Mystery in the Museum

Shaun Evans in the Museum Credit: Scott Billings

Shaun Evans in the Museum
Credit: Scott Billings

A closed museum makes for an intriguing film set. Wrapped skeletons, shadowy corridors and empty echoing spaces create the perfect atmosphere for a mystery.

Canvas wrapping transports a camel to the 1960s Credit: Scott Billings

Canvas wrapping transports a camel to the 1960s Credit: Scott Billings

This week we’ve had the cast and crew of the ITV1 detective series Endeavour filming in the Museum. Endeavour is a prequel to Inspector Morse, the famous Oxford-based series that ran for 13 years. Production company Mammoth Screen are currently making the second series of Endeavour, which stars Shaun Evans as the young Morse making his name as a detective.

Endeavour is set in the 1960s so, to achieve an authentic period look, preparations by the production team started in the Museum last week. Skeletons that were covered in plastic and foam were given a retro make-over with canvas draping, and modern displays were temporarily replaced by ’60s style versions.

Credit: Scott Billings

Credit: Scott Billings

There was a very dramatic atmosphere in the Museum, with impeccably dressed cast sporting coiffed bouffant hair dos and convincing period outfits. The police officers looked pretty striking!

Credit: Mike Peckett

Credit: Mike Peckett

At the end of the day on Monday, I was lucky enough to bump into the star of the show, young Endeavour Morse himself, played by Shaun Evans. Shaun was exploring the Museum after closing, during a break in filming. He had never visited the Museum before, so enjoyed the opportunity to see if without the crowds. Shaun was very friendly and enthusiastic about the beautiful architecture so we suggested he comes back when we re-open to see the building in its full glory.

June and Keith Marsh on-set int he Museum Credit: Mike Peckett

June and Keith Marsh on-set in the Museum
Credit: Mike Peckett



Yesterday I spoke to Alex Cox, Location Manager, and tried to find out the secrets behind the episode. He was rather mysterious himself, only giving away some tiny clues about the story. What he could tell me is that the Museum will feature in the second episode in the new series, which is called ‘Nocturne’. It will be aired on Sunday 6th April 2014, so make sure you tune in!

Although Alex wasn’t budging on the twists and turns of the plot, he did go as far as to say that some of the crucial scenes were filmed in the Museum’s historic spaces… including some investigations!

Credit: Scott Billings

Credit: Scott Billings

Alex was also keen to emphasise that the link between Morse and Oxford is still as strong as ever. As he put it, “Morse loves Oxford and Oxford loves Morse”. It seems that the Museum is the ideal location for their filming; “This episode has a very Gothic and dark atmosphere, so the splendour of the Museum’s architecture suits the mood superbly”.

The one enigmatic clue that Alex gave away was “Every house has its secrets… and some may be hidden in the Museum…” Can’t wait until April!


Rachel Parle, Education Officer

This entry was posted in TV and Film by rachelparle. Bookmark the permalink.

About rachelparle

I'm Interpretation and Education Officer at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. I work with families, exhibitions, social media and lots of other fun projects. In my spare time I mostly like visiting other museums!

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