ITV have announced the casting of SHAUN EVANS as the young Endeavour Morse.

Endeavour is written by Russell Lewis (creator of Lewis, Kavanagh QC and Cadfael, and writer of Inspector Morse, Spooks and Murphy’s Law) and is made by Mammoth Screen for ITV1.

Shaun Evans (The Take, Come Rain Come Shine) will step in to John Thaw’s shoes to play the younger version of Colin Dexter’s iconic character, giving the audience the chance to discover the origins of the detective famed for his love of crosswords, classical music, real ale and classic cars.

Set in 1965, the story follows the hunt for a missing schoolgirl which draws Endeavour Morse back to the place which will ultimately shape and define his destiny – Oxford.

Deep in a full-blown murder investigation and led by Detective Inspector Fred Thursday, Endeavour finds himself side-lined, discredited and at a dead end. Facing down the demons of his past, Endeavour begins his own quest in pursuit of justice, risking all in the hunt for a truth that will haunt him for the rest of his days.

Evans commented: “Morse as a young man is a wonderful character that I’m very excited to be playing. My hope is that we can compliment what’s come before, by telling a great story, and telling it well.”

This single drama will mark the 25th anniversary of the very first episode of Inspector Morse, which transmitted in 1987. Thirty three Inspector Morse films were made over the next 13 years

Endeavour has been commissioned for ITV by Drama Commissioners Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes.

Laura, Director of ITV Drama, said: “Inspector Morse was a television institution and nearly 14 million people tuned in to watch the final episode in 2000 when Colin Dexter’s eponymous hero died from a heart attack. Endeavour is a beautifully written story that not only provides many nods to Morse’s unique character traits for fans but re-unites many of the team behind the original series.”

Endeavour is executive produced by Mammoth Screen’s Michele Buck and Damien Timmer and is co-produced with Masterpiece. Rebecca Eaton is Executive Producer for Masterpiece.

Endeavour will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

Damien comments: “We’re delighted Russell has written this brilliant one off drama for ITV. It’s a sharp and revealing script which gives us a new perspective on this legendary detective.” Michele adds: “Shaun Evans is a superb casting as the young Endeavour and we hope fans enjoy learning more about the iconic detective’s past.”

Colin Dexter who introduced the world to Inspector Morse added: “Immortal was Endeavour Morse – End-eavour more shall be so!”