Friday, July 12, 2019


To end this week celebrating ‘Endeavour’ and ‘Inspector Morse’, it’s time to induct another TV character into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame for the category of Friday Hall of Famers.

But… surprise!  It’s not whom you might expect….

From the “Inspector Morse wiki”:
Jim Strange is a character featured in both ‘Inspector Morse’, played by James Grout, and its prequel ‘Endeavour’, played by Sean Rigby.  

Chief Superintendent Jim Strange is a fictional character in the television series 'Inspector Morse'. The character also appears, as a Police Constable, in the prequel series 'Endeavour'. Although Strange does not appear in every episode of ‘Inspector Morse’, he is present in the whole series (of 33 2-hour TV films) from beginning to end. The intervening episodes from which he is absent are few in number. It is revealed (in the original series) that Strange's first name is 'Jim'.


Jim Strange is played by British actor James Grout.  In the subsequent prequel series ‘Endeavour’, Strange is played by Sean Rigby. Here the character is a uniformed Police Constable, working alongside the young Detective Constable Morse. PC Jim Strange interacts with the young Morse in a number of ways which point to the origins of later aspects of their relationship in the ‘Inspector Morse’ series. Strange was the most well-known character played by James Grout, who died in 2012. When the character was introduced in ‘Endeavour’ in 2013 he was given Grout's Christian name, James, in the diminutive format 'Jim'.


As a young Constable in ‘Endeavour’ Strange is already in the habit of addressing people as "matey". Slightly overweight, and given to bouts of pomposity, he is nonetheless a dependable and honest policeman, with his mind set on a career in the police.

By the chronologically later stage of the (earlier) ‘Inspector Morse’ series, Jim Strange, holding the rank of Chief Superintendent, is the Divisional Commander for Oxford city, of the Thames Valley Police force. His relationship with the principal character, Morse, is at times turbulent. Strange is a traditionalist, a Freemason, and a stickler for rules and regulations. Morse is also a traditionalist, but not in the same conservative sense as Strange; likewise, Morse is not interested in Freemasonry, although he proves knowledgeable on the subject, and in the 15th episode “Masonic Mysteries” proves his knowledge from the sublime (deep symbolism of masonry) to the less so (revealing to a junior traffic cop that he knows the masonic handshake, and that he is fully aware of which members of the local police are in the lodge); it is certainly true that the rules and regulations often frustrate Morse, and this leads to disagreements with Strange - a theme also picked up by the prequel, which shows the two characters disagreeing over the importance of rules in series 1, episode 1.

However, it is also clear that Strange has a deep respect for Morse, even if not always appreciating his methods. Despite often addressing Morse, somewhat dismissively, as "matey", a clear mutual respect eventually shines through their relationship - in the final episode, “The Remorseful Day”, in which Morse dies, Strange's attitude towards Morse might even be described as fond and affectionate. This is even more apparent in the original novel in which Morse is shown to have acted to prevent a potential embarrassment for Strange. The "matey" form of address is explained in the prequel as a common form of address by Strange for all his acquaintances.

Chief Superintendent Jim Strange also shows a clear respect for and of Sergeant Lewis, Morse's loyal assistant, and ultimately gives Lewis strong encouragement to seek promotion to Detective Inspector - as indeed he had encouraged him earlier in the series to apply for a vacant Inspector's position in the Oxford traffic police. However, the character does not appear in the sequel series ‘Lewis’, in the timeline of which, he appears to have retired.

28 Episodes (and counting)

From the IMDb:
Set in the 1960s, the show follows Endeavour Morse in his early years as a police constable. Working alongside his senior partner DI Fred Thursday, Morse engages in a number of investigations around Oxford.

Series 1 follows the early police career of young Endeavour Morse, who upon leaving his Oxford College without a degree, spending time in the Royal Signal Corps., and eventually joining the Oxfordshire Police, is transferred to CID, attaining the rank of Detective Constable. Originally starting out his career at Carshall-Newtown Police, Morse transfers to the Oxford City Police in 1965 following a murder investigation during the pilot episode. While with the Oxford City Police, Morse is taken under the wing of veteran Detective Inspector Fred Thursday. Inspector Thursday names Morse his designated "bag man" and shows him the ropes as Morse begins to solve a string of complex murders, much to the envy and annoyance of some of his superiors, particularly Detective Sergeant Jakes and Chief Superintendent Bright. Thursday and Morse's fellow officer, Police Constable Strange, try to steer the young Endeavour into taking his Sergeant's exam, so that he may be relieved of "General Duties" ...  

33 Episodes

From the IMDb:
Inspector Morse has an ear for music, a taste for beer, and a nose for crime. He sets out with Sergeant Lewis to solve each intriguing case.

First broadcast in 1987, the Inspector Morse series is a crime drama based on the Colin Dexter novels of the same name. The show is based around the exciting exploits of Morse - a senior officer within the Criminal Investigation Department of the Oxford Police - as he investigates heavy crimes in and around Oxford with his sidekick, Sergeant Lewis. Morse is a grumpy classical music aficionado who loves beer, and who frequently loses patience with the earnest but somewhat slow Lewis.  


From the IMDb:
Clip show that represents a biography of sorts of the now late great Inspector Morse. Chief Superintendent Strange fills in the blanks in between the clips with his first hand testimony about the man.

Clips from the following episodes were featured:

  • The Dead of Jericho (1987)
  • The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (1987)
  • The Wolvercote Tongue (1987)
  • Last Seen Wearing (1988)
  • Deceived by Flight (1989)
  • Driven to Distraction (1990)
  • Masonic Mysteries (1990)
  • Promised Land (1991)
  • Dead on Time (1992)
  • The Death of the Self (1992)
  • Twilight of the Gods (1993)
  • The Way Through the Woods (1995)
  • Death Is Now My Neighbour (1997) 

So.  Those are three distinct appearances by Jim Strange in the TV Universe, from the 1960s into the late 1990s which thus qualify him to join the TVXOHOF.  As mentioned above, it is assumed that he retired at some point just before ‘Inspector Lewis’ begins or soon after.  And because James Grout has passed away in the Real World, we’re going to honor him by saying Jim Strange has died as well.  Hopefully that would deter anybody else from coming along and playing him in his later years.  (As if Toobworld Central had any sway in the world, Matey…..)

Welcome to the Hall, Jim Strange!


No comments: