Ten years after its first outing Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis returns for another six part series tomorrow on ITV. Lead actor Kevin Whately discusses the latest series and playing the character for three decades.
The arrival of new Chief Superintendent Joe Moody heralds a fresh dawn for Oxfordshire Police, although the high flyer soon clashes with Lewis over the latter’s more traditional approach to detective work.
With Hobson contemplating a round-world trip to witness the birth of her niece’s baby, and the new boss piling on the pressure, will Robbie finally decide to call time on his policing career? Meanwhile, Hathaway is forced to confront his past when his father is moved into a care home suffering from dementia. After years of avoiding the thorny issue of family ties, has James left it too late to be reunited with the man his father once was?
How does it feel to be back. Have you enjoyed returning to play Lewis?
I enjoy it very much. It’s been 10 years of Lewis, including the pilot, so it all feels very familiar, like family. If you add that to 14 years of Morse then this is my 30th year playing Lewis, so I’m afraid the character is me now.
Do you enjoy working with Laurence and Angela?
It’s absolutely great, Angie’s very well prepared and takes the pressure off us, she also looks brilliant on camera. Laurence keeps us laughing; he’s chaotic fun. It’s s department throughout the 10 years, which is fantastic We’ve got an awful lot of septuagenerians now.
Have there been any memorable moments on set this series?
Well Laurence has a running gag for everybody in the crew so he keeps us laughing. This series is the first very common, but it was a first for Lewis. It’s the future really, I think cranes might be in trouble!
Lewis came out of retirement in series 8 to act as a consultant. Where do we find him now at the start of series 9?
Lewis is star last. There’s a new Chief Superintendent who is star he’s feeling a little bit surplus to requirements. It makes him tetchy and he’s trying to prove himself a bit. He’s never been much of a go-getter but he’s very comfortable with policing. He has solved thousands of murders and it’s what he’s good at. Policing is what he knows and what he likes.
Lewis and Hobson are planning a trip to New Zealand. How does Lewis feel about his impending trip abroad?
Hobson wants to travel and visit her family, and is contemplating retirement, but Lewis isn’t sure what that will mean for him. The nearer the trip gets the
more he is fretting about his job and whether or not there will be a role for him on the force when they get back.
What is the relationship like between Lewis and Hathaway this series? They’re quite a duo…
The dynamic’s changed a bit but they have settled down and learned how to make it work. Last series the lines were blurred slightly with Maddox not really knowing who she was answering to, but it’s a well-oiled machine this series.
We’re introduced to Hathaway’s family, but there seems to be issues between them. Does Lewis help and encourage Hathaway in his relationships?
Lewis is anxious because Hathaway and his dad have a very distant relationship and wants to bring them together: he tries to mediate as much as he can.
Ten years of Lewis and 14 years of Morse, can you work out whodunit?
I always think I can… In one of these scripts I spotted who the killer was because there was something that gave it away for me, so we changed it slightly.
Lewis is globally successful. What is it that you think audiences love about the series?
I think Lewis and Endeavour benefit a lot from the legacy of Morse; in particular what John Thaw did with the character. The concept of a two-hour detective series has taken on over the 30 years. Morse established a huge fan base that we have inherited so really we can’t fail. I also think Oxford is quite unique and an important ingredient, because it is otherworldly in a lot of ways. Oxford is iconic. It looks so beautiful… It gives us another dimension to the Lewis stories that we couldn’t get if we filmed elsewhere.
Lewis on ITV, UTV and STV tomorrow, October 6th, at 9pm