An exclusive Endeavour interview with Anton Lesser

Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2020

DAMIAN: We’ll discuss Bright and Endeavour shortly, but first I wanted to talk about your return to the theatre last June after a ten-year-absence. Why such a long break?

ANTON: Well, good question. I had two or three years of vocal problems. It was a really bad situation where nobody knew what was wrong with my voice. It was just sort of very unpredictable with muscular spasm. I had cameras down my throat trying to find out if anything terrible was going on and I think it was a combination of psychological things – things going on in my personal life. It was really difficult and I lost a bit of confidence about doing anything that I wasn’t absolutely in control of. So, when things came up for the stage, I just felt that I didn’t want to let people down. Again, I stopped doing audio-books as I felt I was going to let people down. As time went on, fortunately work kept coming in and I was offered other things.

When the play [The Pope] turned up last summer, it was just so good that I thought I really want to do this. And, I showed it to my kids and they said, ‘Dad it’s brilliant, you’ve got to do it’, but it’s a huge role, basically a two-hander – me and Nick Woodeson. I went and met James Dacre [artistic director] who I got on with immediately down at the Royal Derngate & Northampton and the theatre was lovely – a beautiful little Victorian jewel of a theatre – and it wasn’t the West End so I thought I can do this because it was very friendly, about 400 seats so it didn’t feel as though I had to shout!

DAMIAN: The play is a fictionalised encounter of your character, Pope Benedict, meeting with Pope Francis which explores the scandals involving child abuse and the financial running of the Vatican. Did you have any reservations about taking on a play dealing with such controversial issues – perhaps particularly the child abuse?

ANTON: Erm no, over the years I’ve been offered parts on tele with characters that I’ve looked at and thought I don’t want my kids to see me doing this and I’ve always had a gut feeling that something doesn’t feel right but no, I had no qualms about doing this because what’s wonderful about the play is it gives Benedict a voice and it gives a perspective on what happened and, we the public, don’t know about it and it has been intriguing why a man in his position would seemingly – and again this is all conjecture – turn a blind eye to such terrible things. It’s a wonderfully non-judgemental and very generous investigation into that and I think that’s why I felt I had to do it.

DAMIAN: An objective point of view so the audience could decide for themselves?

ANTON: Yes. The writer, Anthony McCarten, his films have been huge successes [The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour and Bohemian Rhapsody] and he does have a wonderful eye which is objective and he just touches something that is so full of humanity that it feels accessible and very recognisable when you see it and get a little window into somebody’s heart. He really just has a wonderful way of letting the audience in, especially as something as remote for most of us as life in the Vatican.

You know, on paper, a play or a film about two old men talking about religion you think, ‘Ooh, that’s exciting’, but actually it’s absolutely intriguing. The other lovely thing that happened was a lot of people came to it and said things like ‘I’m a practicing Roman Catholic and I was really concerned about coming to this play’ and thought they were going to be offended or outraged but they said things like it was ‘one of the best things they’d ever seen’ so that was wonderful.

DAMIAN: I was actually going to ask, since it was quite a small and intimate theatre if you noticed any priests or nuns in the audience?

ANTON: Oh, we did have a few yes – you couldn’t see them from the stage or identify them by their dog collars or whatever but we did have people who came to talk to us afterwards and said how absolutely absorbing it was.

DAMIAN: During our last interview we talked about some of the actors you admired and you mentioned Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce which is funny because they both star in the film version of the play, The Two Popes, made for Netflix. Have you seen it?

ANTON: Yes, it’s quite a coincidence and the film is brilliant.

DAMIAN: Back to the play, so you return to the theatre after ten years, it’s opening night and you get the 5-minute call to go on stage – can you describe what were you feeling at that moment?

ANTON: Ooh, ooh, it’s a mixture of ‘oh my God what have I done?’ [laughs] – nerves or butterflies don’t go away just because you’re old – but also real excitement and often fear and excitement are difficult to distinguish aren’t they? The symptoms are pretty similar! And it’s just a name we put on them that makes them one thing or the other but much more, I don’t know what it is about going out in front of a live audience, but it is at the same time a terrifying and stupid thing to do but in another way it’s incredibly liberating because unlike the tele, you’re not going to be edited. You’re not going to be watching the tele and think I’m sure I had a nice scene there and now it’s gone – it’s in your own hands for a couple of hours.

