The Inspector Morse Trivia Facts You Wish You knew!

We all have our favorite memories of the things we love the most. This is even more so when we know interesting things about our favorite book or TV series like Inspector Morse. We decided to round up a few quirky facts about places in Oxford used as the backdrop for the TV series and some other cool stuff too!

Radcliffe Square

Do you remember seeing the Radcliffe Square in the two episodes; The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn and The Daughters of Cain?

Well, we do and we’ll tell you why…

The square was named after a former student of the Oxford University. You’re probably wondering how smart this student was like we initially wondered too. Yet, it goes further than just ingeniousness. The student, John Radcliffe, became the King’s doctor and later left a handsome sum to the university itself. Ah, now that makes a bit more sense!

The Randolph Hotel

It is impossible not to know where and how this Oxford hotel fits into the Inspector Morse series. First of all, it’s Inspector Morse’s favorite watering hole. Secondly, this is where Colin Dexter, the author, got his storyline ideas from and where he chose to spend his free time in the hotel bar solving crossword puzzles.

Besides the appearance of the hotel in The Wolvercote Tongue, the history of the hotel dates back to the 19th-century. It was named after the Oxford University benefactor, Dr. Francis Randolph.

Little Did We Know…

Many movies or TV series based on the stories of books undergo production without the input of the author these days. This is not the case for Inspector Morse though.

His creator, Colin Dexter, was a part of the production process as a consultant from start to finish. He also appeared in several cameos throughout the TV series and was often spotted in scenes as a pub drinker at the Randolph Hotel.

As we know, most of the characters in the stories were named after the clever crossword puzzle solvers in Britain. However, some of the characters acquired their identities from Oxford street names. Yes, we’re talking about the streets in north Oxford where Colin Dexter lived.

John Thaw was more than the just the lead character in the Inspector Morse TV series. He managed to convince Colin to change the car model Morse used in his books. It comes as no surprise that Inspector Morse was known to drive a Lancia in the early publication of the books but that changed after Thaw reasoned with Colin. Later publications of the books and throughout the TV series, Morse is seen driving a Jaguar.

It would be a shame if we didn’t end this off with a twist. The theme music for the TV series has opening notes of the word ‘Morse’ in actual Morse code which has been changed accordingly so that we can enjoy it of course!


Colin Dexter – The Author Who Put Oxford on the Map

Born in the late months of 1930 in Lincolnshire, over 100 miles away from the city he made famous – Oxford. Colin Dexter graduated from university in the 50s with a master’s degree in the classics and went on to become a teacher of the literature itself. It was during this time where he wrote school textbooks.

It was in the late 60s that saw Colin go deaf which resulted in him having to leave the teaching profession. Even though the publications of his murder mysteries in the 70s welcomed much success, he continued to work throughout all of this until he retired in 1988.

The Man Behind The Mysteries

One drizzly day, while on a holiday vacation during the 70s, out of pure listlessness Colin began writing his first murder mystery. It was the first of several novels which featured the one and only Inspector Endeavor Morse.

The mysteries he created were so often complex and puzzling yet enthralling all at the same time. The complete series of books, 13 to be precise, eventually became a riveting TV series because of the success of the books.

Colin’s success in his crime literature written works saw him being awarded several times over by the Crime Writers’ Association of Britain. In 2000, he was chosen as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Plotting and Planning

The Randolph Hotel of Oxford featured throughout the book and TV series of Inspector Morse. This is the place where many people would catch a glimpse of the author sitting at the end of the hotel bar, enjoying a beer, solving crossword puzzles.

The Inspector Morse television series produced and aired 33 episodes beginning in the late 80s until the year 2000. Interestingly, Colin made several cameo appearances throughout the series.

As many Morse fanatics know, Inspector Morse had an assistant known as Lewis. In 2006, a television series featuring Lewis as the main character again produced 33 episodes aired until 2016. However, it was in 2012 where a prequel series was aired depicting the younger years of the Inspector and his assistant.

He became such an adored regular at the bar that the hotel eventually changed its name to the Morse Bar. A name which had become so well-known within the city and the rest of the world.

But that’s not all there is to know about the Randolph Hotel. Colin would often frequent the hotel rooms and soak up every detail he could about the rooms and hallways to evolve his ideas for his Inspector Morse storyline.

A Final Ending

It is without a doubt that Colin Dexter was a talented writer of literature. He was an ingenious man which reflected well throughout his Inspector Morse book series.

The literary world and fans mourned when news came from Colin’s publisher, Macmillan, in which they announced his passing in March in 2017. May his legacy continue to live on in all of us.