AUTHOR Colin Dexter has confirmed ITV plans to make a prequel to long-running series Inspector Morse.

The legendary Oxford detective inspector will soon return to screens after an 11-year-absence.

The one-off drama will focus on Morse’s early years, studying classics at St John’s College, Oxford.

Mr Dexter, pictured, said: “I wrote a short story for the Daily Mail... all about him coming to Oxford to study.

“It ran in the paper over three consecutive days. Morse did wonderfully at language and literature, but did not very much like philosophy or ancient studies, so he dropped out and joined the police.

“ITV came to me and said it would be marvellous if we could do something with those stories.

“I was not terribly enthusiastic at first, but I thought it would be a nice story to tell.”

Inspector Morse ran for 33 episodes over 13 years. Nearly 14 million people tuned in to watch the final episode in 2000, when Morse died from a heart attack. Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the very first episode, starring John Thaw as the grumpy inspector, in 1987.

Mr Dexter, 80, said: “Morse was in his 40s when we first met him, but I suspect he’ll still have a lot of the same character traits.”

ITV has not yet started casting for the role.

Mr Dexter said: “I don’t really have any actors in mind who could play him. I have never really had much to do with the casting.