And it’s a lovely journey and particularly lovely because you’re working with people that you respect and enjoy their company. That was one of the great things about working with Nick because right from the beginning – two such good parts and the relationship is so fundamental – you really need to be happy about who you’re working with and to work with Nick was an absolute joy because we worked together years and years ago at the National in The Birthday Party so it just made everything easier.

But coming back to that moment just before you go on stage, you’re going on a little journey with a mate and we had a little agreement; I said to him when we started rehearsing, I said ‘Nick, we’re now of an age when one of us – or both of us! – is going to just look at the other and know that the other one hasn’t got a clue what to say!’ [we both laugh] and I said, ‘shall we have a pact that you forgive me in advance if I just don’t know what to say?’ and he said ‘absolutely’ so we had this mutual agreement. We had a great time – lots of laughs.

Anton during rehearsals

DAMIAN: Actors on the set of Endeavour might typically be on set from 7 or 8 in the morning to 6 or 7 at night which must be enormously draining physically but at least you can return home of an evening – how does this compare to the demands of theatre and staying in hotels?

ANTON: It is very different. A different sort of process and you have to manage that process. The thing about tele is somebody might pick you up in the early hours of the morning in the dark and cold in some pretty horrible places that are not very glamorous and then sit in a cold trailer for hours and hours and hours and then you might be called upon to do your little bit which may be quite an intense emotional moment out of chronological order while trying to find some emotional truth.

So you have 5 minutes of work and then back to the trailer in a completely de-energised state again for 3 or 4 hours and you might expect to do a scene – but then it’s changed or cancelled or shifted so it’s a whole different thing. That’s why I love to come back to theatre because of the rehearsal process which you never get in tele or film nowadays. The rehearsal process is just great – it’s where you stretch your muscles and interact and experiment. Do dangerous things in a safe place so it’s like a completely different job and yet the place where they do coincide as the same job is trying to express – as truthfully and as humanly as you possibly can – so that, if it can come from my heart, if it can come from some truth inside me, then there’s a better chance it will touch that place in the audience.

DAMIAN: Yes, well I’m glad you’ve said that because I’ve got a few questions on that exact theme really, that issue of finding the moment. I’ve visited the sets and location work and they do the technical rehearsals obviously; they get the camera angles, the lighting, they do the sound checks and then they do a few more sound checks but in terms of the Endeavour team, do the principle actors ever actually get to rehearse the acting before a take?

ANTON: Depends on how much time there is. We have a little sort of word run with the director before any of the crew come in. We’ll talk about the way the director wants us to come in from, whether we might sit or stand or if we are going to move during the scene but it is very, very perfunctory. It’s very quick because there isn’t time to explore and you’re expected at this stage to know the character and what they would probably do in that situation and you just need to get on with it. Luckily, because we’ve been doing it for so long together we have a kind of shorthand with each other. We know what’s right for us as actors much more quickly than if it was something new and we were beginning from scratch. Then you’d need a week or two to explore the relationships – well we have those relationships already!

DAMIAN: Last time we discussed your early days as an actor at RADA but I’d like to expand on this slightly further and ask you about the sort of acting techniques or theatre practitioners that you might have been exposed to back then?

ANTON: Well, at RADA, you see I don’t remember particularly reading tomes from Stanislavski and doing all that in those days – probably because I’m so lazy! [laughs] I mean it’s changed now, but it was virtually non-academic; you weren’t expected to read books or write essays and pass exams but I think nowadays they are. A lot of kids that I know, the academic aspect is quite substantial to get their diploma or whatever.

Russian theatre practitioner, Konstantin Stanislavski (1863-1938), was a celebrated director, character actor and author of several influential books including his “ABC” of acting: ‘An Actor Prepares’, ‘Building a Character’ and ‘Creating a Role’. His autobiography, ‘My Life in Art’, is also highly recommended reading.

ANTON: Different directors came in to do different shows with us and they would of course bring with them their particular expertise or their interests. One of them might be more interested in a particular method than another. We were aware of the Method and actors like Brando and how they operated but there wasn’t anything formal like a focus on Stanislavski or anything like that. The exposure that I remember was the acting that I would see in the theatre who were inspirational, you know?

DAMIAN: Like at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool?

ANTON: Yeah, Jonathan Pryce doing Comedians and Bernard Hill, and then of course, people at the RSC, Ian Richardson – wonderful Ian Richardson! All these people, all that was percolated back to conversations we would have at RADA and those would be my influences. Definitely, so yes, to put it in a nutshell, it was less about what we were studying and more about what we were absorbing and what was percolated back through to us.

