Endeavour returns for an eighth season this weekend, bringing the Morse spin-off show to the same number of episodes as the original series.
Shaun Evans plays the young inspector in the early days of his Oxford police career and shares some of the highlights viewers can look forward to this time.
Here's all you need to know about Endeavour season eight - including when it airs, what happens and whether it'll be back for another run.
When is Endeavour season 8 on TV?
The period detective drama makes its return to ITV on Sunday, 12 September at 8pm.
Season eight features three two-hour-long episodes that will air weekly in the same time slot.
Who stars in Endeavour?
The main cast will all be returning, with Shaun Evans as DS Endeavour Morse and Roger Allam as DCI Fred Thursday.
We'll also see Thursday's family again with Caroline O'Neill as his wife Win and Sara Vickers as his daughter Joan.
Other returning stars include Anton Lesser as CS Reginald Bright, Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange, James Bradshaw as Dr Max DeBryn, and Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil.
Allam, who explained that this was the longest-running character he had ever played, said: "There's something very reassuring about playing a long-running TV character. With the hat and the pipe and certain lines that Russell Lewis writes, it’s an easy step to get back into that character."
What happens to Morse this time?
As the drama heads into the harsh winter of 1971, there are tough times ahead for Morse, who is still reeling from the events of season seven which saw Violetta die in his arms.
Evans said: “This new series begins two months later and Morse is suffering. When we pick Endeavour up in February 1971 he is drinking too much, not coming into work, phoning in sick quite a bit. That’s what we see over the course of the whole season. That getting slowly worse.
“I do think there is something really interesting in where we find him and how his misery manifests. There was more of a drinking culture then so it was much more acceptable. You could definitely hide it in plain sight."
Allam added: “Morse is in a bad place. Then again, Fred made a serious mistake a couple of years ago when he was drawn into corruption and things got very bad with his wife Win. Now he’s back on an even keel. I think that’s a true, sincerely and honestly felt thing that we make mistakes and we should have a chance to get back on the straight and narrow.”
Meanwhile, Thursday faces issues of his own as he and Win come to terms with their son Sam serving with the Army in Belfast.
A college bomb seems to have links to the IRA, the team investigate the death of a cabbie with a stack of debts, and they find themselves plunged into the heady world of 1970s football when a death threat is made against an Oxford star player.
Was the series delayed by COVID?
Endeavour's original filming schedule coincided with the start of the pandemic, which is why there's been such a long wait between series.
Allam said: “We were due to start filming in the spring of 2020. But it rapidly became clear that it was going to delay. The first thought was of a delay until September of that year. Then it became clear that wasn’t going to work either.
"There were a lot of series already being made that were halted. So, a queue developed and they were the ones to be first picked up in the autumn of 2020. Which meant filming of the new series of Endeavour was delayed until 2021."
Evans added: “It was a relief to finally start filming. I had the good fortune of doing another job in the interim which had started prior to COVID and then we returned to finish it.
"You’re just lucky to be out working and to have a legitimate reason to leave the house and to be mixing with people. To be able to do your work, first and foremost. I was very grateful for that."
Will there be another season of Endeavour?
Season eight sees Endeavour reach 33 episodes, the same number that was made of Inspector Morse before it ended.
But Evans said that so far, no decision had been made on how long to keep the series going for, although he expected it to come to a natural conclusion.
He said: "In the original series I think John Thaw called it and it was like, ‘This is enough now.’"
The actor added: "I think we’ll know when the time has come to end Endeavour. It’s incredible that we’ve got to 33 films. I don’t think any of us expected that or anticipated it. But you want to do it until the story is told."
Evans also admitted: "I’ve still not watched Inspector Morse. Maybe I’ll watch them when we’re all done."
He continued: “The fact I haven’t watched Inspector Morse, there’s nothing disparaging or dismissive in that. We have come so far now on all of our own journeys with it that it just still doesn’t feel right to watch it. You have to approach it from your entry points rather than somebody else’s."
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