JOHN Thaw was one of TV’s biggest stars and a huge acting talent.
From The Sweeney to Inspector Morse via Goodnight Mister Tom and dozens of other roles, he gave pleasure to millions.
So it’s good to see that ITV are planning a celebration to mark the 20th anniversary of the arrival of Oxford detective Morse on screen.
Manchester-born and raised John, who died from cancer in 2002, would probably have been amused – and a little taken aback – by the thought of such a tribute.
It will include a special weekend of programmes on ITV3, including Morse Live At The Albert Hall, a spectacular evening of music at the London venue.
Hosted by Michael Parkinson, the concert will feature several opera stars, such as Lesley Garrett – taking a night off from her role in The Sound of Music.
Composers will include Wagner, Mozart, Puccini, Handel and Haydn with the London Philharmonic Orchestra joined on stage by the Crouch End Festival Chorus.
And award-winning Morse composer Barrington Pheloung will make a guest appearance on the conductor’s podium.
With music selected from the series, the event on April 19 will be screened as part of the ITV3 celebration weekend on April 28 and 29.
Kevin Whately, who co-starred in Morse as Sgt Lewis before more recent promotion to his own series, will make a special appearance in the TV programme.
Other highlights include new documentary There’s Something About Morse, in which actors – including John’s wife Sheila Hancock – writers and producers explore the success of the ITV drama.
Another film – The Music of Morse – is a detailed examination of how music was used in the series. It will be narrated by Kevin.
ITV3 will also screen 12 Morse episodes, each with an introduction by Mr Whately recounting his memories of filming – including his first encounter with John and their trip to Australia to make The Promised Land story.
First broadcast in January 1987, Inspector Morse broke new ground in two-hour films which enthralled viewers around the world.
I was lucky enough to talk to John on many occasions about his work and attended the moving service to remember his life.
Although he had been ill, there was a great sense of loss when the Burnage-raised star died at the age of 60.
But thanks to TV repeats, DVD releases and celebrations like this, his work lives on.
I certainly hope to be at the Royal Albert Hall on April 19.
The Music Of Morse – book tickets
John Thaw site