The Thick of It

Is 'Endeavour' Just the Beginning? Other British TV Characters That Should Get a Prequel

 

Endeavour has recently returned to Masterpiece Mystery for a second series and I must say I find it to be the most compelling show on PBS’ very British Sunday night line-up. So far DC Morse (Shaun Evans) has solved intricate cases dealing with beauty queens, ancient artifacts, a boarding school for girls and a century’s old mass murder. In addition, I’m looking forward to discovering how the Freemasons play into all the mayhem being unleashed in Oxford.

As advertised when it first aired last summer, Endeavour is the origin story of the beloved Inspector Morse, who was played by the late John Thaw in the orignial series of the same name. This prequel is not only an opportunity to allow fans of the original series to see Morse solve a few more murders, but a peek into the past to discover how the promising young Endeavour developed into the brilliant but somewhat sullen detective he became. We get to witness his growing affinity for opera and drink, as well as get a glimpse of some people who will follow him through his police career. Fans love little homages like that and new viewers get to meet a well-written character with a definite destiny ahead of him.

The concept of the prequel got me to thinking about other series that might want to employ this narrative device. While some shows are all about character development and uncovering the layers, so to speak, there are other personalities that are so mysterious, eccentric or enigmatic you can’t help wondering how they got that way.

Amazing Internet Things: Malcolm Tucker is the Twelfth Doctor

Before he was cast to play the Twelfth Doctor on Doctor Who, actor Peter Capaldi was probably best known for his performance as foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker on The Thick of It. The actor has obviously done a tremendous amount of other great work besides this on screens both large and small, but, well, Malcolm does tend to be one of the characters people remember. Which, probably has a lot to do with the swearing.

Given this fact, it seems natural that the internet’s first reaction upon the announcement of Capaldi’s casting as Twelve was to make a mash-up video combining both Doctor Who and The Thick of It into a forty second burst of awesomeness that you’ll sort of wish was actually real. In short, if you’ve ever wondered what Malcolm Tucker might be like as a Time Lord, well, this video is for you. (And the answer is, surprisingly the same.)

Two things you should know going in: 1.) This clip is hysterical, even if you’ve never seen The Thick of It and 2.) It is full of profanity, because that’s basically the secret language of Malcolm Tucker. Don’t watch this if you’re at work or if a lot of strong language bothers you or maybe even if there is anyone standing near you at home that might overhear.

British Actors You Should Know: Peter Capaldi

We figured: You get cast to play the Doctor, you get bumped up our British Actors You Should Know List. It seemed fair.

After much speculation and trepidation on the part of Doctor Who fans worldwide, the announcement has been made that Scottish actor Peter Capaldi will take on the 12th regeneration of the Doctor. I, for one, am quite chuffed about this choice as I have been an admirer of Mr. Capaldi’s work for some time.

Also, I’m interested to see how Steven Moffat and company will handle the necessary changes as they transition from Matt Smith, the youngest actor to play the Time Lord, to Capaldi who, at 55 years of age, ties with First Doctor William Hartnell for oldest actor to inhabit the part. Come to that, how will his companion Clara take the news?

Anyhow, it’s very exciting times indeed.

Now, if at this point you’re saying “Who is this Capaldi chap?” I’m willing to bet you’ve seen at least one of his wonderful performances over the past 30 years. But if you actually don’t know Peter Capaldi, whether you’re Whovian or not, I’m here to say he really is a British actor you should know and here are some reasons why.