Endeavour is back for a sixth series - and this time Shaun Evans is making waves on both sides of the camera. He tells Gemma Dunn more about his next chapter in the hit Morse prequel.

With a newfound moustache, a countryside outpost and a shot at directing - it's all change for Shaun Evans in the latest series of Endeavour.

But the Walton-born actor, who will reprise the title role of a young DS Endeavour Morse for a sixth time, wouldn't have it any other way.

"Uniform, tache, I'm up for it!" quips Evans, 38, who has led the ITV crime drama - written by creator Russell Lewis - since 2012. "Anything that's new, where you don't feel like you're staying in stasis, [is good]."

Following the dissolution of Oxford City Police and the merging with Thames Valley Constabulary in season five, the latest instalment, set in 1969, picks up with the team as they find their feet in their various new roles.

"Endeavour is back in uniform and on his own out in the sticks," Evans elaborates. "He's been stationed in a one-horse town in the countryside and he's fairly isolated as he's the only policeman there. But he's quite happy.

"In terms of the rest of the team, everyone has been cast to the four winds," he adds. "Thursday (Roger Allam) is at the new Castle Gate station, Bright (Anton Lesser) in the traffic department and Strange (Sean Rigby) is in a new role as well.

"There's a lot of change and we see the reaction to this change," explains Evans, who reveals the force is still mourning the loss of DC George Fancy, who was murdered at the end of the last series.

"Their relationships with one another are completely fractured though and the first film is about seeing where everyone has landed in the interim, and the team finding their way back together."

It's a reshuffle that has allowed the show to introduce a "whole new raft of characters", Evans reasons. "Which shakes it up and allows it to go in a new direction, rather than doing the same thing."

And his new, well-groomed facial topiary?

"It wasn't my idea!" he protests, laughing. "A couple of years prior I'd done a play in Chichester and both of the lads had come to see it [Russell Lewis and executive producer Damian Michael Barcroft]," he says.

"I had a tache in the play, so Russell said to me, 'I was thinking because you'd fancied it there, maybe you want to shake it up and not be recognised [for Endeavour]," he recalls.

"I thought, 'Yeah cool, that's a good idea'. But I tried not to think too deeply about it; I just didn't shave my top lip.

"Although that said, there's some great movies as you move into the late Sixties, early Seventies," notes Evans, whose credits also include Silk and Whitechapel.

"I'm thinking of that Sidney Lumet movie, The Offence. Sean Connery plays a policeman with a big tache in it [and] it's a great movie - and it's kind of the period as well."

But decade-defining looks isn't all the latest prequel provides. Stemming from the era are four brand new cases - each divided into a feature-length film - set to test Endeavour, Thursday, and Oxford's Finest.

Named Pylon, Apollo, Confection, and Deguello, each story reflects changes in Britain and the wider world, Lewis teases.

"In the first one, a little girl has gone missing and she turns up dead," Evans begins. "The second one is specifically the moon landing, the third one is like Happy Valley, and then the fourth is this tower block falling down and the world of government corruption," Evans details.

But it's certainly not one small step for this particular man when it comes to Apollo - as the second episode marks the star's first series directorial.

"It's great acting and it's great directing, so if you can mix the two [together] where you know the team, have shorthand with everyone, and you know the timbre of the stories as well..." he muses.

"It was a joyous experience and to be forced to approach things in a specific way was good for me, personally."

This isn't Evans' first foray behind the camera, however. He's been praised for his turn directing a handful of Casualty episodes, too.

"I've always been interested in it," he confides. "I just think at the moment you can do anything; it's a good time for TV and for storytelling, in general," he elaborates. "And I just don't think you should ever limit yourself."

He follows: "I've been a producer on [Endeavour] for a couple of years now, and I've been directing other stuff, so I just want to do as much as I can."

As for his next move: "Last year was really busy, so I'm purposefully just having a little bit of time for myself at the moment," he reasons.

"I've got a couple of ideas, which I personally would like to get off the ground, so I want to give them a little bit of time and attention now."

Is there a future for Endeavour on the cards?

"In terms of evolution, I think one of the most monumental things we achieve this series is that we see Endeavour buy his own place in Oxford and it'll be the same place that the later character of Morse (played by John Thaw) lives in,' he offers.

"That, I think, is incredibly significant as it shows he's committed to staying."

Hinting about further series, he concludes: "I think it's important for us to get together and have a chat about it, just to see what the story is, see where the story goes."

"It's a blessing," he says of making the show. "I could be looking for work, so it's nice to have the opportunity. But you want to make sure that you're only going to do it if it's going to be amazing. That's my take on it, at least."

Endeavour returns to STV, tomorrow at 8pm.