|Created by||Anthony Horowitz|
|Opening theme||Jim Parker|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||28|
|Executive producer(s)||Jill Green|
Simon Passmore (2002–03)
Keith Thompson (2004–06)
|Running time||86–99 min|
|Original channel||ITV, STV, UTV|
|Original run||27 October 2002– present|
Foyle's War is a British detective drama television series set during and shortly after World War II, created by screenwriter and author Anthony Horowitz, and commissioned by ITV after the long-running series Inspector Morse came to an end in 2000. It has been broadcast on ITV since 2002. It was cancelled in 2007 by Simon Shaps, then director of programmes at ITV, but numerous complaints and positive public demand prompted the next ITV director, Peter Fincham, to revive Foyle's War after successful ratings in series five, which aired in 2008.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Episodes
- 3 Main characters
- 4 Historical accuracy
- 5 Awards
- 6 DVD releases
- 7 Worldwide screenings
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 External links
The first six series are set during the Second World War in Hastings, Sussex, England, where Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) attempts to catch criminals who are taking advantage of the confusion the war has created. He is assisted by his driver Samantha "Sam" Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) and Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell). From Series 7 onwards, it sees a retired Foyle working for MI5, navigating the world of Cold-war espionage.
Foyle, a widower, is quiet, methodical, very sagacious, and scrupulously honest, yet he is frequently underestimated by his foes. Many of his cases concern profiteering, the black market and murder. Foyle often comes up against high-ranking officials in the British military or intelligence services who would prefer that he mind his own business, but he is tenacious in seeking justice.
In a newspaper article and in his interview that accompanies the first series DVD set, Anthony Horowitz was asked why he named the main character Christopher Foyle. He explained that he was seeking a name that evoked the early 1940s and thought of Foyles bookshop in London's Charing Cross Road, once known for its archaic practices and its owner Christina Foyle. Christopher was the nearest male name to Christina, but from 1999 following the death of Christina Foyle, control passed to her nephew Christopher Foyle, who was given a small walk-on cameo part in the episode "Bad Blood".
The stories are largely self-contained. There are some running strands, mainly involving the career of Foyle's son Andrew (played by Julian Ovenden), a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force, or Foyle's continuing relationships with cameo characters.
Each episode runs for about 90 to 100 minutes, filling a two-hour time slot on ITV when commercials are included. To fit its PBS 90-minute time slot in the United States (originally part of the Mystery! series – now called Masterpiece Mystery), the episodes, particularly in Series 1–3, were shortened by several minutes each.
Acorn Media contracted Cre-a-tv, Inc. to repackage the entire Foyle's War programme into two-part episodes to run within PBS' allotted airtime. The episodes were fed via satellite to the public television system by former PBS affiliate KCET in Los Angeles, now an independent station, and public TV stations around the country started re-broadcasting the series in the fall of 2011. In this incarnation, each episode was aired in two parts, each in a one-hour time slot (usually separated by a week) – with each part running about 50 minutes. To fill in the time slot, the station aired excerpts of interviews of the series creator and some cast members (but, notably, not Michael Kitchen), which were recorded starting in 2002.
Cancellation and revival
After five series the show was abruptly cancelled by Simon Shaps, who was ITV's director of programmes at the time. This forced Horowitz to throw out scripts set during most of 1943 and 1944, resulting in time jumps of nine months to a year between episodes (whereas previous series had gaps of a month at most). In April 2008, the presumed final episode, "All Clear", during which the end of the war is announced, was aired. However, on 9 April 2008, ITV announced that it was in talks with Horowitz and Greenlit Productions to revive the series, continuing Foyle's adventures beyond VE Day, and some media observers saw high viewing figures for the penultimate episode (28% audience share) on 13 April that year as strengthening the case for a continuation. At the time the audience figures for the final episode were released (28% and an average of 7.3 million), ITV confirmed that it had entered and was continuing "early discussions" with Horowitz and Greenlit. These negotiations eventually led to the series being recommissioned for a further three episodes.
Series seven was filmed in both Ireland and London from late August 2012 to December 2012, and was broadcast on UK television in March and April 2013.
It was announced on 20 November 2013 that a new series containing three episodes will be produced, and on 11 December 2014 it was announced that it will start broadcasting in the UK on 4 January 2015.
