Tuesday 12 December 2017

Abigail Thaw endeavours to follow in father John's Inspector Morse footsteps

Abigail Thaw appears in Endeavour, the prequel to her father John Thaw's Inspector Morse
Abigail Thaw appears in Endeavour, the prequel to her father John Thaw's Inspector Morse
Award-winning Inspector Morse star John Thaw

Abigail Thaw has confessed to not being aware of how hard her father, the late John Thaw, worked as TV's Inspector Morse until she herself appeared in his programme's prequel Endeavour.

The actress, 51, stars in the offshoot series as newspaper editor Dorothea Frazil, a role she took on in 2012, 10 years after Thaw's death at the age of 60 from cancer.

Thaw appeared as Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse in the popular ITV drama, which ran from 1987 until 2000.

Abigail told the Radio Times that her taking part in the series, which is based on a young Endeavour Morse in 1960s Oxford, has helped her to understand the amount of hours her father put in on the show.

She said: "Going to work on Endeavour doesn't feel like a homage to my father.

"But it does give me a jolt every now and then - it happens, funnily enough, when I'm in Oxford, where I think about him a lot more.

"I'm tired after a few days' filming and think, 'Blimey, he did this for months.' I never realised when I used to go round to see him for Sunday lunch and a gossip."

Abigail said that her father initially had doubts about Inspector Morse, before deciding to accept the role, because it seemed too risky.

She said: "Dad believed in it - it was just a bit scary as to whether or not it would take off.

"It was this premise of being two hours long - which everyone was very sceptical about. Channel 4 hadn't been out that long, and it was all about fast, furious, youth-culture programmes."

Despite Thaw's concerns, Inspector Morse went on to become one of the leading drama programmes of the 1990s and its episodes sometimes pulled in as many as 18 million viewers.

Abigail appears opposite Shaun Evans as a young Morse in Endeavour, which soon returns for its fourth series.

The series was devised by Russell Lewis, who also penned episodes for Inspector Morse and its other spin-off series Lewis, all of which are based on the novels of crime author Colin Dexter.

Evans, 36, said he did not feel daunted in stepping into the role after it was made famous by Thaw.

Asked why he did not worry because another actor had played Morse before, he said: "But they hadn't, had they? They'd played a version of it, 20 years older.

"They hadn't played the script that I had in front of me. No one else had played that.

"My intention with this was, of course, to please the audience that already existed - but it was also to get an audience of my generation to watch it.

"To watch my work, to watch our work. It wasn't about a nostalgia fest."

Endeavour returns to ITV on Sunday January 8 at 8pm.

This week's Radio Times is on sale now.

Press Association

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