4 01 2012

Thought for the Day:

‘I can accept failure

But I cannot accept not trying.’

Michael Jordan (1963- )



Doreen and Neville Lawrence have finally been rewarded for nineteen years of endeavour, through ceaseless campaigning, to bring the killers of their eldest son Stephen to trial.

The Stephen Lawrence murder case has become a byword for racial intolerance and violence in Britain. He was the chance victim of a racist attack, his life cut tragically short, at eighteen years, for no reason other than the colour of his skin.

Such was the level of race hatred, in the UK, at that time that Stephen’s body was laid to rest in Jamaica – the country his parents left in the 1960s in search of a better life – to avoid his grave being desecrated.

A public inquiry into the case highlighted inept policing and institutionalised racism, within the Met, as the main reasons why Stephen’s killers had remained at large for so long.

Yesterday, partial justice was finally restored. Partial in so much as only two of the gang who took Stephen’s life have been found guilty. A further nine people remain under police suspicion but, for the time being, with insufficient evidence to bring them to court.

Gary Dobson and David Norris have been sentenced today, to 15 years two months and 14 years 3 months respectively, for a crime that if committed today, at the age they were at the time of the offence, would have carried a minimum sentence of 30 years.                             

In this case the law seems to have come up far too short for what the Lord Chief Justice recently described as a, ‘murder that scarred the conscience of the nation’, and given that, in the words of Doreen Lawrence, ‘Had the police done their job, I could have spent the last 18 years grieving.’   

Scotland Yard do not see this as the end of the road and the case will remain open.

Doreen and Neville Lawrence’s tenacious endeavour to seek justice for Stephen has led to major changes in policing, law and politics. But, eighteen years on, can we really put our hands on our hearts and say that there is significantly less racism our society? I’d like to think so but I’m not so sure.   

If only reality were more like fiction, where crime murder investigations are tidily disposed of within the space of a two-hour TV programme, as in the case of ‘Endeavour’ , the Inspector Morse prequel.

I’m not a lover of prequels, sequels or spin-offs – they invariably fall short of the original. But I’ve long been an Inspector Morse fan, both on the written page, having read all of Colin Dexter’s books, and in the ITV series, starring the late John Thaw.    

John Thaw made the character his own, to such an extent that Colin Dexter found himself writing his later books more around Morse’s TV persona than the character that had originally inhabited his imagination!

Much of the enduring success of the TV series, through 13 years and 33 episodes, was due to the on-screen chemistry between Thaw’s Morse and his young Geordie sidekick Sergeant Lewis, played by Kevin Whateley. Although Lewis was older and Welsh in the original stories!

Morse and Lewis first appeared together on our screens 25 years ago, in the ‘Dead of Jericho’, scripted by the late Anthony Mingella, and finally bowed out in the ‘Remorseful Day’ following Morse’s death, by heart attack, in the picturesque quad of an Oxford College.       

In 2000, 18 million people watched the final three two-hour episodes.  

As far as I was concerned that was it, end of story, and I’ve never been able to bring myself to watch the spin-off ‘Lewis’ series, despite its apparent popularity.

Similarly I was pretty determined not to enjoy ‘Endeavour’, apparently loosely based on a Colin Dexter Christmas short story, written for the Daily Mail in 2008. I had ‘put it on the red button’ as a standby for a rainy day, and last night, sooner than anticipated, I found myself watching it!

The title, ‘Endeavour’ comes from Morse’s first name, which was not actually revealed by Colin Dexter until ‘Death is Now My Neighbour’, the twelfth book in the series, published in 1996 and televised in ’97.

Morse was always embarrassed by his given name and kept it a closely guarded secret. His father, a Quaker, was supposedly obsessed by Captain James Cook and named his son after the explorer’s famous ship!

I have to admit that Shaun Evans’ portrayal of  the young Morse entirely won me over, as did Roger Allam’s performance as DI Fred Thursday, and I suspect that, despite its billing as a one –off, that we might see more of this pairing.

During the course of the investigation, into the death of a 15-year-old school girl, we learned that the young Morse had dropped out of Oxford, where there had been a failed relationship with a fellow student, about his passion for classical music and crosswords, and how the one time teetotaller  quickly discovered a taste for real ale, and a liking for the Jaguar Mark II.   

The storyline, was well constructed if a little unlikely and I was fairly sure ‘who dunnit’ relatively early on, but the actng was good and the nostalgic 60s setting convincingly authentic – all in all, surprisingly enjoyable!

I particularly enjoyed the ending when Shaun Evans looking into the Jaguar rear view mirror, imagining himself 20 years down the line, and there was John Thaw’s face staring back – a neat touch!      






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: