Endeavour Morse heads to the Crossroads Motel

The series is written by Russell Lewis who worked with Crossroads director Alan Coleman in the 1970s.

ITV drama Endeavour is to pay homage to Midland motel based series Crossroads. A trailer for this weekend’s forthcoming episode is seen to show a sign pointing to Kings Oak. The village was the setting for the serial from 1964 to 1988, and again for a couple of years in the 2000s.

A source at the production company has revealed to the Radio Times the homage is quite intentional and as far as the series is concerned Shaun Evans’ character of Endeavour Morse will be visiting the Crossroads Motel while he searches for the perpetrator of a murder.

Crossroads, produced by ATV in Birmingham, followed the everyday lives of the staff and guests – as well as the lives of the villagers – for over 4500 episodes. The series initially revolved around Noele Gordon’s character of Meg Richardson, who ran the hospitality outlet, and her sister Kitty Jarvis, played by Beryl Johnstone, who ran the village newsagents.

If Mr Morse was to pick up the ‘Kings Oak Village Guidebook’ he would discover that originally the area was called ‘Slohtran Ford’, which means “marshy ford.” The hamlet was originally inhabited by foresters who built their huts at the easiest crossing point for the River Slotter, which runs through the centre of Kings Oak. The name Kings Oak comes from the Civil War when King Charles hid there for a night in a giant oak tree hence “the Kings in the oak tree.”

In 1968, the year Endeavour visits Kings Oak, the village had 750 inhabitants and was administered by its own Rural Council. The village had two churches, St Mary’s and the Methodist Church. On the outskirts of Kings Oak, there is St Lawrence’s church. The three mainstay pubs were – The Crown – The Kings Oak and The Stag. The village was to be found ten miles south of Birmingham City Centre.

Endeavour is the prequel to John Thaw vehicle Inspector Morse, which was made by Zenith Productions for Central Television, Central of course also had links to the original Crossroads; they took over the production of the series in 1982. This saw Head of Drama Ted Childs overseeing both programmes.

Another less obvious link between the saga and the period crime drama is the writer of the series Russell Lewis, who worked with Alan Coleman, Crossroads’ first director, on the ATV childrens show The Kids from 47A which was also produced in the same studios as the motel serial. Alan Coleman went on to become Head of Children’s Drama with ATV before leaving for Grundy in Australia where he worked on serials such as The Young Doctors and Neighbours.

It isn’t the first time an ITV drama has featured the motel saga. Marshlands, during its 1987 set era, saw characters watching an episode of Crossroads in one scene. Crossroads also recorded scenes in Oxford, the usual home of Inspector Morse, in the mid-1970s featuring Susan Hanson as Diane Parker.

Endeavour airs on Sunday 18th February, on ITV. The trailer to the series with the nod to Kings Oak can be seen below:

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