Filming has begun on the seventh series of ITV’s hugely popular detective drama, Endeavour, as it is confirmed that an eighth instalment has already been commissioned to air in 2021. The latest series of critically-acclaimed drama, which is produced by leading drama indie Mammoth Screen - part of ITV Studios - in partnership with Masterpiece, will consist of three, brand new interconnecting feature-length films. Each film will once again be written by Russell Lewis who has penned all 27 Endeavour screenplays to date. Shaun Evans reprises his role as DS Endeavour Morse, alongside Roger Allam as DCI Fred Thursday for a new set of compelling cases. Following the success of his directorial debut on the drama during series six, Shaun Evans will also be directing the first film of the new series. In addition, Anton Lesser (Game Of Thrones) returns as CS Reginald Bright, Sean Rigby (Gunpowder) as DS Jim Strange, James Bradshaw (Close To The Enemy) as Dr Max DeBryn, Abigail Thaw (I Want My Wife Back) as Dorothea Frazil, Caroline O’Neill (Last Tango In Halifax) as Win Thursday and Sara Vickers (Watchmen) as Joan Thursday. The new trilogy of films mark Endeavour and his colleagues entering a new decade and era of change. Opening on New Year’s Eve 1970, normal order has been resumed, and the team reunited at Castle Gate CID, with Chief Superintendent Bright back in charge. However, the events of the past year have left their mark, and the new series will see old friendships challenged and new relationships blossom. In the dawn of women’s liberation, social progression and scientific growth, the 1970s begin for Oxford’s finest with the discovery of a body at the canal towpath on New Year’s Day. With the only clue in the investigation a witness who heard whistling on the night of the crime, the team have their work cut out to uncover their culprit. With a strong, overarching plot connecting the three films, the seventh series will test Endeavour’s moral compass to breaking point, both personally and professionally. Writer Russell Lewis commented: “The prospect of Colin Dexter’s immortal creation entering a new decade is hugely exciting for all of #TeamEndeavour. We’re always looking to break new ground, and go places we haven’t been before - both physically and emotionally. The narrative design of this series gives us the opportunity to deliver a particularly distinctive story shape. Though each film can be enjoyed as a standalone - we have approached Endeavour 1970 as three panels of a triptych, or - in musical terms - a grand opera that unfolds across three acts. Whether it wears the mask of comedy or tragedy remains to be seen…” Executive producer Damien Timmer commented: “It's a thrill to enter a new decade and tell more tales of the not-quite-so-young-now Endeavour Morse, to be transmitted half a century after they took place! Russell has some very striking stories to tell in this new set of films which we hope will baffle, unnerve and delight the show's fans!” This month sadly saw the passing of Australian composer Barrington Pheloung who created the iconic themes for Inspector Morse, Lewis and Endeavour. Well known for hiding clues and references in his moving scores, the BAFTA nominee was synonymous with the long-running franchise. Russell Lewis pays tribute to the classical composer, saying: “This year, Oxford’s Finest assemble in the shadow of an all too recent immeasurable loss in our creative family. It is impossible to think of Morse without hearing in one’s mind's ear the spine tingling pulse that underpins Barrington Pheloung's melancholy and stately theme. All who have taken an interest in the adventures of Morse, Lewis, and now Endeavour over the past thirty-odd years are ever in his creative debt. Those of us who worked with him and took inspiration from his extraordinary talent are determined to make Endeavour 1970 a series of which he would have been proud.” Recently voted the fourth greatest British crime drama of all time in a poll conducted by Radio Times, Endeavour has gone from strength to strength since its first outing as a one-off film in 2012. Receiving praise from critics and viewers alike, the sixth series launched with a consolidated audience of 6.9m and a 27% share, marking Endeavour’s biggest audience since 2014. Filmed in and around Oxford, the new films will be executive produced by Mammoth Screen’s Damien Timmer, alongside writer and creator Russell Lewis and WGBH’s Rebecca Eaton. James Levison will produce the series and ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute the series internationally. Mammoth Screen is one of the UK’s leading production companies. Current and forthcoming shows include POLDARK series 5, WORLD ON FIRE, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE PALE HORSE, NOUGHTS AND CROSSES and THE SERPENT for BBC One and Netflix, INVISIBLE, VICTORIA and SINGAPORE GRIP for ITV.
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