DAMIAN: You see, back when I was studying drama at college we were introduced to Artaud, Brecht, Grotowski -the usual suspects – and I didn’t really respond much to any of these but what really resonated was the work of Stanislavski so I read a lot of his books but then independently took this much further by exploring Lee Strasberg and the Method style of acting.

Strasberg (1901-1982) built on the work of Stanislavski and helped to develop “The Method”. He was also one of the teachers and artistic director at The Actors Studio where rising stars such as Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and James Dean trained. His later generation of “Method Actors” included Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando on the set of ‘On the Waterfront’. Their other classic collaboration were ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘Viva Zapata!’
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro discuss a scene during the making of ‘Taxi Driver’. The two have worked together many times but for me, at least in terms of a director/actor partnership creating unforgettably intense character studies, ‘Mean Streets’, ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Raging Bull’ remain their most significant collaborations.

DAMIAN: So when I think back – you’ve just talked about the actors that inspired you – but when I think back to the kind of films and actors who inspired me as a teenager learning about drama, the Method paved the way for some of the most outstanding collaborations in the search for behavioural or emotional truth in acting and realism – actors and director such as Brando and Kazan and De Niro and Scorsese.

ANTON: De Niro and Scorsese! Oh yeah, yeah, yeah – De Niro and Pacino – you don’t get any better than that. And of course Brando, when he was not messing about, I don’t know whether that’s to do with, obviously it’s influenced by, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily only  to do with how they studied at the Actor’s Studio but something about them instinctively as human beings. They have this unbelievable mysterious something and you look them and even when they are doing nothing, you just can’t stop looking at them. How much that is to do with how they’ve been influenced by that tradition or how much they’ve just nurtured what they have as human beings I don’t know but they are just unbelievably magnetic to watch. It never fails to amaze. You know I’ve been watching a lot of De Niro and Pacino on youtube recently, clips of old movies and it’s just amazing and you think, what is it, what are they doing?

DAMIAN: I always got a sense – and this was obviously in the early days of their careers – that they didn’t know what it was they were doing either. Rather we were watching them learn as actors on a journey in which they were exploring both their characters and themselves. It was a great experiment and I think it goes all the way back to Montgomery Clift, James Dean and, of course, Marlon Brando. That period of acting was so rich and such a great time for experimentation.

ANTON: Yes, yes – exactly!

DAMIAN: Obviously as an actor himself, what’s Shaun like to work with when he’s directing?

ANTON: Oh, he’s great. Yes, he absolutely knows his stuff and benefits, of course, from having a crew that were pretty much continuously there from when we all began. So, he’s got a lot of very skillful practitioners around him who know what can and can’t be achieved. And they know how to achieve it very quickly and they can say to him, ‘Yeah, I know what you want but it might be better if we do that shot from blah blah blah’ and he’ll say, ‘absolutely brilliant.’ So there’s a real efficiency about the people around him to make his vision happen and he’s great. I think he wants to do more and think he may end up being more of a director than an actor.

DAMIAN: Really?

ANTON: Yes, but it’s great working together because he knows both sides of the job. It’s like he can interface between his technical requirements and the acting.

DAMIAN: What do you think you would be like at directing?

ANTON: Rubbish! Absolute rubbish because I’m not built for that. I like to be told where to stand, told what to say and told when I can have my lunch and if I’ve got the afternoon off and can go home! [laughs] You know, a director has to be there all the time and that’s not what I want to do with all the days in my life. I enjoy other things and fortunately I’ve been employed almost continuously, but if I was ever in a position where I just had to take everything and do everything 24 hrs a day, I don’t think I’d be very happy.

Also, the thing about directing is directors have a facility – the good ones – have a great skill to point you in the direction of what they want without showing you how to do it. I know from experience when I’ve done little things with students that my instinct is to get up to display and almost say do it like this and that is an anathema to an actor because it closes the door on your creativity and all your effort is to try to emulate it or reproduce something – and you think well he’s done it much better than I could so what’s left for me to do?

I remember I had a personal experience of that with Jonathan Miller years and years and years ago. Bless the man, he’s such a wonderful actor himself – and comedian – but he couldn’t resist getting up and saying ‘No, this is what I mean!’ and then you think OK, but there’s nothing left for me to do but try and match how they’ve done it. It’s awful and you feel sort of emasculated as an actor so I would be no good.

DAMIAN: Each Endeavour film has a different director which helps to keep the show visually fresh and unique, but what are the advantages and disadvantages of this – for example, presumably they can’t possibly know the characters as well as the actors who’ve been on the show since the beginning?

