Saturday, July 13, 2019


Here endeth our week of 'Morse' reports.  Since we inducted Jim Strange into the TVXOHOF yesterday.....

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!


Thursday, July 11, 2019


Keeping with this week’s theme of ‘Endeavour’-“Deguello” 
centered posts, since it’s Thursday, we usually have a theory of “relateeveety.  And this episode concluded the plotline of a good candidate for such a theory.

Normally I would have saved this post for next New Year’s Day when I run my annual “Who’s On First?” blogathon.  But since this is a week for “Deguello” posts, I’m going to run it now.

From Wikipedia:
Henry Gordon Jago is a character who appeared in the 1977 ‘Doctor Who’ television serial, “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”. He was played by Christopher Benjamin. He worked so well with Trevor Baxter's character, Professor George Litefoot, the production team briefly considered giving them their own spin-off series. In 2009 they reprised their roles for the Big Finish Productions audio drama, “The Mahogany Murderers”. This led to their own audio series, ‘Jago & Litefoot’.

In Victorian London, Henry Gordon Jago was the owner and Master of Ceremonies at The Palace Theatre, a position he held for over thirty years. Jago was a charismatic character, comically cowardly, categorically crowing, constantly cash crunched and always adept at ample amounts of aureate alliteration. In 1889, Jago employed a Chinese illusionist named Li H'sen Chang, who often used a ventriloquist dummy called Mr. Sin.

Chang was actually serving a fugitive tyrant from the 51st Century named Magnus Greel and Mr. Sin was psychopathic pig cyborg. With Sino assassins on the streets and women whisked away at whim, the theatre attracted the astute attention of the Fourth Doctor and his assistant Leela.

It was while defeating these dastardly deliverers of deviltry, that Jago met upper class pathologist, Professor George Litefoot. The two remained close friends ever since, occasionally solving mysteries, including an adventure involving an anteater and an aluminum violin.  

(That last sentence refers to their adventures in the audioverse and perhaps in BookWorld, so they are not officially part of Toobworld.  I just liked the images brought up by those two adventures.)

For this theory of relateeveety, Toobworld Central assuming that in those thirty years in which he had been operating the Palace Theatre, Mr. Jago probably was married.  However, he doesn't seem the type of fellow who could remain locked into wedded bliss for very long.

But if so, there could have been issue.  At least one son, I would imagine; and that son would have a family of own, carrying the family name of Jago into the 20th Century.

Eventually this would have led to Detective Sergeant Alan Jago of the Thames Valley Constabulary.

All of the bad traits in Henry Gordon Jago, which were merely comical faults, would have been dialed up to eleven with Alan Jago.  He was a murderer, a black marketeer, a drug dealer, a traitor to the force, and all-around scumbag.

Just as in real life, the good of Toobworldlings doesn’t usually get passed down through the generations…..


Wednesday, July 10, 2019


In the season finale of ‘Endeavour’ (“Deguello”) a tower block named Cranmer House, part of the Martyrs’ Field complex, partially collapsed because of “concrete cancer”.  It was built with shoddy construction practices and cheap, sub-standard materials – like sea sand.  That contained salt which corroded the rebar supporting the pillars.

This episode took place in the autumn of 1969, but its inspiration came from the Real World of the year before…...

From Wikipedia:
On 16 May 1968, a gas explosion in the kitchen of an 18th floor flat resulted in the collapse of the entire south-east corner of Ronan Point, a 22-storey east London tower block, killing four people and injuring 17. The disaster led to a loss of public confidence in high-rise residential buildings and resulted in major changes in UK building regulations

Ronan Point was a 22-storey tower block in Canning Town in Newham, East London, which partly collapsed on 16 May 1968, only two months after it had opened. A gas explosion blew out some load-bearing walls, causing the collapse of one entire corner of the building, which killed four people and injured 17. Although there were few casualties, the spectacular nature of the failure (caused by both poor design and poor construction), led to a loss of public confidence in high-rise residential buildings, and major changes in UK building regulations resulted.

At approximately 5:45 am on 16 May 1968, resident Ivy Hodge went into her kitchen in flat 90, a corner flat on the 18th floor of the building, and lit a match to light the gas stove for a cup of tea. The match sparked a gas explosion that blew out the load-bearing flank walls, which had been supporting the four flats above. It is believed that the weaknesses were in the joints connecting the vertical walls to the floor slabs. The flank walls fell away, leaving the floors above unsupported and causing the progressive collapse of the south-east corner of the building.

The building had just opened, and three of the four flats immediately above Hodge's were unoccupied. Four of the 260 residents were killed immediately and seventeen were injured, including a young mother who was stranded on a narrow ledge when the rest of her living room disappeared. Hodge survived, despite being blown across the room by the explosion—as did her gas stove, which she took to her new address.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019


I guess the ‘Endeavour’ finale of “Deguello” had quite an effect on me because I’m talking about it again today, and it looks like I’ll make it through Friday covering the topic….

"Memoirs Of A -#"  What was it, Morse
Voluptuary. Racy go for a numbers man, I'd have thought. 
I'm writing a paper on Edwardian erotica. It's very popular. 
Well-thumbed, I'm sure. I'm more of a Holly Martins man myself.

