Foyle’s War series 8, ITV, Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, PREVIEW

Samantha Stewart (played by Honeysuckle Weeks), Christopher Foyle (played by Michael Kitchen)
Honeysuckle Weeks and Michael Kitchen return in Foyle’s War. Pics: ITV

Rating: ★★★

ITV: Sunday, 4 January, 8pm

Story: Foyle is drawn into the world of the Nuremberg trials and corporate-Nazi collusion when a London University Professor, William Knowles, is found dead in a park after working as a translator in Germany.

WHY DO viewers watch Foyle? I don’t mean Foyle’s War, but Foyle the character.

Michael Kitchen’s protagonist is a widower who is modest, honest and loyal. He enjoys trout fishing

Arthur Valentine (played by Tim McMullan) in Foyle's War
In the shadows – Valentine (Tim McMullan)

and a bit of golf.

Exactly. He’s rather dull. Columbo had his bumbling persona, Sherlock his brilliant arrogance, while Sarah Lund was self-destructively dogged.

But Foyle’s writer and creator Anthony Horowitz seems to give his man so little to do. Foyle seems to virtually ghost through his adventures.

Frasier’s John Mahoney

Meanwhile, he’s surrounded by drama. As the latest series begins, his driver Samantha (Honeysuckle Weeks) has big news that causes marital friction with her MP husband, Adam (Daniel Weyman).

Elsewhere in this first of three two-hour films, entitled High Castle, London University Professor William Knowles is found dead in a park after working as a translator at the Nuremberg trials.

And then there is the scheming rich American father and son duo, the Del Mars (played by Frasier’s John Mahoney and British actor Nigel Lindsay), who are mixed up with a suspected Nazi war criminal and MI5.

Amid all this is unassuming, emotionally constipated Foyle, asking awkward questions and riling his MI5 superiors, particularly Sir Alec Myerson (Rupert Vansittart). He’s more like a tax inspector than a detective hero.

Continued…

Honeysuckle Weeks and Ellie Haddington

What does impress about the show is the ambition of Horowitz’s stories. This opener is, as

Hilda Pierce (played by Ellie Haddington in Foyle's War
Keeping an eye on Foyle – Hilda Pierce (Ellie Haddington)

usual, inspired by true and sinister events of the Second World War and after.

It’s a complex intrigue involving Nazi collaborators from the business world, the Nuremberg trials and Russian assassins. It also touches on the lesser known story of 30 executives from IG Farben who built their own concentration camp near Auschwitz called Monowitz, which housed its labourers.

Upcoming tales involve the founding of the Jewish state and Black Market Britain. Few TV dramas open up historical times with such serious intent while remaining so entertaining.

The films also look very handsome and the casting is spot on. Honeysuckle Weeks seems to have developed the clipped delivery of dialogue straight from a 1940s Brit flick, while Ellie Haddington as Hilda seems to have stepped out of an Ealing comedy, and Tim McMullan looks suitably sly as a spymaster.

Foyle’s cancellation and comeback

Despite all this, the series has had its storms. In the dark days of 2007 it was cancelled, but then

Centre of the web – Clayton Del Mar (Nigel Lindsay)

showed plenty of Dunkirk spirit in turning the tide against defeat, and with the backing of its TV viewing allies managed to get itself recommissioned.

The series hasn’t looked back and remains a quietly popular ITV fixture. This is its eighth series and Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle is, as fans will know, now part of MI5 having left behind his police duties in wartime Hastings.

It’s audience must be in the older age bracket, and perhaps they like Foyle just as upright as he is – a decent chap with a stiff upper lip.

But one day it might be nice to see him put on a zoot suit, slip some knock-off nylons to a floozie and crack a smile.

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ITV3 celebrates its 10th birthday

Happy birthday, ITV3. The channel is 10 years old and is celebrating with a weekend of 10 favourite dramas starting on Saturday 1 November.

They should really have called it ‘ITV Crime’ because it has become the home of ITV’s most popular police dramas. Consequently, the birthday weekend will feature Marple, Endeavour, Inspector Morse, Lewis, A Touch of Frost, Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders.

The channel’s very first show on 1 November 2004 was also a crimer, Inspector Rebus, based on Ian Rankin’s novels and starring John Hannah.

Its most popular show to air during the first decade was an episode of Foyle’s WarThe Hide went out in March 2013 and was watched by 1.8m viewers.

Since 2008 ITV3 has also been the home of the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards, celebrating the very best of British and international crime thriller fiction and drama.