ANTON: Well, as you say, the advantages are that you get a fresh eye and the whole thing doesn’t become thematically repetitive and safe. A fresh eye will hopefully take a few risks and bring a kind of out of the box sort of view on it. The downside is that some directors won’t have that shorthand with the DOP or the sound guys who’ve been there all the way through – most of them have been there for the whole time and they’re familiar faces. They know their job and they know what can and can’t be done and one or two directors might have a sort of, not a clash, but they might be looking to do something that the cameramen or the sound man will just know is not the greatest solution and there might be little moments of friction or disagreement.

But that never usually happens. It’s a happy, happy crew and I think it’s so rare but we do get inevitably and understandably a new director coming in who will want to put their mark on it and will want to have a very distinctive contribution and why not? They’re doing their thing. So it’s a balance and most of the time it works beautifully when people find that balance but occasionally it can be a bit divisive.

DAMIAN: You mentioned this earlier and it goes back to the actors having a short hand between themselves as well as the crew. Is there ever a sense that the principal cast still have things to learn from each other as actors as you explore these characters – have you ever been caught off guard and thought that was interesting what such and such an actor was going for in such and such a scene?

ANTON: Yeah, yeah. I mean I think that happens all the time but perhaps in quite subtle ways and I think what we’d like to do more of is have a little more time to explore moments like this that come up and actually give them space to see how well it could work and find something to look at in a totally different way.

The constraints of time mean, actually, that is interesting but we just have to get on with it so  we might take a sort of comprise through the interaction and you’re just left thinking we could have explored that and gone down that road but there isn’t time for that. Yeah, that happens quite a lot. But because we all respect each other’s skills – you know, working with Roger and Shaun in particular – but also all the guest actors who come in and bring something unique and we kind of want what you get in the rehearsal room of a play; wanting that in the context of a film – which, of course, you can’t have.

DAMIAN: I’ve been doing my interviews again with Russ and I recently reminded him of what he told me regarding your character that Bright was ‘a man even more out of his time than most in the 1960s’. So, I was wondering how on earth Bright is going to survive the 1970s?

ANTON: Ooh!, (mischievous laughter again] yes, yes, yes! Well, I can’t give too much away obviously…

DAMIAN: No, of course not. I meant more culturally in terms of the style and fashion of the era.

ANTON: You will see that the tensions that were arising at the end of the last series which exposed those cultural sort of challenges for him, they sort of take off in a big way and you see the man – which is what I’ve wanted for years actually, you see much more of the man behind the uniform. Out of uniform and into situations where he is potentially out of his depth, which of course, are the places where we all learn things quickest.

So it’s been much more fulfilling these last couple of series because we see him really up against it and in situations – that a man like that – you would expect to unravel. You don’t know whether he does or doesn’t – you’ll just have to wait and see! It is much more of what you were hinting at this time.

DAMIAN: Fans have wondered about Mrs. Bright for years now so wasn’t it a little cruel of Russ to finally meet her when she’s dying?

ANTON: Yes, it is cruel. You know, for years I didn’t even know whether she existed! The references to her could have almost been like wishful thinking. All the actors used to joke that she didn’t exist and he went home to a lonely house and sort of fantasied that he had a wife. But no, suddenly here she is and we had the wonderfully brilliant Carol Royle play her. It was great for me to open up the whole backstory about the daughter dying in India and it’s great for me to be able to begin that journey out of uniform and to see him at home in a different environment. And suddenly, an environment that challenges him really, really deeply and emotionally. So I’m very happy about that but not happy that it could be so brief and seems to be coming to an end. We’ll see…

DAMIAN: The scene with Bright where he confides to Max at the club and asks for his help was one of my favourites from the last or any series. Absolutely beautifully written and performed.

ANTON: Yes, people have remarked about that scene and said lovely things about it. That sort of encounter for me is what I’ve been wanting all the way through the series and every time Russ would write lots of those lovely scenes but they’d all be cut because of time. Such a shame but, yeah, I’m glad you liked that one.

DAMIAN: However, wasn’t it a curious choice for the audience to learn about Mrs. Bright’s cancer in a scene with Bright talking to Max rather than his wife? Because that would be the more obvious emotional choice wouldn’t it?

