Monday, September 1, 2014


Even after seeing most of the credits listed below and all of the episodes of 'Endeavour' so far, I never knew who Russell Lewis was.  His name didn't jump out at me from the credits and nothing remarkable in his scripts made me take another look at who was the writer.

That is, not until the script for the episode "Rocket".

In that, every member of the family was based on someone from the family of Henry II, with their names being the chief clue as to who they were based on.  

When the series returned, I started noticing other in-jokes, many of them literary in nature.  This only made sense as 'Endeavour' is a prequel to the 'Inspector Morse' series and that began life over in BookWorld thanks to Colin Dexter.

From Wikipedia:
Russell Lewis began his career as a child actor, first appearing in the 1969 film adaptation of "The Looking Glass War". In 1972 Russell played Winston Churchill, age 7, in the movie "Young Winston". He also starred as George Gathercole in "The Kids from 47A". He appeared in an episode of 'London's Burning' in 1989.

By the mid-1980s, Lewis had begun to write for television series; some of his episodic writing credits include shows for 'Kavanagh QC' and 'The Bill'. Lewis has co-written three of the Sharpe films, "Sharpe's Battle", "Sharpe's Challenge" and 2008's "Sharpe's Peril". He also penned several episodes of 'Cadfael' and an episode of 'Hornblower'.

In 2009, Russell adapted Agatha Christie's novel "The Pale Horse" for the fifth series of ITV's 'Agatha Christie's Marple' starring Julia McKenzie, which first aired in 2010.

He devised and wrote the 'Inspector Morse' prequel 'Endeavour' which was first broadcast on 2 January 2012. He wrote the pilot film and all 8 of the subsequent two-hour installments so far.

Here are just some of the little in-jokes that could serve as theoretical links to other literary works that have been adapted for Toobworld:

Gathered from the IMDb:

In "Home", a London Gangster transplanted in Oxford fears his higher ups, who are identified as the "Fletcher Brothers", which is the name given to the London Gangster employers of Get Carter's Villain Protagonist. 

"Get Carter" is a novel by Ted Lewis.  There have been two movie versions, but as for Toobworld, it is recognized as a movie ('The Thick Of It').  So it could be suggested that the original novel was based on true events.
In "Trove", talent agent Val Todd has a phone call from Mr. White from Play-Tone and another from "Lane from SCDP." 

Mr. White was from the movie "That Thing You Do!" so this would suggest that this Cineverse character and company have counterparts in Toobworld.  But Lane is pure Earth Prime-Time.  He's Lane Price who was working for a New York ad agency in 'Mad Men'.

In "Nocturne", part of the investigation involves an unsolved murder in 1866. One of the police at that time was Detective Constable Cuff. 

Constable Cuff is from Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" which has had several TV adaptations.  (Cuff would be a sergeant by that point.)  The only time Cuff is seen in "Nocturne", he appears as a figure in Morse's imagined recreation of that 1866 crime.  So he does not Zonk his "true" appearance in Toobworld.  (Probably played by Patrick Cargill)

His superior officer, Sgt. Langley, was a real-world figure who solved the Bermondsey Horror.

From Wikipedia:
One of the first cases investigated by the newly formed Detective Branch was The Bermondsey Horror of 1849, in which a married couple, Frederick and Marie Manning, murdered Patrick O'Connor and buried his body under the kitchen floor. After going on the run they were tracked down by Detective Sergeants Thornton and Langley and publicly hanged outside Horsemonger Gaol in Southwark.

In the same episode, the head of the College of Arms is mentioned as being "Sir Hilary."  Sir Hilary is said to be on holiday. This is Sir Hilary Bray who was abroad visiting Ernst Stavro Blofeld as told in Ian Fleming's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".

James Bond is a TV character thanks to the 'Climax!' episode "Casino Royale".  (Only he was markedly different from his BookWorld counterpart.)  Therefore, by association, Sir Hilary does exist in Toobworld and this reference confirms that.

In "Neverland", the law firm Morse visits has a Mr Vholes as one of its partners. 

Mr. Vholes maintained the family tradition of entering Law.  One of his ancestors worked as a lawyer in Dickens' "Bleak House" which also had several TV adaptations.

In Nocturne, the signpost to Slepe also pointed the way to Midwich and to Crampton Hodnet.

"Crampton Hodnet" is a comic novel by Barbara Pym, published posthumously in 1985. It was originally written around 1940. 

As far as I know, it has no TV counterpart, but I thought I'd include it.  As with Mr. White of Play-Tone, it is implied that Crampton Hodnet must exist in Earth Prime-Time.

As for Midwich, it is the village in "The Midwich Cuckoos" by John Wyndham.  This was adapted into a movie back in the 1960s and then as a TV movie in the 1990s with Christopher Reeve and Mark Hamill. 

Karswell is the name of a character in M. R. James' story "Casting the Runes" (filmed as "Night of the Demon".)

Lewis has a lot of fun with the names of characters in these stories.

In "Nocturne" also, one of the girls was named Bunty Glossop.  This would mean that she could be related to the Glossop family members who were in Bertie Wooster's circle of friends in the stories by P.G. Wodehouse.  There have been two TV adaptations of those "Jeeves & Wooster" stories.

Another character had the strange name of Nahum Gardiner - the same name as a character in an H.P. Lovecraft story "The Colour Out Of Space".  In "Nocturne", Gardiner and his wife are from Kingsport, Massachusetts, which is yet another Lovecraft connection.

Based on all of that (and probably plenty more that I missed - still not sure if the surname Ashenden should be a reference), Russell Lewis has given quite a few viable links to other sources not only in TV but in the Cineverse and BookWorld as well.

I would even suggest some of my associates engaged in the Wold Newton Universe studies might consider adding in Endeavour Morse to the greater WNU Family because of some of these connections.

And that's why Russell Lewis is the September inductee into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame, the month in which we usually select somebody from behind the scenes who has made a significant contribution to the expansion of the Toobworld Dynamic.

Welcome aboard, Mr. Lewis!

1 comment:

Sean Levin said...

I haven't given any thought yet as to whether Morse is a Wold Newton Family member, but I am certainly including the various episodes of ENDEAVOUR in CROSSOVERS VOLUMES 3 and 4. :)