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ITV unveils ‘young’ Morse

ITV’s iconic detective Inspector Morse will return to UK television in a one-off special to mark the crime drama’s 25th anniversary.

Endeavour, produced by Mammoth Screen for ITV1, will allow viewers to see the origins of the detective known for his love of real ale and classic cars.

The story, set in 1965, follows the hunt for a missing schoolgirl, which draws a young Detective Constable Morse back to Oxford to face the demons of his past.

The title is taken from Morse’s first name, which was revealed only towards the end of the final season, and the special will be filmed in Oxford this year for transmission in early 2012.

Shaun Evans will step into the lead role, which was played by the late John Thaw over 33 two-hour episodes between 1987 and 2000. The character was killed off in the final episode.

Endeavour was commissioned for ITV by drama commissioners Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes. It will be written by Russell Lewis, who also penned episodes of Morse and created its spin-off, Lewis.

Mackie, director of ITV Drama, said Endeavour is a “beautifully written story that not only provides many nods to Morse’s unique character traits for fans but re-unites many of the team behind the original series.”

The special will be executive-produced by Mammoth Screen’s Michele Buck and Damien Timmer and coproduced with Masterpiece. Rebecca Eaton is exec-producer for Masterpiece, the director is Colm McCarthy and Dan McCulloch is producing.

Endeavour will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

Another Mammoth Screen production for ITV1, Monroe, was last week recommissioned for a new season to air next year.

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