After a first half of the year that was somewhat derailed by filming delays stemming from coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, Masterpiece has a plethora of fan favorites returning in the second half of the year on PBS. Unforgotten is airing now; Grantchester will kick off the fall slate, followed by Call The Midwife and Baptiste. But while that will round up most of the delayed favorites, there's one glaring absence: Endeavour, the Morse prequel spinoff, which has been a staple of the Masterpiece schedule since 2012.
Unlike the other titles mentioned above, Endeavour's filming schedule isn't as flexible. The delays in getting Season 8 off the ground meant a long wait until the schedules for everyone involved could line up again. While most shows delayed from summer filming merely wound up starting their process in October or November (albeit slowed by precautionary measures), Endeavour didn't get back to work until this spring. But with only three feature-length episodes, the moment is back on the side of those at the Thames Valley Constabulary, and ITV has confirmed the show will air in 2021 in the U.K.
The network released the first official image from Season 8 to celebrate the show's return, featuring Shaun Evans and Roger Allam as Endeavour Morse and Fred Thursday.
The new season will pick up a year after Season 7 in 1971. The three-episode season will feature the return of most of the cast, including Anton Lesser (Wolf Hall) as CS Reginald Bright, Sean Rigby (Gunpowder) as DS Jim Strange, and James Bradshaw (Primeval) as Dr. Max DeBryn. There will also be a star-studded line up of guest appearances this year, with John Hollingworth (Poldark), Joseph Millson (Penny Dreadful), Elliot Levey (Press), Julian Moore-Cook (Benidorm), Ruth Bradley (Guilt), Fraser James (Origin), Wayne Cater (The Witcher), Oliver Johnstone (Inspector Lewis), Andrew Woodall (Des) and Andrea Lowe (Agatha Raisin).
But even with confirmation that Endeavour Season 8 will air in the U.K. before year's end, PBS fans should not get their hopes up that a premiere over there before the end of the year will mean U.S. viewers will get the same over here. Endeavour does not come across the pond right away. Traditionally, the series has had at least a full 90-day window of U.K. exclusivity between the show's finale and its premiere over here. In several cases, the wait has been even longer; Season 7 concluded the last weekend in February in 2020 but didn't premiere over here until August.
With so many other shows on deck, it seems likely that PBS won't feel the need to rush the show over after it airs and wait out the gap. That means chances are the earliest fans would see the new season is January of 2022. But unlike some feature-length series that run only a few episodes, like Vienna Blood, Masterpiece doesn't typically split Endeavour episodes up into six 45-minute installments. So it's not an ideal show to function as a tandem piece, for say, the return of All Creatures Great and Small. That makes the show likely to hold until later in the year, perhaps even to its usual summer berth.
Endeavour Season 8 does not yet have a release date. The show's more recent seasons are available to stream on PBS Passport.