At the DVD release the US season numbers were used worldwide for the series.
|Series||When Set||Episode Names||Writer(s)|
|May–August 1940||Anthony Horowitz
|September–October 1940||Anthony Horowitz
Anthony Horowitz & Matthew Hall
Anthony Horowitz & Michael Russell
|February–June 1941||Anthony Horowitz
|Series Four Part 1
|March–August 1942||1 (13) "Invasion"
2 (14) "Bad Blood"
|Series Four Part 2
|December 1942 – March 1943||1 (15) "Bleak Midwinter"
2 (16) "Casualties of War"
|April 1944 – May 1945||Anthony Horowitz
|June–August 1945||Anthony Horowitz
|July–September 1946||Anthony Horowitz
1 (26) "High Castle"
Episode numbers in parentheses are a running count used in the next table
|Name||Rank or role||Episodes||Portrayed by|
|Christopher Foyle||Detective Chief Superintendent, MI5 in series 8||all||Michael Kitchen|
|Paul Milner||Detective Sergeant (series 1-5), Detective Inspector (series 6)||all except 21, 23, 24, 25||Anthony Howell|
|Samantha Stewart||Police driver, MTC, MI5 in series 8||all||Honeysuckle Weeks|
|Andrew Foyle||DCS Foyle's son, RAF Plt Off/Fg Off/Flt Lt/Sqn Ldr||1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 19||Julian Ovenden|
|Hugh Reid||Uniformed Superintendent||2, 3, 4||Michael Simkins|
|Jane Milner||DS Milner's first wife||2, 3, 5, 15||Mali Harries|
|Fisher||Police Constable||2, 4||Fergus Webster|
|Eric Rivers||Police Sergeant||5, 7, 9, 10, 12||Geoffrey Freshwater|
|Turner||Wing Commander (Andrew's superior)||6, 10||Martin Turner|
|Hilda Pierce||Special Operations Executive, MI5||7, 9, 19, 23, 24, 25||Ellie Haddington|
|Alistair Rose||Assistant Commissioner||8, 12||Corin Redgrave|
|Perkins||ARP Warden||12, 15, 16||Tony Turner|
|Ian Brooke||Police Sergeant||13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19||Jay Simpson|
|Joe Farnetti||Private First Class, US Army; Sam's boyfriend||13, 14||Jonah Lotan|
|Edith Ashford / Edith Milner||Milner's girlfriend, later his second wife||14, 15, 19, 20||Caroline Martin (series 4) / Polly Maberly (series 5-6)|
|Aubrey Stewart||Samantha's uncle, a vicar||9, 17||Brian Poyser|
|John Kiefer||Captain, later Major, U. S. Army: Farnetti's CO and Foyle's friend||13, 19||Jay Benedict|
|Arthur Valentine||MI5 senior member||23, 24, 25||Tim McMullan|
|Adam Wainwright||Samantha's friend, later fiancé and husband, Member of Parliament in series 8||20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25||Max Brown (series 6) / Daniel Weyman (series 7)|
Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS) Foyle (Michael Kitchen) consistently introduces himself with the phrase (or some variation thereof), "My name's Foyle; I'm a police officer." This is typical of the modesty, courtesy and precision of speech that he displays throughout the series. Foyle is a longstanding widower; he has one son, Andrew, to whom he is close, although their relationship is not demonstrative. Foyle's concern for his son's safety as a fighter pilot in the RAF is an ongoing theme. He lost his wife Rosalind in 1932; according to the tombstone, she was 30 years old.
Foyle is himself the son of a policeman, and he is a World War I veteran who fought at Passchendaele and says that he avoids thinking of the battle. He once told his son that the three years he spent enlisted in the war were the worst in his life, and he reluctantly admitted that he had to kill. Foyle requests a transfer to the War Department several times in the first two series of the show but, by the end of the third series, appears to have accepted that this will not happen, and his detective work is just as important, in its own way, to the war effort. He argues that innocent victims of murder should not be forgotten just because there's a terribly costly war on.
He has high moral standards, and is scrupulously honest and highly sagacious. His speech is rather straightforward in manner, combined with a dry wit. He is portrayed as very open-minded for a man of his time: he expresses compassion upon learning that one of Andrew's friends is homosexual ("Among the Few") and distaste for prosecuting an attempted suicide ("Casualties of War"). (Homosexual activity and suicide were criminal offences at the time.) He is also reluctant to harass a left-wing activist purely for his political views ("War of Nerves"). He (alone) opposes the imposition of a temporary colour bar in Hastings when tensions erupt amongst black and white US troops ("Killing Time"). Also consistent with the value he places on human life, he says that the accidental manslaughter of a pregnant woman took two lives ("Among the Few").
