Endeavour series 2: 6 reasons why you should definitely be watching it

This post first appeared on Metro Online.

Shaun Evans returns as Endeavour Morse (Picture: ITV)

(Picture: ITV)

Endeavour returns for its second full series on ITV tonight, which is great news for Sunday night telly.

The period drama, following the early years of Inspector Morse, is a piece of telly gold which ITV has wisely decided to hold on to.

Series two, set in 1966, will consist of four two-hour films, and star Shaun Evans (who is amazing in this – more on him later) as the titular character.

Writer Russell Lewis, who was a contributor to Inspector Morse, said of the new series: ‘Though offset by the possibility of love unlooked for, against a backdrop of a growing change in Britain and the wider world, Endeavour must face a challenge that threatens to take from him all he holds dear.’

If that’s not enough to tickle your fancy, here’s 5 reasons why you should tune in to Endeavour.

1. It isn’t your average Sunday night telly fare

Think of Sunday night telly and the likes of Where The Heart Is, Heartbeat and The Royal probably come to mind. While they were a decent way to wind down before work on Monday, they weren’t exactly high-octane and thrilling. The most dangerous thing to happen on any of those programmes was someone dropping half a Custard Cream into their cuppa. Endeavour is the opposite – laced with high-tension, suspense and even a bit of action.

2. The cases

Endeavour’s cases are intriguing and unique. In series one he had to track a killer who bumped off his victims in a similar fashion to the endings of famous operas. It sounds complicated, but even the less musically knowledgeable viewers could follow it. Series two looks set to have another brace of head-scratchers for us, including one involving a beauty pageant, and another which star Evans has described to Digital Spy as a ‘spooky, sort of horror story’. Intriguing…

3. Endeavour’s love life

Morse romances a nurse  called Monica in this series (Picture: ITV)

Morse romances a nurse called Monica in this series (Picture: ITV)

The young policeman’s constant search for a soul mate is one of this series’ most intriguing ongoing plot points. He came close a couple of times with series one, but with the detective set to strike up a romance with a nurse this series is the second time the charm?

4. The 60s, baby!

Endeavour is a period drama and accordingly, there will be plenty of nostalgia for those over a certain age. As writer Lewis said, there was a growing change in Britain at the time, and Endeavour – like similarly wonderful 60s-set detective drama George Gently – will have heaps of nods to the state of Britain at the time. Notably, ’66 was the year of England’s world cup win, so expect some football madness thrown in.

5. Endeavour’s relationship with Thursday

Roger Allam plays DI Fred Thursday (Picture: ITV)

Roger Allam plays DI Fred Thursday (Picture: ITV)

Endeavour and Thursday have represented two sides of the same coin when it comes to policing, with Endeavour being the new and Thursday firmly stuck in his old ways. Evans and Roger Allam are the perfect pairing, so it’ll be interesting to see their working relationship develop as times change.

6. Shaun Evans

Shaun Evans gives a fantastic performance in the titular role (Picture: ITV)

Shaun Evans gives a fantastic performance in the titular role (Picture: ITV)

There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe Evans’ performance in this role, but here’s a few: beautifully understated, nuanced and enchanting. The Liverpudlian actor steals the show in every scene he’s in and says so much without saying much at all. Like another popular TV detective I could mention, Endeavour is dedicated to his work and fiercely intelligent, but Evans also manages to make him grounded and completely likable. Did I mention he’s quite easy on the eyes and ears? Because he is.

@thatmissdeen

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Costuming a Teenaged Private Eye

64 episodes and a 7 year wait later there came a Veronica Mars film (I’m British, I don’t like saying movie). Regardless of the Kickstarter backer facts etc, the film shows an eleven year development of characters seen in the first season (Veronica is 16 in season one, 15 in the flashbacks, and 28 by the time of the film). Developments that are very clearly shown in costume. Rather than looking at every character (there are loads) I’m going to look at this development in our favourite teenaged private eye – Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) herself.

Season One

Season One costume designed by Salvadaor Perez Jr.

For a season based so heavily on flashbacks we are shown two distinct Veronica’s throughout. There’s the pre-Lilly’s murder Veronica and ostricised Veronica. The personality changes are made clear and, as you would expect, these are referenced in her costumes. The first time we see Veronica she is clearly established in her outside status. She’s disgusted with her high school classmates, as are they with her. She is competent, unexpectedly considerate towards Wallace but, most of all, snarky.

Veronica Pilot

Then we get two quick flashes of “old Veronica”:

Veronica Pilot2

It would have been too easy and obvious to make Veronica go from light and fluffy to lots of black. But the change is still obvious. Besides the long flowing hair the colours are light and subdued. “New” Veronica hasn’t moved to leather but the fabric choices remain sturdier than before. Stripes became a bit of a classic costume touch for Veronica and here we see it established in the flashbacks that she’s always been a fan of stripes. As much as Veronica is ostracised she has no desire to blend in to the background. Her strong character comes through and she stands out much more now than she did when she was merely Duncan Kane’s girlfriend. This also marks the first appearance of Veronica’s pink and green colour scheme, the canvas messenger bag, hoodies and denim/military style jackets. These are Veronica’s trademark pieces whether worn as armour or for practical reasons.