This year’s event takes place this Friday – CrimeTimePreview will be there covering and Tweeting about it – and it will air on ITV3 on 27th October. Hosted by Bradley Walsh, the awards are the culmination of the six-week Crime Thriller Club series on ITV3, a studio-based show focused on crime fiction and television with high-profile guests, quizzes, bluffer’s guides and peeks behind the scenes of popular dramas.

So, congratulations ITV3. Watching you has been bloody murder.

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ITV’s best new crime shows autumn 2014

IT’S BEEN a sunny summer for once, but as usual there’s nowt on the box (apart from the Commonwealth Games), so this is a good moment to look in the crystal ball and see what treats ITV has in store for the autumn and beyond.

There are some well-known faces coming back – a few of which are to be welcomed, others a little past their sell-by date – with a couple of intriguing newcomers in production.

Broadchurch 2 One of the hottest shows of last year, it’s even been creating a stir in the US, where

Broadchurch 2 ITV cast rehearsal

David Tennant has reprised his role as detective Alec Hardy in an American version of the series. He will be back with Olivia Colman as Ellie Miller in the ITV follow-up. Charlotte Rampling joins the cast (pictured right). It’s been filming in Dorset and acclaimed screenwriter Chris Chibnall is back masterminding the production. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Chasing Shadows is one of the interesting new shows. Starring Reece Shearsmith and Alex Kingston, it’s about a missing persons unit. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Arthur & George is a three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’s novel, based on true events. Martin Clunes stars as Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who challenges a miscarriage of justice. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Scott and Bailey's Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp

Scott & Bailey 4 Returns for a fourth series. The drama’s original tendency to portray all men as thick, immature, unfaithful or criminal has faded, while the stories have got more powerful and the cast – Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones, Amelia Bullmore – have won a big following and the writing – Lee Warburton, Emily Ballou and Amelia Bullmore again! – has been gripping. Janet and Rachel’s relationship is tested to the limit this time round. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

Grantchester Following in the footsteps of the Beeb’s gentle daytime mystery Father Brown is Sidney Chambers, a charismatic clergyman played by James Norton (the vile villain in Happy Valley). This is also a period piece – set in 1953 – and has a nice cast, including Robson Green, Morven Christie and Tessa Peak-Jones. A six-parter, it was filming in London, Cambridge and Grantchester earlier this year. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Arthur & George Three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’s novel, based on true events. Martin Clunes stars as Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who challenges a miscarriage of justice. Filming autumn 2014. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Safe House An atmospheric thriller set in the Lake District. Cast yet to be announced. It’s a four-parter inspired by a true story of a couple who turn their guest house into a safe house. Filming autumn 2014. Anticipation factor: ★★★★

Code of a Killer Two-parter based on the extraordinary true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its first use by detective David Baker in snaring a double murderer. With the terrific David Threlfall in the cast, filming starts in September. Anticipation factor: ★★★★½

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Terrific book by Kate Summerscale, fab first series. But then came the fictionalised re-imaging of the Victorian detective’s career after the infamous country house child murder of the original. I so wanted to like this, and there is probably a great story about Whicher’s later life, but this reboot reduces his tale to a straight cop procedural. Still, fingers crossed, it’s got Paddy Considine returning as the man himself. Anticipation factor: ★★★

Lewis It feels like a tired old regular screen fixture, but there will be attempts to shake-up the formula with a slight reversal of roles for Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox’s detectives, the now retired Lewis and newly promoted Hathaway. Anticipation factor: ★★★
Brenda Blethyn as Vera, ITV
Foyle’s War Three 120-minute stories are in the pipeline, as Michael Kitchen returns as Christopher Foyle, now a senior intelligence office for MI5 in the aftermath of the Second World War. The guest stars include John Mahoney (Frasier), Richard Lintern (Silent Witness), Nigel Lindsay (Four Lions), Jaime Winstone (Mad Dogs) and William Postlethwaite (Midsomer Murders). Anthony Horowitz is back on story duty. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Vera 5 Filming is under way, with Kenny Doughty joining as DS Aiden Healy after David Leon’s departure as Joe Ashworth (shame, as his storylines were often quite good). Brenda Blethyn (right) still heads proceedings as DCI Vera Stanhope. 2015. Anticipation factor: ★★★½

Let us know which shows you can’t wait to see… comment below or email us

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Foyle’s War series 8, ITV, starring Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks PREVIEW

Foyle's War series 8, Samantha and Foyle
Caught out – Sam and Foyle break into a flat containing stolen uranium. Pics: ITV

Rating: ★★★½ 

ITV: Sunday, 24 March, 8pm 

Story: The war is over, but retired former Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle is recruited, somewhat reluctantly, to help MI5 investigate a spy ring in London.