ANTON: I guess it would. Yes, and as I recall, they were having dinner and she’d come back from London and had a nice day and he’d made her dinner and then she suddenly starts to cry and he says. ‘what’s the matter?’ and then we cut dramatically. I think it was clever because you think, ooh, something big is going on but were not allowed to see that and then it comes with Max. I can see that dramatically it’s a device that keeps the audience wanting to know more and keeps that tension longer and if they had continued that scene together it would have been all exposed and wouldn’t have carried that curiosity.

DAMIAN: That’s very true. In the episode Mrs. Bright says ‘I don’t think I’ve been a very good wife.’ and he replies, ‘No man ever had a better.’ In the script he has an extra line, ‘Is there… something you want to tell me?’ so it did hint at that but you’re probably right in terms of keeping the tension going because the audience are left guessing and it could have been that she was having an affair.

ANTON: Yes, yes, which of course she did because there was another beautiful scene that got cut the year before where she says ‘they never meant anything’ so ask Russ about that.

[I later checked with Russ and he confirmed the following: ‘she said at some point “none of them meant anything. I just missed her so much.” Or words to that effect. The notion being that her infidelity was born of grief for Dulcie.]

DAMIAN: I think we can infer from some of the dialogue in the Club scene, along with the one earlier in the last series (PYLON) where Endeavour is talking to Max in his garden, that Max doesn’t meet any of his colleagues out of work. Although Endeavour and Thursday once often drank together at pubs during lunch or after work, isn’t it a pity that such seemingly lonely characters – lonely in their different ways such as Bright coping with his wife’s illness and Thursday’s marriage breakdown for example – they don’t spend more time together and do you think this isolation makes them more endearing to the audience?

ANTON: I think it’s something that certainly the audience will recognise because there is such a culture of – and certainly in those days – of not sharing feelings. Especially with men and I think people of a certain age will recognise that and connect to that and feel more familiarity with that isolation. We all know what that feels like and how difficult it is to break that habit – especially people of that generation.

DAMIAN: I mentioned Brando earlier, and we now know from various books and documentaries that he never prepared prior to filming during his later career – didn’t even bother to learn his lines – and yet, when he paused, took a moment or gave a certain look as he did in The Godfather or Apocalypse Now – it’s pure magic and electrifying to watch. Despite your protests to the contrary, I told you last time that you have that same sort of gravitas…


DAMIAN: Well, I’m sorry but what I wanted to say was that you have that same sort of gravitas to command a scene. That’s my point and my question is to what extent can you as an actor with your vast experience rely of your little bag of tricks and does it become easier with age?

ANTON: Not at all. I don’t recognise what you’re saying about me. And, therefore I can’t rely on anything – I don’t rely on anything because I don’t believe it’s true.

DAMIAN: Come on now, in that club scene with Max there’s a moment where you take off your glasses and clean them and put them back on and I don’t think there’s any dialogue for a moment but it is electrifying…

ANTON: Well, that’s amazing and it’s lovely of you to say so but it’s not anything that I know how to do. It probably comes out of a moment of quite the opposite; of not knowing what to do and honouring that, do you know what I mean? A lot of the time, apparently, this is so fascinating – in life, in daily life – we have become socialised and habituated to moving around the world in a way that gives the impression that we know what we’re doing. The truth, if we’re honest about ourselves in our most quiet moments, is nobody knows the f*ck what’s going on! [Anton laughs wildly while I try to compose myself after hearing Anton use the F word]

You never know what you’re doing because you present – because of habit – you’ve created a persona and people ask who are you and you say. ‘Well I was born in such and such and I went to Drama school’ and that’s who you are. It’s a fabrication sustained through memory, habit, projections, and you walk around with this thing called a person that doesn’t actually exist, and actually, what really is there is that you’re just a body with thoughts flowing through and memories and some skills that you’ve learnt and… oh, I could go on about this for hours.

But to answer your question, what you see when you see something and think, wow – that was really amazing is me not covering up the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing at that moment.

DAMIAN: You’re too modest by far.

ANTON: Absolutely Damian, that is the truth! I mean I can accept – and this may be the answer to my own question about what it is that De Niro and Pacino have. What they do maybe is something to do with the fact that they’re brave enough not to use a trick or a mannerism or a way of speaking that they’ve learnt so what you get is pure vulnerability. It’s not acting – it’s revealing.

DAMIAN: That’s a very interesting way of looking at it.

ANTON: I don’t know if that’s true but it’s getting near to it because it’s just being willing to be there, to be naked in a moment and therefore reveal something that an audience will recognise in themselves. Sort of coping with life by presenting something. A person and actually when you stop, and usually it happens to us because of suffering or because life kicks us in the teeth or somebody dies or somebody you love leaves you, there are moments of absolute vulnerability and you get in touch with something real about what you are and maybe the actors that we like and we’ve been talking about have these mysterious qualities when they’re doing that to some degree. Consciously or unconsciously.

