa’s words, ‘Every life holds one great love. One name to hold onto at the end. One face to take into the dark’. No marriage is easy, but despite their ups and downs, it’ll still be Win’s face that Fred takes into the dark with him won’t it?

CAROLINE: Oh yes, they’re soul mates and have gone through thick and thin together.

DAMIAN: One last question because Russ won’t tell me, so I’m hoping you can finally reveal what Fred has on his Wednesday sandwich?

CAROLINE: I will keep you guessing…

DAMIAN: Caroline, thank you very much indeed.

CAROLINE: Thanks so much Damian!

THE ENDEAVOUR INTERVIEWS 2019: Russell Lewis Part I

Cavendish, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Cowley anymore…

THE PROLOGUE

1969: It is a new year; a new era for Oxford’s finest. A new unit base houses the set of the new police station where both old and new characters have been gathering since just before 8am in readiness to shoot scenes for Film 1 of the sixth series of Endeavour. Oh, and of course, Endeavour is sporting a new moustache.

It’s the 21st day of shooting for this film although it’s the 44th in total thus far as Film 2 was shot beforehand. Unlike my previous visit to unit base which was in Beaconsfield last year and its location safe to disclose as it would be used for the final time to make way for the redevelopment of the property, I’d better not reveal where we are this time. However, I can tell you that filming today at the impressive Thames Valley Police Station set are interior scenes in various individual offices as well as CID and the lobby with an equally impressive roll call including Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, Anton Lesser, Simon Harrison, Richard Riddell and Colin Tierney who plays a character called ACC Bottoms.

Bottoms! Despite various attempts, Anton gets the giggles every time he has to say the name ‘Bottoms’ and after one particular take, Shaun and the rest of the cast and crew are treated to him doing impressions of Frankie Howerd. Now, if you’ve never heard Anton Lesser, the great RADA-trained actor and former associate artist of the RSC, do Frankie Howerd while in costume as Reginald Bright, then you’d better hope and pray that ITV/Mammoth Screen include the outtakes on a DVD release one day as evidence of this most momentous of moments in television history.

Putting such titters aside, in many ways ‘69 is a new beginning for the series and yet, one can’t help but feel -my glass eternally half empty- that this might just be the beginning of the end. Shaun Evans seems to be increasingly interested in directing while Roger Allam is in constant demand across film, television and theatre. Besides which, would Endeavour really be the same show that we have come to know and love if it were set during the seventies?

I can think of no one better to ask than the man who devised the show and has written every one of its 27 episodes, please join me in paying attention to the man behind the curtain – the wonderful wizard of Oxon – Mr. Russell Lewis…

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY SLAUGHTERHOUSE

An exclusive ENDEAVOUR interview with Russell Lewis

Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2019

DAMIAN: Russ, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that Endeavour has millions of worldwide fans who would be absolutely devastated if the show were to end any time soon. However, realistically, how much longer can it go on for?

RUSS:  I don’t think there’s a danger of running out of stories — but for various reasons it’s probably safe to say that we’re closer to the end than the beginning.  There’s a little way to go yet, but, for better or worse, we are starting to say goodbye.

DAMIAN: Could the show still work if set during the seventies?

RUSS:  I don’t see why not.  I’d always thought ‘69 was a natural terminus – but my long term partner in crime Damien Timmer [executive producer and co-managing director of Mammoth Screen] has always felt that we could move into the early 70s quite happily.  He’s usually right about such things. So we shall see. There’s something that appeals to me in leaving things a little ragged at the edges.

DAMIAN: Why was Film 2 shot before Film 1, don’t you usually shoot in chronological order?

RUSS:  Well — it’s no great secret, now – but Shaun Evans directed FILM 2, and that needed to shoot first so he had time to prep the film.  He couldn’t have prepped his film if he was busy shooting FILM 1.

DAMIAN: And why has Endeavour grown a moustache this year?

RUSS:  Mmm. I hope this will become clear in the watching. I’d seen Shaun do Miss Julie/Black Comedy at Chichester a few years ago — he sported a tache and, I think, a little soul patch, goatee number — and that look stuck in my head.  There may also – subconsciously – have been some wish to reflect the change from the lovable mop-tops of the early part of the decade to the altogether hairier gentlemen striding across the zebra crossing outside Abbey Road.