Honeysuckle Weeks as Samantha in Foyle's War
Is Sam a spy?

Christopher Foyle has had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra. The Comeback Copper has retired three times now, and ITV even tried to force him to retire by cancelling his wartime crime series in 2007, but here he is again being pressed back into service for his country.

Foyle’s War has now gone cold. The Second World War is over and the new battle is against Soviet subversion and the threat of nuclear war. There’s a prologue in this first of three mysteries – called The Eternity Ring – which begins in New Mexico in 1945 before switching to London a year later. At the Soviet Embassy someone is stealing documents.

Finally, we encounter Foyle – who retired, of course, at the end of series 7 – having just arrived at dockside in Liverpool after sailing from the USA. He is unexpectedly whisked off to meet some frightfully serious chaps from MI5.

Foyle investigates a Russian defector
They want him to investigate the Russian who defected with the documents and the possible passing of secrets to the Commies. Why Foyle? Because his former driver, Samantha, has been photographed with a suspected Russian agent.

And so the popular author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz pitches the pair into another twisting, murky escapade. Sam is now married to a prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate, Adam, while also working as an assistant to a leading physicist. Hence her proximity to some valuable nuclear secrets.

Michael Kitchen as Foyle in Foyle's War
No time to retire for Foyle

In a two-hour drama Horowitz is able to develop some subplots along with the main mystery. So we find Honeysuckle worrying she might not be able to have children, and meet Frank, an old colleague of Foyle’s and former constable, who returns from the war to find himself getting a shabby reception at home and from an embittered recruiting police officer.

Foyle and Sam and the missing uranium
The one character we never find out too much about is Foyle himself. He is as non-confrontational and modest as ever, as he untangles the mystery of some missing uranium – which partly contaminates him and Sam – and finally realises who is really double-crossing whom.

It’s a handsome production, which has a sepia quality that really evokes ration-blighted post-war London at times. Horowitz cleverly reboots the series by taking his much loved hero out of his comfort zone in Hastings and the police and pitching into a world where the stakes have national importance.

While it’s hard to be surprised by tales of intelligence agency duplicity having seen a hundred adaptations of Le Carré and Deighton and Ludlum, this new series will still please fans of the phlegmatic, unassuming detective. And period crime series are a ratings safe bet these days (with Marple, Poirot, Father Brown, Miss Fisher, Mrs Biggs, Spies of Warsaw, Vegas, The Lady Vanishes coming soon, Ripper Street, Mr Whicher – OK, that’s enough).

Like an old soldier, Foyle will not die any time soon – particularly, if ITV’s efficient and stylish productions keep nabbing his customary ratings of around 7million.

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Foyle’s War returns 2013

‘It’s great to be wanted and a pleasure to be back,’ says actor Michael Kitchen, as ITV announces the return of Foyle’s War in 2013. The setting for the much-loved period detective drama will shift from the war years to 1946-47, with Foyle in a new role of Senior Intelligence Officer on the trail of various traitors. The three stories – two written by author Anthony Horowitz, one by David Kane – will include Foyle tracking down atomic spies and a true tale of government corruption. ‘I have returned to Foyle’s War because there are still some amazing stories I want to tell,’ says screenwriter and novelist Anthony.  ‘The war may be over but Foyle’s career goes on.’ Honeysuckle Weeks should return as Samantha Stewart, who is now married. The return of Foyle’s War has been in development since Acorn Media, a leading distributor of British television in the US, purchased rights to the series in 2010, when some fans feared the show was finished for good after series seven. ITV previously cancelled it in 2007, only for fan complaints to prompt its revival. Production starts in London in September.

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• Crime Zapper – DCI Banks, Garrow’s Law, Silent Witness •

• OK, I admit it. I wasn’t a fan of DCI Banks: Aftermath on ITV1. It didn’t do Peter Robinson’s book justice, and its lead player, Mr Everyman Stephen Tompkinson, was too manic and just plain wrong in the part. Banks is pretty hot with the ladies in the novel, whereas on screen Tompkinson was forever ranting and looking psychotic. He seems to be in the Robson Green-Martin Clunes knee-jerk favourite zone at ITV – every part that comes along, no matter how unsuitable, being put his way. The newspaper reviews were also lukewarm, many saying it was a bit too routine a procedural. The great British viewership, however, switched on to it. Banks got higher ratings (5.6m) on its opening night than Spooks, which is impressive bearing in mind the latter’s huge fanbase and eight-year headstart. And now Left Bank Pictures has announced that there will be three new further Banks adaptations in 2011 – Playing with Fire, Friend of the Devil and Cold as the Grave (six hour-long episodes, two per story). 

