REVIEW: Endeavour (S6 E3/4)

Between the shotgun killing of a sweet factory girl and the execution of her boss, it’s all murder and mayhem in the picture-postcard village of Chigton, and it’s going to take more than PC McGarry No 452 to sort it out.

While this episode is clearly going to be stuffed with references to children’s stop-motion favourites Chigley, Camberwick Green and Trumpton, the opening murders are untypically vicious: a glamourous sweet-factory worker is killed by a shotgun blast in the back, and her boss, the lord of the manor, similarly shot while on a hunt. A single killer, or unrelated murders?

The Creswells (as in the biscuit factory in Chigley) are apparently popular and fair to their workers, but we suspect there are simmering resentments, perhaps around commoner Sarah Clamp (Katie Goldfinch), who’s engaged to one of the Creswell heirs (Clamp as in the greengrocer in Trumpton).

The chocolate box village of Chigton, where all the shops are labelled ‘Fishmonger’, ‘Baker’ and the like, is familiar ground for Dorothea Frasil and her advice columnist Miss Ling, and Morse looks like he might be inclined to rent a house there.

Suspicious types hanging around the village include the sultry Mrs Fairford (Olivia Chenery), her vet father, catty secretary Miss Neal (Tilly Blackwood), Mr Carraway the fishmonger (another Camberwick Green character) and a surly Farmer Bell (again as in Camberwick Green), on whose farm the girl is found shot. She was Bell’s wife, and Bell is also found dead by his own hand, but did he also kill Creswell? A malicious note suggesting an affair, and accompanied by a Creswell chocolates Happy Families card, suggests so.

Morse and Thursday try to track down the poison pen writer at the sweet factory, which is obviously a hotbed of gossip and fornication behind the jelly-moulds, then make a connection with the apparent suicide of an Oxford scholar named Rufus Bura (Sarah Clamp’s cousin). There’s a reference here to President Bill Clinton’s years as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, starting in 1968.

Morse cosies up to Isla Fairford, while Bright and Mrs Bright (Carol Royle) struggle with her terminal cancer diagnosis. Fred and Win are also having marriage problems, and Strange is still investigating the heroin overdose deaths. For the first time he suggests to Morse that his boss Box might not be on the straight and narrow, as confirmed when we see him slipping Fred a bung (to the accompaniment of Cat Stevens’ song  The First Cut is the Deepest – the PP Arnold version?

Then one of the Creswells is found dead in the jam – a bit like the Morse episode The Sins of the Fathers where the heir to a brewery is found dead in a vat. Max gets in a joke about the victim coming to a sticky end – we wish he’d come up with more of these wisecracks, they’re always gems.

The murder weapon seems to have been a bolt gun – Morse questions Mrs Fairford’s dad the vet, who says his has been lost. Has Murray Cresswell also fallen victim to the poison pen campaigner?

Morse’s snooping reveals that Miss Neal is the mysterious columnist Miss Ling, and he finally makes the connection between Isla Fairford, adulterous Murray Creswell, and the poison pen letter campaign – originally just a way of getting back at bitchy Mandy Bell. Once it ended in death, sensitive Rufus Bura killed himself, and Isla killed Murray Fairford for knocking her up and driving away her husband.

Here begins Morse’s long history of fancying women who turn out to be murderers – he might be a great detective, but he’s easily distracted by fluttering eyelashes.

As a coda, Bright summons Morse to a road traffic accident where a holdall in the car contans cash and a gun of the calibre which killed George Fancy – but who was the driver? Morse seeks help from Fred, but finds him partying with Box and his cronies – is this the end of the Morse and Fred partnership?

Apart from the Camberwick Green references, which kept us on our toes, this wasn’t the greatest of Morse’s cases, and the motive of the killer, Isla, seemed barely relevant. A bit of fun, then, but largely a set-up for next week’s finale, where we have to have some closure on the subjects of Fred’s marriage, Bright’s wife, and Box and the heroin overdoses. And if there’s any reference to Bagpuss among that lot, we’ll be flabbergasted.

It should also be noted that Fred survived. We speculated earlier in the week that, due to a video ITV posted on social media, his time looked as though it might be up. Not a bit of it – it was more likely to be a generic teaser for ITV drama in general, and part of a campaign.

Chris Jenkins 



18 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy D says:

    Great review Chris. The village had a bit of Prisoner vibe to me, very shiny and pristine hiding all manner of skullduggery. Agreed on it not being a vintage episode but still entertaining. I suspect Thursday is going to get cold feet on the bungs and Box may end up clipping his wings as a result.


  2. Colin C says:

    Do we know that Bright’s wife has cancer? I got the impression when Bright was talking to Max that it is he who is dying, using his wife as ‘just asking for a friend’. And Max seemed to get a lot of good lines tonight.


  3. Tom says:

    Thanks Chris for another informative review. Your explanation of all the references to the stop-motion Trumptonshire trilogy series was helpful. All the in-jokes were lost on me as It was well before my time (in England).