People change hair styles – hair colour – try a beard for a while – all the time. You might keep it a month or two – or a year or so, and then change your mind, and move on to something else.  It didn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that it’s something he might have tried. It seems odd to me that – when it comes to their look — all fictional characters should have to be set in aspic.  That’s their look in Series 1, and that’s what they look like through to Series whatever. Particularly as Endeavour’s always been about a young man becoming an older man. We change – we evolve. So should characters.  It shouldn’t just be confined to the clothes somebody wears. Endeavour’s wardrobe – Thursday’s Wardrobe – Strange, Joan, Dorothea, Win — their clothes are subtly updated as each year rolls by.

But as I say — there’s a deeper reason for it too.

DAMIAN: I thought that last year’s scripts were arguably the best example so far of you structuring the various story and character arcs across the series. Do you think this might be because you knew that all the events had to lead up to the end of Oxford City Police and Cowley station, you had to write out two of the main characters, you had an extra two films to work with than usual, or simply that you’re becoming a more skilled screenwriter?

RUSS: Thanks – that’s very good of you to say – I think.  It was nice to have a larger canvas – so one could let things breathe a bit more.  We always know where we’re going to end up each Series – but the changes at the end of 1968 were perhaps seismic.

DAMIAN: Let’s focus on MUSE, the first episode from series 5 which in addition to the usual abundance of assorted cultural references, showcases an impressive knowledge of art including works by Caravaggio and Rembrandt. Now, I hope we know each other well enough by now that you won’t be offended when I mention that you didn’t receive the best education. Indeed, your days at school were rather sporadic (transcendental apex predators and suchlike) and I don’t think you ever went to college or university. However, it’s immediately obvious to anyone speaking to you in person or reading your scripts that you are undoubtedly an extremely knowledgeable and cultured man. I’m sure the internet has proved invaluable for research but you have to know what to put in the search engine in the first place (for example you wouldn’t just come across Weibermacht/Power of Women or something relevant to the theme of sexual hierarchy by chance) so where does all this knowledge and culture come from?

RUSS:  The only thing of which I’m acutely aware are the vast gaps in that which passes for the things of which I have a rudimentary grasp.  I always read a lot. One book begets another. Something catches one’s interest – and one reads around the subject. But like most con-men, frauds, bluffers and lawyers, I have a nose for knowing how to find things that are useful to my purposes.  And across 5 & 6 I’ve been aided and abetted by Amy Thurgood – who has a very fine story mind, and is very good at chivvying things out that we can press into service.

DAMIAN: You originally wrote a beautifully detailed and wonderfully epic opening for MUSE set in Russia featuring the Romanovs and Bolshevik soldiers. Did you not anticipate that all this information could be more economically conveyed to the audience in a slideshow lecture as it appears in the broadcast version?

RUSS:  Ha! Sometimes things are not realised to quite the degree one would wish.  The lecture was a late additional pick-up. But in intention at least there seemed to be a interesting parallel between 1918/1968 and knowing it would transmit in 2018.  Revolution, political upheaval, extremism of one sort or another in the air. A sense of some sort of history repeating. Prague, &c.

DAMIAN: As most Endeavour films do, MUSE begins with scenes intercut with the opening title cards which often serve to set up the story, its various subplots and characters but I was particularly intrigued with two juxtaposing scenes of the aforementioned lecture on the Fabergé egg (called ‘Innocence’ also known as ‘Nastya’s Egg’) and the demise of Oxford City Police. In addition to the more obvious parallels with the call girls and exotic dancers, was the egg also a deliberate way of symbolising the end of innocence for Endeavour and his colleagues at Cowley or a foreshadowing of new life and rebirth into Thames Valley?

RUSS:  The egg arose from wanting to include the fate of the Romanovs.  I had a dig around some of the missing eggs – and those commissioned and undelivered at the time of the Revolution — and it felt like we had the wriggle room to arrive at something meant for Anastasia.  The parallel between what had happened to her, the issue at the heart of the matter, and Artemisia Gentileschi. All of these things felt complementary – connected in some way. The Me Too Movement. Where we’d left Joan at the end of 1968.  All of that was in my mind. I wanted to do a collect the set serial killer type number — but I didn’t want to add to the long catalogue of dead women as entertainment. I think with the exception of SWAY, where it was germane to what we were about, we’ve always tried to be an equal opportunity slaughterhouse.