• The ludicrously brief series of Garrow’s Law – just four episodes – was short but compelling, and ended with a terrific finale on Sunday. Andrew Buchan wrung tears and snot in a highly charged story as Garrow faced ruin and disgrace along with the woman he loves, Lady Sarah (Lyndsey Marshal). Apart from the central drama and Garrow’s brilliant performances in the old Old Bailey, the series has reflected on the grotesque legal system of the late 18th century – with a 12-year-old boy being hung for theft in this episode. Alun Armstrong as Garrow’s solicitor and mentor, Southouse, gave a grandstanding speech at Garrow’s trial for Criminal Conversation (adultery to us), and Sir Arthur (made very loathsome by Rupert Graves) got his humiliating comeuppance. Anyone intrigued by these stories, based on the records of the Old Bailey, may be interested in knowing more about the real cases behind the series’ dramas from its legal consultant on historical matter, Mark Pallis, who has a blog. And the Beeb has a round-up of all the buzz created by Garrow’s Law here.

Emilia Fox in Silent Witness (BBC)

• In addition to Zen with Rufus Sewell coming along on BBC1 in the first week of January, a new series of Hustle and the 14th of Silent Witness are also lined up (though no dates and times have been announced yet). Silent Witness opens with a two part story called A Guilty Mind, in which three patients die unexpectedly in the same ward of a London hospital. Emilia Fox, who plays Dr Nikki Alexander, says, ‘The case affects Nikki deeply and personally and looks at the less tangible part of pathology, which is the mind. We are used to the team finding things out through the organs and the body, but of course when it comes to the mind it’s a lot harder to deal with.’ Previews will follow on crimetimepreview.

• The Beeb has also announced another new thriller series for 2011, Stolen starring Damian Lewis (Band of Brothers, The Forsyte Saga, Life). He plays Detective Inspector Anthony Carter, who’s trying to rescue some children from child slavery. It’s to be directed by Justin Chadwick, whose credits include The Other Boleyn Girl and Bleak House.

Foyle’s War is thrashing all-comers in crimetimepreview‘s poll of 2010’s top crime series. Only Sherlock is putting up a fight, with the likes of Spooks and Poirot taking a pasting. Just 13 days of voting to go…

• crime zapper •

• Funniest man at the Galaxy Book Awards was easily Paul O’Grady, there to present an award. He pricked the ceremonial side of things bantering with host David Baddiel, saying he was disappointed with the student protests and was going to reissue Lily Savage’s pamphlet on How to Conduct Yourself in a Riot, and demanding to know where the free Galaxy chocolate was for the guests, which had the sponsor momentarily flustered. The free bars came at the end, and that was all the consolation there was for the crime writers in attendance such as Lee Child, Kate Atkinson and Peter James, who all went away empty handed. Hilary Mantel added Author of the Year for Wolf Hall to her Booker prize, which I’m ploughing through at the moment. It’s a bit slow, to be honest – the trouble with literature is that unlike genre fiction it has no plot. Anyway, here’s the full gong list: TESCO BIOGRAPHY OF THE YEAR The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry (Penguin Group); TESCO FOOD & DRINK BOOK OF THE YEAR Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi (Random House); NATIONAL BOOK TOKENS NEW WRITER OF THE YEAR The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal (Random House); MORE4 NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR  The Making Of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr (Pan Macmillan); SAINSBURY’S POPULAR FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR One Day by David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton); WATERSTONE’S UK AUTHOR OF THE YEAR Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Harper Collins); GALAXY INTERNATIONAL AUTHOR OF THE YEAR Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (Harper Collins); WH SMITH CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE YEAR Zog by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (Scholastic); OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Terry Pratchett; OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Martin Amis.