Veronica Pilot3

The pilot also shows us Veronica at Shelly Pomroy’s infamous party. We can assume that after the events of that party old Veronica became new Veronica – she is clearly already on the way there but still clinging to the past. We have the white dress that signifies the final stage in Veronica’s loss of innocence. But then there’s the black choker – chokers being a common occurrence on Veronica throughout this first season.

And don’t forget the disguises:

undercover

(Yes, technically one of these is from S2 but you get the message.)

Season Two

Season Two costume designed by Salvadaor Perez Jr.

As Season Two starts the new mystery means that the flashbacks concentrate on the earlier summer (and the rest of the season) rather than a year earlier. We see characters in their current state (pretty much) and the sense of change is much less obvious. The main mystery arc is also much more far-reaching than the Lilly Kane murder. The economic differences in the town become more overt and dangerous, as does Veronica’s standing in the town following her rekindled relationship with Duncan Kane (and solving Lilly’s murder).

Veronica S2

The choker has gone, the messenger bag remains, as do the hoodies, jeans and jackets. Veronica may be more welcome in the 09er set but that doesn’t mean that she fits back in. Or that she wants to. A year on the outside and working as a private eye have changed her – much as the death of her best friend and her rape did.

Season Three

Season Three costume designed by Salvadaor Perez Jr until episode 5 ‘President Evil’ when Jennifer L Soulages took over. (They co-designed ‘President Evil’.)

Season Three has a different aesthetic to seasons one and two for a number of reasons:

  1. The characters have gone to college and so their environment (although still in Neptune) is different from high school.
  2. The series took a different approach to its standard mystery arc – more shorter spanning mysteries.
  3. Veronica Mars moved from UPN to the newly formed CW network.

After recovering from the shock of Veronica and Logan’s new cars, the other main change is Veronica’s messenger bag – moved on from a canvas bag to a leather studded bag.

V 3

The season also has some nice costume callbacks from previous seasons. The most regularly commented one being the blue argyle sweater, but there’s also the small silver star necklace Veronica was given by Lilly. The necklace is worn on and off throughout seasons 1 and 3 but specifically mentioned when stolen.

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Lilly's necklace

The small crystal star from Lilly.

The other key aspects of Veronica’s costumes remain. We still have stripes, jeans, boots, denim and military jackets. But now we also have the introduction of cropped waistcoats – they were very much a fashion feature of the era. None of these pieces are “cute” though, the slightly tough aesthetic remains. A headscarf and headband also made a brief appearance but didn’t stick around.

New Looks

Veronica Mars Film

[SPOILERS FOR THE VERONICA MARS FILM]

Film costume designed by Genevieve Tyrrell.

The key feeling for the film was the idea of addiction. Veronica is addicted to the lifestyle of a private detective and this is what draws her back. Say it’s Logan all you want but it’s more what Logan represents. Simplest terms it’s New York v. Neptune. Normalcy v. excitement, drama and danger.

V Film1

We start with the grown-up Veronica. It’s still obviously “Veronica” but there is a greater influence on tailoring and workwear. These are high quality suits and a world away from t-shirts, hoodies and denim jackets.

V Film2

Even her pyjamas are more grown-up and tailored.

Then things start to change. Being in Neptune changes her and although the voice over comments on it, the change is instantly noticeable when the season three messenger bag comes out. This is then followed with a stripey t-shirt, albeit in a much darker more subdued tone than we’re used to, jeans and a leather jacket. Leather jackets have taken over from the denim and military inspired jackets but they still work as a form of armour.

V Film3

A costume moment so important that it gets its own slow motion shot. (That’s not the main reason but I’m going to take it as that.)

V Film5

The clothes have moved back into softer knits and denim inspired pieces as her stay in Neptune extends and extends.

As her acceptance of the life as a private eye becomes more and more apparent the costumes continue to move into an adult version of TV Veronica. There are even small star studs to link back to Lilly’s necklace.

V Film4

We end with a fully immersed Neptune adult Veronica. Leather jacket, muted colours, black jeans, boots. This is the Veronica from the TV show with adult aesthetics and styles learnt from New York. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of her and her interesting costumes.

[Check out this great interview with Salvador Perez Jr. about the series on mtv.

And Genevieve Tyrrell talks about the film’s costumes here.]

S x

Happy Nolan Day!

I think I’ve found my favourite Nolan Ross look of the series.

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Look at this jacket. Look at it. Red candy stripes. It’s bright, bold, daring and super stylish, just like its wearer. Although it did make me question how he came to be bringing in that trolley dressed like that (maybe he was supposed to be a delivery guy?) but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief. It’s an awesome jacket.

I also thought that his second outfit was a very daring choice. It’s a classic example of how clashing colours and patterns can work together.

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The blue trousers are striking but doesn’t completely overpower the pattern on the shirt. It’s a risky choice but I think it works. It’s so nice seeing him wear crazy clothes again!

‘Hatred’ airs on Monday 31st March at 9pm on E4.