DAMIAN: Given that we’ve touched on the subject of James Bond so many times in our previous interviews (indeed, there’s another reference in MUSE with the Maurice Binder style of projected images onto the women at the party), might I be forgiven for thinking of Roger Moore in Octopussy every time the Fabergé egg is mentioned?

RUSS:  Yeh — it was absolutely Maurice Binder, and specifically From Russia With Love I’d had in mind.

But the idea of these images projected onto a woman’s body seemed in keeping with the general theme of the piece.

The Thomas Crown Affair
The Thomas Crown Affair

The Male Gaze, etc. We were playing around also with The Thomas Crown Affair.

MUSE
The Thomas Crown Affair
MUSE
The Thomas Crown Affair
MUSE
The Thomas Crown Affair

INT. GYMNASIUM – NIGHT 1

Boxing match. Two AMATEURS knock seven bells out of each other for the entertainment of a roaring crowd. Blood and resin.

RINGSIDE — EDDIE NERO (50s), a small town big cheese who saw too many George Raft movies. Flanked by ICE CREAM BLONDE brasses, and a COHORT of arm-twisters and jaw-breakers, EDDIE seems to live every punch; ducking and weaving in his seat, regretful that he’s not the one in the ring dishing it out.

With his bared teeth, and goading, ‘Have him!’, EDDIE’s relish of the violence borders on the edge of something carnal.

DAMIAN: We’ve often seen rather polite and cultivated villains across Inspector Morse, Lewis and Endeavour, so I’m wondering if the creation of a character like Eddie Nero, combined with the following description early in the script for MUSE: ‘The decade has turned. The promise of the Summer of Love withered upon the vine. Comedown faces. Sour. Sallow. Tired.’, is evidence of you attempting to paint a more bleak and gritty portrait of Oxford than we are usually accustomed to?

RUSS:  I think we’ve always tried balance the ivory tower/college side of things – which is Endeavour’s world – with Thursday’s slightly more grounded world of cops and villains.  But, yes – looking at period material – newsreels, cultural material – I certainly picked up on a sense of comedown after ‘67. Hope deferred. Paradise indefinitely postponed. The Garden of Eden become rank with sedge and weeds.  The aspiration was a beautiful thing, though it took one hell of a beating – Vietnam; Doctor King; Bobby Kennedy. For a long time it’s felt as if – to borrow a phrase – ‘John Doe has the upper hand.’ The Man. The Establishment. Lately, the gangster states.  Call it what you will. But the dream endures. The reverses are painful, but temporary. ‘All you fascists bound to lose.’

DAMIAN: Didn’t Emperor Nero also have a gym?

RUSS: Up at the Golden Palace?  I don’t think he used it much.

DAMIAN: Personally, one of the highlights of series 5 were the scenes between Endeavour and Strange sharing a flat together. A beautiful example from this film would be Endeavour trying his best to focus on his Times crossword while Strange is reading a tabloid newspaper and slurping tea from the other side of the breakfast table. All a bit Morecambe and Wise wasn’t it?

RUSS:  We were going for Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple (1968) throughout.

DAMIAN: How did you come up with the wonderful idea of Strange playing the trombone?

RUSS:  It seemed his natural instrument.  

DAMIAN: Thursday was shot at the end of the second series and the third picks up months later after all the drama of his recovery and the reaction of his family happens off-screen, similarly and also off-screen, Endeavour discovers Joan is pregnant and asks her to marry him at the end of series 4 but months later, we learn in MUSE that she ‘slipped’. Would it be fair to say that you’re better at creating dramatic and emotional cliffhangers than you are at resolving them in an equally dramatic and emotional way?

RUSS:  Mmm. Well — that would be one way of looking at it.  My feeling is that a lie agreed upon – that Joan ‘slipped’ – says a deal more than a plonky, ‘well – this happened, then that happened.’  There are months of story between series — things to which we’re not privy. I find it more interesting to offer glimpses and clues, and give the audience room to draw their own conclusions.  Back to Thursday’s ‘not every question gets an answer.’ Life more often messy than coming with pat answers and tied up with a bow. Things like that… life experiences are an ongoing thing. Part of us.  There isn’t a moment where a line is drawn. Things fade – but it’s a slow, soft fade. But each to their own.

EXT. LONSDALE/QUAD/CLOISTERS – NIGHT 1

Quiet and still. Nothing stirs. Moonlight over the chimney stacks and towers. A shape takes substance. THE SHADOW.

