Matthew Richardson

A hatful of facts about...Colin Dexter

Text settings
Comments

1.) Colin Dexter's famous creation, Inspector Endeavour Morse, is due to fill our screens once more. ITV has announced that a new Morse film will be on the box next year. However, it comes with a twist. The film will be set in 1965 and feature a younger version of Morse, who will be played by Shaun Evans. The airing is set to coincide with the twenty-fifty anniversary of the first ever screening of Dexter's famous sleuth, back in 1987. Evans has said that he is 'very excited' about the role and that he hopes the new outing 'can complement what's come before, by telling a great story, and telling it well.' Dexter meanwhile, in a typically artful piece of verbal play, said: 'Immortal was Endeavour Morse - End-eavour more shall be so!'

2.) Dexter studied Classics at Christ's College, Cambridge (1950-53). He is well known for smuggling classical vocabulary into the Morse books. When asked about this on the BBC's Bookclub, he talked about including the Homeric term boustrophedon in one novel, claiming that he 'had more letters about that one word than about the whole of the plot put together'. He has recently spoken of his love of fellow classicist A.E. Housman.

3.) Dexter worked as a classics teacher during the early part of his career. When asked by the Guardian to name his happiest time in life, he replied: 'Teaching Latin and Greek in Corby, Northants, from 1959 to 1966.' He has also talked about an inspirational English teacher in his own life while he was a schoolboy in Stamford, as part of the same newspaper's series on mentors. Speaking about Hugh Sharp, his English teacher, Dexter claimed: 'He never taught me any formal lessons at all, and didn't try and influence my selection of a book. Instead, he just told me that I could choose any book from his library but the condition was that I had to bring it back and I had to read it. This is one of the most amazing things anyone said to me in my life...He wanted me to discover the trove of English literature for myself.'

4.) Similarities between Dexter and Morse have often been remarked upon. When quizzed on the topic, Dexter told the Independent: 'Like Morse, I am a little pessimistic and a little melancholy. And I share his views on politics and religion, as well as his fondness for Wagner, beer and crosswords. But I hope I'm not half as mean with money as he is.' On the subject of whether he drove anything like the famous red car, Dexter claimed: 'I'm not interested in cars in any way.'

5.) Dexter has immortalized Oxford in his books. By way of tribute, there is now an Inspector Morse walking tour, allowing you to 'visit the scenes of their best-known cases with lots of lively anecdotes along the way.' Dexter has, however, written elsewhere that his 'favourite place on earth has to be Lyme Regis', in no small part thanks to another literary connection: 'By the time I was 16 I'd read all but one of Hardy's novels...and Lyme Regis, of course, is in the heart of what they call "Hardy country".'