An exclusive Endeavour interview with Sean Rigby
Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2020
BRIGHT: 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.
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.
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: Pretty rousing stuff but I never quite understood what Russ meant by ‘Cometh the hour. The one true friend…’ when I first read the script and why Strange was the one true friend but, of course, I certainly do now. Endeavour was almost impotent with denial and Thursday spent most of the last series edging slowly towards the dark side. So, not only was Strange the one true friend, but to what extent might he also be described as the one true hero of series 6?
SEAN: He certainly stepped up to the plate. He’d be extremely red faced at being described as a hero though.
Double doors give on to a narrow vestibule/hall – a hard bench against a wall. Facing the open doors – a drop-leaf counter beyond which, the suggestion of a back room, from whence OPERATIC MUSIC floods the building.
ANGLE – SERVICE BELL on the counter. Beyond – out of focus – a UNIFORM sits with his back towards us, typing at a desk.
A hand comes down on the Service bell.
VISTOR (Off-screen): Shop!
UNIFORM rises – comes to the counter, and we recognise – ENDEAVOUR in full Thames Valley blues – three stripes on his sleeve. And sporting a moustache. His visitor – STRANGE – a touch of Brylcreem. Three-piece suit. Chelsea Boots.
STRANGE: This is where you’ve been keeping yourself, is it?
ENDEAVOUR’S not going to make this easy. A distance has fallen between them. Things unsaid, and for too long.
DAMIAN: Brylcreem, three-piece suit and Chelsea boots! – whatever happened to those rather fetching tank-tops?
SEAN: Being a style icon requires constant innovation and evolution. Strange and I have shown the world the many faces of the humble tank-top. It was time to move on!
STRANGE: We’re still no nearer to finding who did for George.
ENDEAVOUR: ‘We’? I’m here. You’re there. He’s [Thursday] at Castle Gate. Mister Bright at Traffic. There isn’t a we – not any more – nor likely to be.
STRANGE: We said…
ENDEAVOUR: You said. I don’t blame you. Heat of the moment. Like the last day of school. Solemn oaths and giddy declarations. ‘We happy few…’
STRANGE: I meant it.
ENDEAVOUR: I’m sure. But that’s not how it turned out. It’s never how these things turn out.
WIDE – two old friends, coffee table between them – the width of an ocean.
DAMIAN: I thought these and similar scenes in PYLON and throughout series 6 were beautifully written and, indeed, performed. He might not be as smart as Endeavour, but there’s no one more loyal and dependable when the chips are down than our Strange. Not only is he appalled by Endeavour’s attitude, but isn’t Strange also a little confused by it as well?
SEAN: The shock, and it was an extreme shock let us not forget, has affected them very differently. They are both grieving. Strange is using it as fuel whilst Morse uses it to build a wall around himself. It’s definitely confusing.
DAMIAN: Despite this, Strange continues to help Endeavour and even lies to ACC Bottoms towards the end of the film telling him that Endeavour belongs to one of the College Lodges in order to secure the transfer to Castle Gate. Why exactly does he do this; is it purely out of friendship or did he think Endeavour is more likely to pursue the truth about Fancy’s death if he’s stationed there?
SEAN: Six of one, half a dozen of the other. A less isolated Morse could prove to be more malleable.
DAMIAN: Also in PYLON, Endeavour pleads, ‘Look, you’re doing alright. Friends at the Lodge. Going places. You’re on the up. Just let it go.’ but Strange replies with ‘I can’t. I can’t’. Seemingly more than anyone else, why do you think Strange is so haunted by Fancy’s death?
SEAN: First and foremost, Strange cared for George. They were friends. For there to be no justice, no closure, is simply unbearable. His only way to emotionally deal with it is to make sure the culprit pays for what they did.
ENDEAVOUR: Who else knows about this?
STRANGE: So far – just us.
BRIGHT: Dr.deBryn was good enough to notify me and Detective Sergeant Strange first. I think – for the moment at least – such information should be contained amongst former City officers.
ENDEAVOUR: We’re a man shy, then. Aren’t we?
Awkward looks from BRIGHT and STRANGE.
DAMIAN: Albeit only temporarily, do you think the moral downfall of Thursday suggests that all bets are off now and anything is possible for the future of the show – I mean, is there a real sense of not knowing what to expect when you read the scripts for the first time?
SEAN: I think that has always been the case. Narratively, stylistically and tonally the show has always been quite daring. Thursday’s journey is certainly an example of that. Russ has written real people. Real people do unexpected things. I’m always excited to open up a new script and see what trouble everyone has been getting into.
ENDEAVOUR: I met someone. She’s got a kid. A boy. Five years old. It could be – I don’t know – something. (off STRANGE) Why not? Everybody else gets a shot – why should I be any different?
STRANGE: Because you are.
ENDEAVOUR: What if I don’t want to be? Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about? Something to come home to.
STRANGE: I wouldn’t know. Some day. Maybe.
DAMIAN: I thought the characters of Bright and Strange really evolved in series 6 but I wonder if, considering we’re now well into the third and final act of Endeavour, if there’s anything you’d like to explore with Strange before the curtain falls – perhaps get a girlfriend considering he hasn’t been on a proper date since 1966?
SEAN: I’d like to see more of Strange the leader. The authority figure. Too busy for dates!
DAMIAN: I thought the series got a lot darker as it grew towards the end of the decade. Indeed, the fun and playfulness of scenes such as Strange playing the trombone and becoming one half of the odd couple when he shared a flat with Endeavour seem to be sadly long gone. Do you miss these aspects of Strange’s character from the good old days?
SEAN: I feel they are still a part of his character, just below the surface. I imagine the trombone is kept under his desk. For emergencies.
STRANGE: Back to the day-job, then. That was quite nice while it lasted. Bit like the good old days.
ENDEAVOUR: Which were they? Remind me.
DAMIAN: You told me in our first interview, ‘I’d like to think that Strange in the 1960s is very much trying to find himself. He is very sure of where he wants to go in the world but is still unsure of his footing within it.’ How do you see Strange in the 1970s?
SEAN: Harder. Tougher. Self assured. He’s his own man now.
DAMIAN: Sean, thank you very much indeed.
SEAN: A pleasure, as always!
Interview copyright © Damian Michael Barcroft 2020
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