Eight years after the death of actor John Thaw, Inspector Morse, the character he played on screen from 1987 to 2000, will cross over to the stage for the first time – with former Doctor Who Colin Baker stepping into Thaw’s shoes.
House of Ghosts, a new stage play by Alma Cullen (author of four Morse screenplays) inspired by Colin Dexter’s original best-selling novels on which the TV series was also based, premieres on 27 August 2010 at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre before touring, until 4 December, to 14 other theatres, including a week at south London’s Richmond Theatre from 6 to 11 September.
The play sees the inscrutable Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse looking to his past, when an old acquaintance becomes the lead suspect in a murder case that involves the on-stage death of a young actress. Baker will lead a cast of 15 in the premiere production directed by Robin Hurford and presented by Calibre Productions, the same company behind recent stage versions of Porridge, Dad’s Army and ‘Allo ‘Allo.
Producer Ed O’Driscoll said: “We’re keenly aware of our responsibility to the millions of fans of both the books and TV series and have tried to stay true to the spirit of Colin Dexter’s marvellous characters. At the same time, we’re obviously very excited by this unique opportunity to bring Morse to the stage with a new mystery to solve, that we’re sure will thrill audiences across the UK.”
Commenting on his new role, Colin Baker added: “More Morse! This in itself is exciting enough, but for me to have the opportunity to follow in John Thaw's footsteps and bring this sullen, intuitive intellectual to life on-stage, is both daunting and very exciting.
Whilst revisiting the character in Dexter's novels, I am both appalled, and greatly encouraged to discover just how many characteristics I share with the great Inspector. It's a great and fiendishly clever script - I simply can't wait.”
After Stevenage and Richmond, House of Ghosts visits Oxford, York, Cardiff, Coventry, Malvern, Chelmsford, Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Derby, Woking, Poole and Southampton, with further dates and casting to be announced.