A FIGURE IN BLACK — night’s dark agent, in balaclava and rope soled shoes, moves with feline stealth across the cloister…

Dr.ROBIN GREY, (40s), crosses the quad with the MASTER. He glances upwards, and reacts to something o.s. [off screen]

ROBIN: Good Lord. Master…

MASTER: Ho, there! You! Up on the roof!

THE SHADOW — spotted, turns and melts into the darkness.

DAMIAN: ‘Night’s dark agent’ and ‘melts into the darkness’. I think the more I do these interviews, the more elusive your intentions and motivations become. Are you being genuine or is there a certain sense of irony when you write stuff like this or simply trying to evoke pulp fiction, spy novels and other genres such as your references to the Pink Panther movies elsewhere in the script?

RUSS:  It’s important to convey to everyone what I’m trying to invoke – an atmosphere; a vibe – to spark their imagination, and to do it with a certain economy.  So – I guess that’s where such things come from. It’s not the job of the writer to fill the screenplay out with Camera Directions or block the scene on the page — and to do so is looked on pretty dimly by those wearing the Von Stroheim pants and hunting boots.  But what one can do is suggest mood and describe the action as elegantly as possible. The golden age of Pulp writers were brilliantly economical, so maybe the pulp thing comes from that. You know, real estate on the page is at a premium. We’re not describing every location or character in minute detail — so we have to present thumbnail sketches of whatever it might be.  And hopefully that gets across to the director what one’s about – and the Heads of Department – and will set their motors running. Then, as we get closer to the first day of principal photography, we get together for a tone meeting or two, and everyone presents what they’ve drawn from the text – costume, design, hair and makeup.

You have to be prepared to be flexible – I’ve probably said it before — a location falls through, or actors’ availability changes due to unforeseen circumstances, or the schedule means you can’t get a scene – so you might have to conflate a couple of things.  What I’m saying is unless it’s specific to the plot, you might not be able to realise everything that’s on the page, but so long as what is substituted is true to the intent and the tone of the original design… Which is why those little florid, mauve passages of stage direction can be useful.

It’s as much To Catch a Thief as anything else – but, yes, the shadow of the Lugash Diamond looms large.  I think something we’ve done across the various series – and something that I find an interesting and enjoyable process – is recasting something conceived elsewhere as light or comedic in intention into something darker.

DAMIAN: It’s interesting that Endeavour mentions Simon Templar in reference to the Shadow. Do you happen to know the title of the book in which Templar made his debut?

RUSS:  Not offhand.  But having googled it, I can see why it would amuse you.

DAMIAN: Small things Russ, small things. In addition to perhaps foreshadowing the relationship between Morse and Lewis, was the creation and one of the primary functions of George Fancy to die and thus set up a chain of events that will be followed up in series 6?

RUSS:  George Fancy served a number of purposes – but you’re correct about an early incarnation of the Morse/Lewis dynamic.  We thought it would be interesting to see how Endeavour took to the role of mentor that came with his slightly more senior rank.  There was also a wish to give Dakota Blue Richards/Trewlove something to play beyond her more familiar role, and a fitting departure. We only got the word that Dakota didn’t want to do any more on the day we wrapped Series 4.  It seemed a shame that Trewlove wouldn’t get to say goodbye properly — so Damien Timmer and self had tea with Dakota and outlined what we had in mind. Thankfully, she was agreeable. Series 5 was very much about saying so long to Shirley.

DAMIAN: I loved the editing in the scene between shots of Endeavour reaching to unveil the bedsheet under which is the decapitated body of Simon Lake and Thursday reaching for the silver platter covering the severed head. Was it a dramatic or financial decision not to show any graphic detail or simply a matter of taste?

RUSS:  A matter of the Watershed.  Though we run from 8pm to 10pm — we are bound by the strictures of Ofcom for the whole running time as we start before 9pm.  The mind of the viewer can always be relied upon to come up with something more horrific than we would be able to present to them on screen.

DAMIAN: Can you describe the reaction at the readthrough to The Berserkers and what they did to the pig’s head centrepiece at the Shiplake Chase Hotel?

RUSS:  There may have been a certain amount of laughter.  Likely of the hollow variety.

DAMIAN: What can you tell us about the first film of series 6, PYLON ?

