Following seamlessly on from ‘Foyle’s War’ comes another period policier with a certain amount of baggage. The 2012 pilot wasn’t to everyone’s taste, but ‘Endeavour’s’ flick through Inspector Morse’s back pages retained enough of the original’s magic (not least Barrington Pheloung’s impeccable soundtrack) to earn itself a four-episode series.
Shaun Evans’s central performance as young Morse remains a peculiar thing, adrift between tribute act and its own uncertain identity, but Roger Allam anchors proceedings as the improbably named DI Fred Thursday and Anton Lesser is in his element as the conservative superintendent who hates to have a bridge night interrupted.
Tonight’s case connects a young medical student, a troubled GP, a dodgy postman and the incipient CND campaign. Even by ‘Morse’ standards, the solution is on the opaque side of tricksy, but seasoned Morse watchers will enjoy the careful integration of familiar elements. Your clue this week: ‘matey’.
The Black Penny
It was a marketing wheeze that really, really worked. This new café/takeaway in Covent Garden sold every dish for a penny on opening day, and when we went a few days later there were huge queues waiting for tables and (mostly) takeaway. It reminded us of the old drug dealer’s trick to get new clients: ‘the first one’s free’. Addiction to Black Penny may become a recognised medical condition, but it won’t be because of cost – low though that is. When you finally reach the counter, you see dishes that look like those at many another coffee place: soup, sandwiches, salad, quiche, a stew, lots of baked sweet things. But when you finally sit down in the small back dining room, you realise this isn’t the stuff of two-for-a-penny cafés. The quality is high in both sweet and savoury dishes. Salads are a particular strength, with confident seasoning in the dressings and excellent assemblies of sprightly ingredients to carry them. The kitchen has a masterful pasty-maker, as we saw in both a savoury tart and a Pennsylvania-Dutch-style apple pie. They also had a good ceviche on the menu when we were there. Portions are enormous and prices eminently reasonable - £7.50 for a salad box that some people would be happy to share between two, sandwiches just under a fiver. In the food, the only downer was inelegant presentation of salad selections. The separate components were piled together so that their flavours blended in some unappealing ways: ceviche on top of couscous is never a good