Profile: Shaun Evans, actor

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The Independent Online

Who's this fresh-faced chap?

Believe it or not, it's Inspector Morse

Hang on, Inspector Morse died of a heart attack...

That he did, 11 years ago and 14 million people tuned in to watch. But this is the young Morse. Or rather, it's Shaun Evans, the little-known actor picked to play him in a prequel – set in 1965 – about his early sleuthing days.

So, it's Morse in the swinging days?

An intriguing prospect. In 2008, the author of the original Morse books, Colin Dexter, penned a short story about the young Morse ditching Oxford University for the local constabulary. ITV producers loved it and now the tale, which revolves around the hunt for a missing girl, is being filmed in Oxford and hits our screens next year – 25 years after Morse's first television appearance. The prequel promises to reveal the origins of the detective's famous passions for real ale, classical music and poetry.

And what about this Evans fellow? Up to the task?

He certainly has a hard act to follow. The late, great John Thaw made the character his own in 33 films between 1987 and 2000. New boy Shaun Evans, 31, has spent most of his career under the radar, appearing in another television detective series, Ashes to Ashes, and the 2003 Irish film The Boys from County Clare. He dated co-star Andrea Corr for four years, garnering some media attention – but nothing on the scale of what he can expect when he steps into the shoes of Britain's favourite detective.