RUSS:  Things have changed.  The death of one of their number, the end of Cowley, the decade guttering to a close…  it all seems to mark a certain end of innocence. For us, too. ‘68 was the end of the Second Act.  Endeavour was notionally mid-twenties when we began – knocked about a bit, but still with something of the puppy about him.  Eager. Optimistic. Hopeful. For all his protestations to the contrary, the murder of George Fancy affected him deeply. We have, I think, said goodbye to the boy.   

Creating an iconic ENDEAVOUR poster

Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2019

All original images courtesy of The Red Dress Studio

Looking through the many impressive images on the website of The Red Dress, the London based illustration and commercial artists studio run by Olivia Chancellor and her husband Oliver Bland, I’m immediately drawn to their retro, film noir and pulp aesthetics.

Image for music festival Standon Calling.
The Kane Slayer for Empire Magazine
The Kane Conspiracy for Radio Times Magazine
Farewell my Lovely for Radio Times Magazine

Little wonder that their clients include Radio Times, Time Out, Total Film, Empire Magazine and Arrow Films, one of my favourite distribution labels of classic and cult Blu-Ray releases. And most recently, of course, Mammoth Screen with the stunning new poster for Endeavour. I spoke to Olivia about the classic film posters that influenced this as well as the art that inspires her…

DAMIAN: Thinking back to when you were a child, were there any particular book covers, film posters or art in general that you think may have inspired your early career aspirations and later setting up of The Red Dress?

OLIVIA: I remember having Philip Castle’s poster for Clockwork Orange on my wall as a teenager and loved the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Ollie has always loved the National Lampoon’s Vacation artwork by Boris Vallejo and all the old James Bond posters. I think that sums us up quite well.

DAMIAN: You have a passion for vintage posters, especially B-Movies, Film Noir and Pulp Fiction illustration, but when do you think that you really began to notice and appreciate these?

OLIVIA: Probably not really until we were at Central St Martins doing our degree. We’d scour charity shops and car boot sales for pulp fiction, vintage mags and annuals, choosing the ones with the best looking covers.

DAMIAN: If you had to choose a favourite image or one that best represented the work of The Red Dress studio, what would it be?

OLIVIA: Our favourite of recent years, apart from the Endeavour artwork, is the Empire subscribers cover we did last year – Bad Times at the El Royale. Though really we should choose our first and original poster The Red Dress as it sums up the sort of work we hoped to get when we first set up 13 years ago. It also is a daft double portrait of us both!

DAMIAN: What was the brief when you were commissioned to design the Endeavour poster and was there any explicit information given regarding the look and tone they were after?

OLIVIA: The brief was to stay true to the time period, position Morse and Thursday as a duo, exude the show’s high quality production and embrace the Oxford setting. Images referenced were Dr No artwork by Paul Mann, Get Carter poster illustration by Arnaldo Putzu and Coffy artwork by George Akimoto.

These poster examples share a montage style inclusive of larger sized main characters with smaller stories and action scenes happening around them. They all fade to a plain white or black background.

DAMIAN: After presenting some early concept designs, I believe the only notes given from the writer and Mammoth Screen was the inclusion of Bright and the Jaguar, but stylistically, it was very much the artist’s vision?

OLIVIA: Yes, as jobs go there were very few changes, but time was short as we only had two and a half weeks from briefing to final print deadline and this covered Christmas and New year.

We went to Oxford to take photos of the architecture which we worked from as well as screen grabs from the edit and some behind the scenes photography.  We spent quite a while positioning who and what we wanted to go where, how the lighting was going to work etc. A little later comes in the muted colour palate.

DAMIAN: Was there any research into either the art of 1960s period posters or marketing for the  crime/detective TV and film genre more generally?

OLIVIA: Apart from the reference given in the brief there were no particular film posters that we took direct inspiration from, but as we specialise in painting vintage style posters the knowledge is there in our heads from years of producing similar artwork.

Someone [actually, lovely chap and Endeavour scholar, Ian Baker] on social media pointed out the similarity between the Endeavour poster and the 1974 Chinatown poster, but that wasn’t on purpose. Thinking about it now though there are perhaps elements from Out of the Past poster by William Rose but again it wasn’t part of the plan.

We definitely wanted to make sure that the beautiful Film Noir style of how Endeavour is filmed was mirrored in the image, so the smoking gun, profile of Thursday with trilby, and the interrogation room scene play up to that.

To find out more about Olivia and Oliver’s artwork see The Red Dress and there is a limited run of 50 Giclee Endeavour prints signed and numbered by the artists available via Etsy