• So farewell, Lucas North – you dirty stinking traitor. Spooks fans loved you, but you betrayed them by doing a murderous deal with the Chinese. Last night Lucas, or should we call you John, finally bowed out after a rather outrageous character flip-flop from his being number two in Section D into a bit of a psycho who somehow had evaded MI5’s vetting process. Exciting, yes, but convoluted and slightly daft. Judging by the response from the vast online Spooks communities, season nine was thrilling, implausible but better than season eight. Some felt Lucas (a heart-throb to many) had been character-assassinated. One thing’s for sure, Spooks generated a huge amount of traffic for crimetimepreview, and I was amazed how many people follow its every twist and nuance. The Spooks Forum alone has clocked up a total of 36,000 posts on the show down the years. That’s a lot of pressure for whoever writes season 10…

Sherlock has been nominated for five gongs at the Royal Television Society Craft and Design Awards, including one for David Arnold and Michael Price for their superb original score. The awards, which celebrate creative design in television production, take place in London on November 24. Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, has been recommissioned by the Beeb for a new series.

• Good news for Foyle’s War fans. No, not a new series, but a whole week of classic episodes on ITV3. From Monday, November 22, to Friday, 26 November, the channel will present at 9pm one top episode from the series, which was created by Anthony Horowitz and became an international hit, particularly Stateside. Most recently it picked up the People’s Dagger at the CWA Crime Thriller Awards, the gong being voted for by viewers. Episodes during Foyle’s War Week are A Lesson in Murder, Eagle Day, Fifty Ships, Among the Few and War Games.

• Are you a Spooks fan? Or did you prefer the stylish modern makeover for Sherlock? Perhaps you were captivated by Michael Kitchen’s Foyle? So vote for your fave now on the crimetimepreview poll of 2010’s best UK crime series at the top of the column on the right.

Third Degree: Pauline Rowson

Crime novelist Pauline Rowson, author of the Marine series of mysteries, is pulled into crimetimepreview headquarters for questioning. 
Your favourite British crime series or thriller on TV?
I have quite a few favourites so selecting one is rather difficult, but here is my shortlist:  Morse because the production, music and acting are superb; Frost, because I like the shambolic air that pervades Frost’s investigations along with the humour; Poirot because I enjoy the classic murder mystery and historical aspect, the latter of which also applies to Foyle’s War, which I enjoy because of the gorgeous Michael Kitchen. Then there is New Tricks because of the great actors and that tongue-in-cheek humour, and how can I possibly leave out DCI Gene Hunt. He’s a maverick, a cowboy who rides out into the big bad world seeking justice.
Top TV cop?
And the award goes to … whoever said I was indecisive?
Which unfilmed book/character should be made into a TV drama?
My Inspector Andy Horton of course, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?  I’ve been re-reading the classic novels of Josephine Tey and think her Inspector Grant novels would make a good TV drama or a series.  They’re set in the mid 1940s to 1950s. Also many of Robert Goddard’s novels would make excellent TV dramas.
If one of your novels were filmed, who would you cast to be the hero?
That’s such a tough question because how I see Andy Horton, my detective in my marine mystery police procedural novels, is not how others see him. So, I offer up suggestions made by some of my readers: Jason Statham, Daniel Craig, Dominic West, Toby Stephens, Damien Lewis, Robert Glenister. Getting the right actor plays a critical part in the success or otherwise of a television detective series adapted from the novels.
What do you watch with a guilty conscience (or what’s your guilty pleasure)?
I don’t have a guilty conscience when I watch them but I do enjoy old black and white thriller and detective movies, both British and American.
Least favourite cop show/thriller?
Anything that is too gruesome, graphic and contains rape, brutality, kids and torture. I like my crime to entertain, thrill and captivate me, not to give me nightmares.
Your favourite crime/thriller writers?
Reginald Hill, Robert Barnard, R D Wingfield, Robert Goddard and many from the classic Golden Age of Crime.
Favourite non-crime/thriller author
J B Priestley
Favourite crime movie or thriller?
The Long Arm starring Jack Hawkins – superb example of the forerunner of all the classic crime programmes ranging from Softly, Softly, Z Cars to The Bill, Frost, Morse and so on.  Plus The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford, and literally anything directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
You’ve been framed for murder. Which fictional detective would you want to call up?
Depends on who I am alleged to have murdered and how, but I reckon either Sherlock Holmes or DCI Gene Hunt would get me out of a jam.
Blood on the Sand, by Pauline Rowson (9780727868824).
In the fifth Marine Mystery, Detective Inspector Andy Horton’s Isle of Wight vacation is cut short when he encounters what appears to be the scene of a murder – and a woman who seems to be the killer, still holding the murder weapon. But there’s far more to it than that, and soon Andy is deep into an investigation that reaches far into the past.

 

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