Solved! The mystery of why Morse never rose to the top: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews the weekend’s TV

Endeavour (ITV) 

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David Bowie: Finding Fame (BBC2) 

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Some programmes demand a widescreen telly the size of a ping-pong table, filling a wall.

So big that if you open the curtains the neighbours in the next street could see what you’re watching.

The pleasure of Endeavour (ITV) is the opposite. This period crime drama, not merely set but immersed in the Sixties, deserves to be viewed through a jeweller’s eyeglass, the better to enjoy the precision mechanism of its plots.

Every whirring cog meshes perfectly with all the other spinning parts.

As the series returned, its lead characters had been demoted and dispersed, following catastrophic mistakes in their last investigation.

Morse (Shaun Evans) has been kicked out of CID and left to rot in a country police-house as a uniformed sergeant, investigating rural mundanities: a stolen collection of silver snuffboxes, a drug addict dossing in church doorway, a missing horse.

How satisfying that these trifles all had a crucial bearing on a much bigger case, the disappearance of a ten-year-old girl.

Even the registration number of the panda car driven by the opera-loving policeman had a secret relevance: 264 HZ is the frequency of middle C.

The connections didn’t stop there. For nearly 30 years, fans of John Thaw as Inspector Morse have wondered why their hero was not a more senior detective.

His boss, Superintendent Strange, wasn’t half the copper that Morse was, even when steeped in real ale. Surely his preference for the pub over the Freemasons’ lodge couldn’t have cost him that dear?

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