DAMIAN: I agree with all that and you’ve raised some really interesting points but I think I’ve researched and written enough about television to know good acting and what isn’t good acting when I see it. Now, there was a shot of you standing in your tiny little office smoking a cigarette and you look out of the window to Box who’s looking straight back at you so we get this marvelous shot of the two of you where you are both reflected in each other’s gaze…

ANTON: Yes, yes, yes – I do remember that.

DAMIAN: Neither actor is saying anything but you just look at Box and it’s a beautiful moment; very tense and yet very subtle as well. A lot of actors couldn’t do that as well because they’d overplay it.

ANTON: Well, I’m just delighted that that’s the effect and when I hear you say that it makes me feel it validates my trust in those moments when I don’t really know what to do and I can use that space and I can just be as honest as I can in that moment.

DAMIAN: As we’ve discussed, sometimes you’ll simply get what you referred to last time as a “very good, carry on” kind of scene but now you’ve got all this character development stuff. Is your approach or preparation to either of these any different – I suppose I’m trying to ask how you prepare for some of the more emotional scenes from this or the last series such as the tower collapse or Mrs. Bright’s illness?

ANTON: I know and I’m going to disappoint you I think Damian. I actually remember a scene that you will see this year which demands something on an emotional level that’s not like anything that’s happened before and just like the moment when I see the tower collapse or when I hear about the diagnosis, happily in my personal experience I don’t have a direct experience that I can draw on to replicate in any way. I remember saying to the director, ‘I haven’t got a clue about how to do this’ and she said ‘You absolutely know how to do it.’ And that did what this conversation is doing for me now, which is it just legitimizes the fact that even though I’m not the sort of actor who can go away and emotionally prepare in a Stanislavski way, something that happens which I am learning to trust more and more and more, actually in the moment – when they say action – that if I can be brave enough to let myself open up?

A bit like the difference between a hand being closed and a hand relaxing and opening. It’s like something inside and if I can allow it to just not grab hold of something to present to make me feel safe, you know like being emotional, or if I can say no and dare to just be open and vulnerable then again a space will be available for the audience to put their own version there. I can’t really give you any more than that. It’s a mysterious thing that I’m trying to learn and to trust more and love more because I think it’s a very precious thing to have, you know?

DAMIAN: Well, it is and you should because when you say a line like ‘a moment’s courage or a lifetime of regret’, there’s this hypnotic power that we talked about earlier…

ANTON: As you’re saying that, I’m just thinking about that great scene in Taxi Driver – great moment of acting. Do you know that scene quite early on in the film where he’s trying to express something to the boss of the taxi company he works for?

DAMIAN: Yes, I know the film very well.

ANTON: They go out the back and there’s this kind of older man and it’s the most heartbreaking scene I’ve ever seen because you feel this kid is going to explode and this older man doesn’t know what to do.

DAMIAN: I think it might be the ‘I got some bad ideas in my head’ scene with Peter Boyle.

ANTON: Oh, it’s wonderful. It’s one of my favourite moments in cinema.

DAMIAN: Absolutely stunning film. Now, albeit only temporarily, do you think the moral downfall of Thursday last series suggests that all bets are off now as we edge closer to the end of the show and anything is possible in the future for the characters?

ANTON: Yes I do. I think that’s what’s so exciting because there are so many sides to these characters that you couldn’t call it and you couldn’t say where they’re going to end up.

DAMIAN: At the end of the last series, my face – as I’m sure was the case with many fans – was absolutely beaming when Bright told Endeavour, Thursday and Strange that he’d be assuming command at Castle Gate. People really do care about these characters don’t they?

ANTON: Yes – it’s great. I know, people come up to me sometimes in the supermarket or at the train station and say ‘we watch it on television and we absolutely love it.’ And I just think that’s such a privilege to be involved in something that’s had that effect.

DAMIAN: Anton, thank you very much indeed.

ANTON: It’s a pleasure to speak to you Damian.

Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2020

Stay up to date with all my latest Endeavour cast and crew interviews via twitter @MrDMBarcroft


  1. Mel Payne

    Endeavour , the best program on tv. Due in no small part to big hitters Allam and Lesser. The others are quite good as well. Long may it continue , it matures like a fine wine. X


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