P.S. And of course I could not forget this…!

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Hannah

Saw This And Thought It Was Cool: Avengers lights

I know. I know. My first post since the age of the First Men. BUT AREN’T THESE PRETTY?

avengers light

(Picture from here.)

If anyone knows where I can buy them – or knows where I can look at them and cry because I can’t afford them – do let me know. Somebody needs to take my money.

@thatmissdeen x

Saturday Special: Coffee and Walnut Cake

Getting shopping for my Mum I took my usual glance through the recipe cards found in Waitrose. Grabbing a few, my eyes clung to the recipe for classic coffee and walnut cake. As we have a homemade cake every week I took this recipe card as a massive hint from… the world? Anyway, I was set.

Ingredients

175g salted butter, at room temperature
175g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
2 tbsp cooled strong coffee
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g walnut halves, 6 reserved for decoration and the rest roughly chopped

For the frosting:

200g salted butter, at room temperature
400g icing sugar
2 tbsp strong black coffee, cooled

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease and line 2 x 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins.

2. Using an electric hand whisk, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually whisk in the eggs, then coffee, until well blended.

3. Sift over the flour and baking powder and gently fold into the mixture with the chopped walnuts. Divide between the 2 cake tins, level off the surface and bake for 20–25 minutes until just set. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, to make the frosting, beat the butter until soft and pale then gradually beat in the sugar followed by the coffee.

5. Spread the top of one cake with a third of the frosting then place the second cake on top. Smooth the remaining frosting around the sides and top of the cake. Decorate with the reserved walnut halves.

Coffee and Walnut Cake

To get a great strong coffee flavour I used our stove top coffee maker to get espresso strength coffee. If using a cafetiere or instant coffee you may need to adjust the amount of coffee used but don’t make too much coffee because too much liquid will affect the sponge and icing consistency.

Hope you all give this a try – it’s simple and effective!

S x

Happy Nolan Day!

Like a train rolling downhill, things are quickly descending into chaos for Emily, and poor Nolan has been helplessly swept along with the tide. But that hasn’t stopped him from looking good while it happens!

While Nolan is still stylish, again his clothes are reflective of the situation. He only had one outfit in this episode, and it was a simple shirt and trousers in dark colours (I loved the shade of red – the colour of danger and/or blood, perhaps?).

(Apologies for the lack of pictures, they will be added later)

I also noticed that Patrick’s clothes are similar to Nolan’s with the dark shades and simple style. I hope they can work things out – Nolan needs you, Patrick!

‘Endurance’ is on Monday 24th March at 9pm on E4.

Hannah

Sunday Special: Balsamic Brown Sugar (Short) Ribs with Garlic Mash

It’s the Saturday Sunday Special!

I have an app on my phone called ‘Flipboard’ which is full of tons of cool stuff, including great food recipes. This one was taken from seriouseats.com, which you can check out here, if you would like the full recipe.

This recipe is American and therefore used American measurements (e.g. ‘1 cup of…’) but with my extensive mental knowledge of weight conversion Google I worked out the British measurements (roughly). You can use the measurements I’ve given if you wish, but to be honest I think you can just wing it. It’s fairly easy to judge how much of each ingredient you need.

The American recipe also requires that you use a Dutch oven, but if you’re thinking ‘I can’t afford that!” or “WTF’s a Dutch oven?” never fear! Just a large pot will do – preferably one that’s ovenproof, but if you don’t have one you can transfer it to a baking tray or oven dish.

You will need:

For the ribs:

8 boneless short ribs (or just normal ribs, which is what I used, hence the (short) part of the title)

120 ml red wine

470 ml beef stock

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 medium white onion

1 strip of orange zest

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

2 large cloves of garlic

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the garlic mash:

red skinned potatoes (as much or as little as you want)

4 cloves of garlic (it depends on how garlicky you want your mash, but I love the stuff – keeps the vampires away)

a large knob of butter

54 ml whole milk

120 ml sour cream

Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to a fairly high heat

Coat the “Dutch oven” or pot with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper, add to the pot and cook until well browned on the first side.

Turn the ribs over and add the onion and garlic. Continue cooking (while stirring it around a bit) until the ribs are browned on the other side and the onions and garlic are softened.

Add the red wine to the pot. Bring it to the boil then turn the heat down to let it simmer. Then add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaves and orange zest.

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Return to the boil, cover the pot with a lid and put in the oven. The American recipe says it takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours cooking, but when I tried it it only took an hour. I think the best way to tell if it’s cooked is when the ribs are ‘fork tender’, as it says on the website.

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Now on to the garlic mash. Peel and chop the potatoes and boil them in a pan with the garlic until everything is soft and easy to break apart with a fork. Then drain the water away, add the sour cream, butter and milk, season with salt and pepper, then mash it uuuuup!

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When the ribs are done, take out the bay leaves and orange zest and serve it together with the mash straight away.

I really enjoyed making this and it is absolutely delicious. I know I usually say to give recipes a go when I do these posts, but with this one I really really do recommend you try this. In fact I insist! Who doesn’t love meat and potatoes?!

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Hannah