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‘Masterpiece’ inspects ‘Morse’ prequel

'Endeavour' to air on PBS in 2012

PBS anthology “Masterpiece Mystery” will air a prequel to “Inspector Morse,” with Shaun Evans playing the title character.

Single-episode “Endeavour,” a reference to Morse’s first name, will air on PBS in 2012 to mark the 25th anni of the “Morse” bow (written by Anthony Minghella). ITV1 will air the prequel in the U.K.

“Inspector Morse was one of my favorite detectives,” said “Masterpiece” exec producer Rebecca Eaton. “Shaun Evans has a similar depth and quiet charm. I can’t wait to see his Endeavour.”

In all, 33 previous installments of “Morse,” with John Thaw starring, have been made. All but five aired from 1987-93, with nearly annual specials following from 1995-2000. Thaw died in 2002.

Prequel will be set in 1965 and takes place in Oxford, the setting for “Morse” and spinoff series “Inspector Lewis,” which will see four new episodes on “Masterpiece” beginning Sept. 4. Russell Lewis, creator of the spinoff, is writing “Endeavour.”

Novelist Colin Dexter created the Morse character. Michele Buck and Damien Timmer of Mammoth Screen are exec producing the telepic, with ITV Studios and Masterpiece co-producing.

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