    I actually cheered when Morse asked Mrs Fairford out. I hoped it signaled the end of the interminable Morse v Miss Thursday sparing match. Sadly it appears it’s not to be the case.

    I’d forgotten that Fred used to take Win out for ballroom dancing. She really knows how to hurt a guy.

    I would argue that Morse’s brief fling with opera diva Rosalind Calloway in the pilot episode was the first time he fancied a woman who turned out to be a murderer.

    Agree it wasn’t the best episode ever, but as you say, the scene is set for an exciting finale.


  4. Tom says:

    One thing no one’s mentioned is the sleepy village of Chigton Green is surely a nod to Cadbury’s 19 century utopian village of Bournville.


  5. Hazel Anderson says:

    This episode should have been called Death By Chocolate, seeing as one of the characters ends up in a vat of the stuff. The references to the Chigley/Trumpton/Camberwick Green series of the 1960s were very good, and one of the character’s surname was Bura (Bob Bura was an animator on those shows). I’m a bit shocked that Fred Thursday took the bung, even in his straitened circumstances. The summoning of Endeavour to the car with the holdall full of cash and matching bullets to those that killed George Fancy was an interesting conclusion to the episode, and I’m looking forward to finding out who did kill the hapless Fancy. Personally, I think that it was Box, in revenge for him sniggering when Trewlove endangered the surveillance operation, and to get back at her when he gets a lambasting from Reginald Bright for belittling her.


  6. Chris Jenkins says:

    Ahhh, I’m chuffed Hazel Anderson found the relevance of the name Bura, it was obvious it had some, but I didn’t know about the animator. I have to admit I wasn’t very knowledgeable about Trumptonshire and had to look it all up, so may have missed even more!

    I also thought there was a slight intimation of David Lynch in Chigton, and Fred’s closing comment “These people” (or was it “This place”) was a bit Alan Partridge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hazel Anderson says:

      Hi Chris, Bob Bura and John Hardwick were the two animators. Sadly, Bob Bura died last year, but his work is fondly remembered, not only by me. I do love Endeavour, and will be sad to see this series end next week. By the way, I didn’t notice any reference to Colin Dexter in this episode. Please can you help? Thank you in advance.


    2. TIM SAVILLE says:

      As for the David Lynch reference, the episode started to the accompaniment of “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison, which was a memorable feature of the Lynch film “Blue Velvet” where the hero was beaten up by Dennis Hopper while the Orbison classic was playing. This film was also set in an apparently charming village/suburb where evil wasn’t far from the surface. I also note that the vet’s daughter was played by Olivia Chenery – the hapless vet in “The League Of Gentlemen was called Mr Chinnery!


  7. Charlotte Carling says:

    You are great at getting all the details and references, Chris. So many of the elaborate specifics depicting England during the late 60’s pass me bye.


  8. Dan Campling says:

    I’m totally convinced that Thursday is playing the long game to bring Box and his cronies down, which its easier to do if he appears to be playing ball with him. This also explains what the very brief exchange Thursday has with the young man opposite the Burgham Cafe at the very beginning of the episode is about. He’s steadily gathering all the information he needs to bring Box down. Also, I refuse to believe that ITV would produce an advert for T.V. drama which involves the character of Thursday stating that we love him as a character for being reliable and like the father you wish you had, and then turn around and make him corrupt. As Thursday also says in the advert ‘He is the line’ and as such I’m confident he’s doing the right thing. Something else I’d like to mention re. Fancy’s death is a point that was made when Thursday, Morse and Strange found his body in the pub. The question was asked of why Fancy would go into the pub alone without backup, or call it in. I believe it was because he thought he had backup in the form of Box, who was there to either meet with Nero or Ames or to tie up some loose ends, and Fancy either saw something he shouldn’t or was collateral damage. Hope we get some answers in the final episode on Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Chris Jenkins says:

    I’m told that this week’s Colin Dexter appearance was as one of the Happy Families card characters, Mr Quill. I missed that! Also there were several other Trumptonshire character references I missed, but I think we got the idea of that fairly early on…!


  10. Row Dean says:

    Does anyone know the location used for Chigton Green?


    1. Andy D says:

      Apparently it was the village of Penn in High Wycombe.


  11. Zeke says:

    The same calibre is enough to link with Fancy’s murder?
    Maybe in UK, but from here in US, coincidence!
    Wasn’t Dexter one of the pix on the cards?
    I didn’t care for the stylized episode. I certainly hope Endeavour doesn’t go the way of the off-track Sherlock scripts!


  12. ger says:

    does any one know what the opening song at the start of the show is? it is similar to Roy Orbison in dreams, but it is not that song. Although IMDB says it is. is it possible that a different song is used for broadcasting outside of the UK?


  13. ger says:

    was the clinton mentioned , bill clinton by any chance?


    1. TIM SAVILLE says:

      It sounded very much like “In Dreams” to me (Orbison version), which, as I have mentioned in an earlier post, would have been entirely appropriate since that track featured significantly in the Lynch film “Blue Velvet”, also set in an apparently charming village/subject where evil wasn’t far from the surface.


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