As fans of ITV’s Endeavour, the successful prequel to Inspector Morse, brace themselves for its final throes next season, Roger admits he has no idea how it will end or what DCI Fred Thursday’s fate will be. Promoting his new three-part series Murder In Provence, Roger revealed: “We’re in the middle of filming Endeavour’s last series but I don’t know what my exit is.”
Thursday, the grouchy but lovable Oxford copper, has had many false exits in the popular series, which also stars Shaun Evans as the eponymous detective.
Roger said: “I was shot very early on. I thought, ‘They’re going to get rid of me’. But no. He made a miraculous recovery.”
He has talked about the character’s ending with the show’s writer Russell Lewis. “Various things have been suggested but I don’t know. He’s trying to satisfactorily tie up all the ends, and give it a satisfactory ending on a number of fronts, not just Fred Thursday.”
He adds: “It’s quite a complicated business. When you set about it, I think you discover that, ‘Oh, it’d be nice to bring that character back’.
“Then you discover the actor isn’t available or something like that.”
He says it will be “quite emotional” when it finally comes to an end after 10 years.
“Oh yes, we’re a great team. We really love working together. We’re both very serious and we have a great deal of fun. And that’s one of the nicest things about acting, that it’s possible to have those two things.
“We’ve had some great guests – Kevin McNally only recently. I’m sure I’ll be very emotional when it finishes. It’s the first time I’ve done a series over such a long period.”
Born in Bow, east London, Roger, 68, will be hoping for a morsel of the same success for his new drama, Murder In Provence, which co-stars Nancy Carroll, transfers from Britbox to ITV tonight.
The title may suggest lavender fields in the South of France, which it does feature, but Roger revealed: “We weren’t in France most of the time.We were shooting near Didcot.
“There’s an abandoned school called Carmel College which I filmed in before, which has lots of wonderful buildings of very different architectural styles, and also some open ground. A lot of the interiors were done there, the apartments, in my office and things like that, and also a few bits of exterior work as well.
“Then we had three weeks at the end of filming and all went to Provence.
“We had a week on each film doing exteriors and a few interiors in Aix, which got knitted into it.
“I have to say, looking at them, they matched up really well.”
He plays an investigating judge who helps the police solve crimes.
Roger with Nancy Carroll In Provence In the French system the judge all but runs the case with the detectives.
Roger’s character enjoys his food and drink, which throws up its challenges, he says.
“Eating when you’re acting is a complete nightmare. Because you have to talk – they don’t just want to film you eating.
“You have to take tiny amounts or have something that looks like something that can sort of dissolve in your mouth very quickly.”
He hopes the series will do well and get recommissioned. “I hope it does. We all hope it is, very much, but it’s not in our hands.”
When it comes to choosing projects, Roger appears to be a realist: “What figures in my calculations is the script and the character, and whether I’m attracted to that – followed by the amount of time and the amount of money!”
Murder in Provence, ITV, 9pm