Morse, Lewis, Endeavour and the others: Crime drama on British TV.

As you can see in the Radio Times article below, Inspector Morse was voted the best ever crime series nearly 20 years after it last appeared on British TV. This series was based on the novels by Colin Dexter and was shown on ITV from 1978 to 2000. When the actor playing the character of Morse left the series, a sequel was made with his former side-kick, Sergeant Lewis, now Inspector Lewis, taking charge of investigations. This series, called Lewis, ran from 2006 to 2015 and was joined in 2012 by a third series still running, Endeavour, a prequel which focuses on the early days of the character Morse (Endeavour is his first name). Although the main character and leading actors have changed since 1987, the formula still seems to work and we would like to consider the reasons for this and the importance of the Oxford setting. The colleges (with their dons and students) as well as other significant landmarks in the city are at the centre of many of the series’ episodes. We invite you to think about the following questions as you read and listen to the newspaper articles, look at the photos and watch the extracts.

  1. Have you seen one of these series and do you like them?
  2. Why do you think such series are so popular?
  3. Do you have a favourite series?
  4. Could you say something about the main ingredients in a crime series: plot, suspense, characters, location…?
  5. Which of these ingredients is the most important in your opinion?
  6. Some series are located in urban settings (e.g. Vera) while others feature pretty English villages (Midsomer Murders), do you have a preference?
  7. The three series mentioned in the title are all located in Oxford, how important do you think this is?
  8. Most series focus on two police officers who work together, how does their relationship contribute to the series’ success?
  9. Do you read crime fiction?

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