Hoo boy!  This poses a puzzle for Toobworld Dynamic!

“The Third Man” is multiversal. 

  • There’s the original book by Graham Greene.
  • Then there’s the 1949 adaptation by Carol Reed which starred Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Trevor Howard, and Valli.
  • And finally there’s the bowdlerized, sanitized TV series from 1959 starring Michael Rennie in the Orson Welles role of Harry Lime and Jonathan Harris.
Because Harry Lime of the TV show was so revamped from the novel and the movie, Toobworld had to act as though those venues didn’t exist.  But with Thursday’s mention of Holly Martins as a writer, that has to be re-assessed.

In two of his meta-fictional universes, Harry Lime was a duplicitous con man and black marketeer whose dilution of penicillin caused agony and death in sick children in post-war Vienna.  But in Toobworld?  Lime was a suave international ladies’ man who was an art dealer and who would on occasion solve mysteries that might have an impact on his life.  For the TV Universe, he came off more as a predecessor for Simon Templar.

In more than 75 episodes, Holly Martins, an author who wrote Western genre novels a la Zane Grey, was never seen.  However, in all his world travels (that we saw), Harry never looked up his old friend.  And yet we know Holly Martins existed in Toobworld because back in 1969, Thursday mentioned that he read his books.  (Among his titles are “The Lone Rider From Sante Fe” and “The Oklahoma Kid”.)

I have no problem in wanting to absorb the movie version of “The Third Man” into the TV Universe – it’s one of my top ten movies of all time and I’m always learning something new from it.  (As a matter of fact, in preparing this post, I learned something else – that Wilfred Hyde White’s character of Crabbin was with his mistress and was always trying to keep her out of the way.  Went right over me noggin.)

But that leaves us now with the little problem of what to do with the TV version of “The Third Man”?  “Little”… yeesh!

One option would be to just ship it off to another TV dimension.  We’ve got plenty of them, according to the opening narration of ‘Sliders’ and they’re always needing new occupants.

Or we can claim that it’s an actual TV show from within the TV Universe, visible to us in its entirety.  We’ve seen that happen in the past – the best example is that span of episodes from ‘The Lone Ranger’ which starred John Hart as the Masked Man instead of Clayton Moore.  When it was Moore in the role, we were seeing the actual Lone Ranger.  When it was Hart, we were watching the TV show based on the Lone Ranger’s adventures.

And I think we might invoke the Toobworld-specific group known as UNReal for being the reason behind this TV show which rehabilitates the image of Harry Lime.  Why did they do this?  To preserve the tenuous nature of the global political alliances, especially in Vienna would be a good enough reason I should think!  And there could be reputations to protect, chief among them Western writer Holly Martins.

Harry Lime didn’t deserve to have his reputation burnished after death, but UNReal might have thought it was better to let the world believe he was a fictional construct rather than an actual person.  The only problem was that Graham Greene wrote the novel based on the facts.  Still, television has always proven to be more powerful than the written word so the general public accepted the Michael Rennie series as the Truth.  And so the movie – which also existed in Toobworld thanks to mentions in ‘Remington Steele’, ‘NCIS’, ‘Law & Order’, ‘NCIS: New Orleans’, and ‘Chuck’ among others – would just be dismissed as the adaptation of the novel and not real life.

"Makes my head hurt...."

It’s a more complicated splainin than I prefer, but ironically I think the world is a better place for having the embodiment of scum and villainy having walked through it.

But I’m open to how you would interpret/reconcile this Zonk quandary.

Zonk Quandary….  Sounds like another bad name for a “Star Wars” character…..


Monday, July 8, 2019


The sixth season finale of ‘Endeavour’ – “Deguello” - aired on PBS last night.  It had already been broadcast back in March in the United Kingdom.

Through the fifth season I was worried that TV Crossover Hall of Fame member Russell Lewis was pulling back on all the trivial connections he was liberally sprinkling throughout the earlier seasons.  But it looks like he was getting back to form with these four episodes.

Here’s one to kick off the week….

The assistant librarian at the Bodleian Library was named Lucy Paroo.  Musical fans should recognize that last name – Marian the Librarian is the leading lady in “The Music Man” and her full name is Marian Paroo.

“The Music Man” was performed on television in 2003, but I don’t include it in Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld.  Instead it is in a TV dimension in which the musical demon Mr. Sweet holds sway.  For Toobworld, “The Music Man” is a Broadway show and a movie.

Based on the age of Precious Mustapha, who played Lucy Paroo, I believe Lucy was born in 1947.  The musical debuted on Broadway in 1957 when Lucy was ten years old; and the movie came out when she turned fifteen, in 1962. 

The Broadway musical would not have had an effect on her, but she certainly could have seen the movie in 1962.  And it must have been quite a kick for her to see that Shirley Jones was playing a character with the same last name as she had.  And I think that might have started her thinking that perhaps she too could one day have a career as a librarian.

I realize it’s not the wild connection that some of Team Toobworld have come to expect from me, but sometimes it’s best to just go with a simple O’Bservation.  And in this case, it does sort of expand Lucy Paroo’s life beyond the episode into the greater world of the Toob.