A DECADE after solving his last crime, Inspector Morse is returning to Oxford in a new stage production of the detective show.

The play, called House of Ghosts and set in the city, will feature former Doctor Who actor Colin Baker as the Jaguar-driving Detective Chief Inspector.

The touring production is the third format for Colin Dexter’s creation, which began as a novel in 1975 and went on to attract huge television audiences across 33 episodes.

The curtain will go up for the first time in August and the tour will reach Oxford’s New Theatre the following month.

Producer Ed O’Driscoll said: “We are keenly aware of our responsibility to the millions of fans of both the books and TV series and have tried to stay true to the spirit of Colin Dexter’s marvellous characters.

“At the same time we are obviously very excited by the unique opportunity to bring Morse to the stage with a new mystery to solve, that we’re sure will thrill audiences across the UK.”

He added: “We are delighted that Colin Dexter has come on board and has allowed us to work with his iconic characters.

“It is a wonderful script that fits into the canon of all the other works.

“It is set in a theatre in Oxford, where Morse has gone to see a performance of Hamlet directed by a guy who he was at university with, who, in Morse’s words, is the only evil man he had ever met. A young actress dies on stage and Morse is called upon to solve the crime. It’s a play within a play.”

He continued: “There are so many beautiful backdrops in the television series, but when you move a piece inside it’s difficult to recreate them.

“However, there are some wonderful theatres that are beautiful in their own way, and as we tour the country we will be using their internal architectural magnificence – particularly in Oxford with the New Theatre.”

Scriptwriter Alma Cullen said: “With four Morse screenplays to my name and, more recently, four stage plays, how could I resist the challenge of bringing Morse to the stage in a brand-new drama?”

Mr Baker said: “More Morse – this in itself is exciting enough, but for me to have the opportunity to follow in John Thaw’s footsteps and bring this sullen, intuitive intellectual to life on stage, is both daunting and very exciting.

“While revisiting the character in Dexter’s novels I’m both appalled and greatly encouraged to discover just how many characteristics I share with the great inspector. It’s a great and fiendishly clever script – I simply can’t wait.”

Colin Dexter said the play was “a delightful reminiscence of Inspector Morse in his heyday” and he would see it when it reaches Oxford.

Casting for the role of Sergeant Lewis takes place in London today ahead of an opening night in Stevenage on August 27.

tairs@oxfordmail.co.uk House of Ghosts comes to Oxford between September 13 and 15 with tickets costing between £14 and £22.

For bookings visit newtheatreoxford.org.uk or call 0844 3727272.