He is unfailingly loyal to his colleagues and expects the same from them. This is seen particularly in "The White Feather" when he reproaches Sgt. Milner for disloyalty, and in "The Russian House", when he criticises Milner's disrespectful attitude towards him and Sam, despite the fact that they no longer work together. In turn, he demonstrates trust in his colleagues. He's quick to forgive Milner and believes in Milner's innocence when he is suspected of his estranged wife's murder (in "Bleak Midwinter"). He also displays a fatherly concern for Sam (when not exasperated with her).
Foyle relaxes by trout-fishing, at which he is very skilled and which supplements his wartime rations. He also plays golf, though with less proficiency. He is often accompanied by his son or his uniformed counterpart, Hugh Reid. Cameo and guest characters are occasionally shown with him on these outings, enabling the exchange of information important to the plot.
Foyle notably retires and/or resigns more than once. He resigns at the end of the fifth series when his arresting two murder suspects is thwarted due to bureaucratic interference, on the claim that their work is considered too important to the war effort. However, he returns in the sixth series when his successor is murdered, and remains a DCS for the duration of the war. Following the war he retires from the force, but chooses to return when he becomes personally involved in a complex case (investigated by Milner). At the end of the seventh series he apparently retires yet again, boarding a boat for America, possibly in pursuit of a case left unfinished for wartime political reasons. He returns to England (episode 23) and is pressured into joining MI5, where his wartime driver Sam, now married to a Labour politician, joins him as a junior clerk.
Sergeant Milner (Anthony Howell) was a policeman before the war; he left to enlist in the army. He was involved in the British Norwegian Campaign and lost a leg in Trondheim. In episode one, he is seen recovering in hospital, highly despondent. Foyle encourages him to rejoin the police, and Milner remains with the Hastings department for the duration of the war. He also appears to be the only ranked detective in the station besides Foyle. At the start of series six, Milner is strongly considering a transfer due to his dissatisfaction with his new superior but decides against it once Foyle comes out of retirement to investigate the new DCS's murder.
Milner's relationship with his wife Jane becomes increasingly strained throughout the series; she never fully comes to terms with his injury. After a long separation, during which Milner has begun a relationship with Edith Ashford, Jane returns from her family in Wales ("Bleak Midwinter") to try and begin again with Milner, but she is murdered before this can come to pass. In a conversation just before Jane's death, Milner lies to Edith about his non-existent divorce from Jane. In the intended final episode "All Clear", Edith gives birth to a baby girl, to be called Clementine after the prime minister's wife.
At the beginning of series seven, Milner has been promoted to Detective Inspector, with jurisdiction in the Brighton area. While investigating his first case, which happens to involve both Foyle and Sam, Milner is portrayed as being somewhat insecure in his new position of authority, and his attempts to hide this insecurity cause him to act in an abrupt, dismissive manner towards his old colleagues. This earns him an unusually sharp reproach from Foyle by the end of the case.
Sam (Honeysuckle Weeks) joins the Mechanised Transport Corps at the outbreak of the war. She is seconded to the police force as a driver in the first episode, to relieve staff shortages within the police force, and becomes Foyle's driver. She is very enthusiastic about police work, offering unsolicited advice and help to Foyle and Milner – despite Foyle's initial instructions that she is not to discuss police work. As the series progresses, they come to rely on her assistance more and more, primarily when she happens to overhear bits of important conversation. In "Plan of Attack" we learn that she left police service soon after Foyle's resignation, but in that episode she returns to be his driver on his rejoining the force.
Sam has a healthy appetite; her struggles with rationing are a constant theme, played for humour. She invites herself to eat with Foyle on a number of occasions and covets a turkey (kept for evidence) in "Bleak Midwinter".
Sam's father and several uncles are all Church of England vicars. Her father, the Rev. Iain Stewart (Stephen Moore), visits her in Hastings at one point ("Eagle Day"). He wants her to return home but comes to see that her work for the police is important (after discussions with Foyle and using his university training in art to help Milner solve a crime). Sam stays with her uncle, the Rev. Aubrey Stewart (Brian Poyser), at his vicarage in Levenham during the episode "The French Drop", and Foyle houses him during an ecumenical conference near Hastings in "Plan of Attack". In the same episode, she states that all her uncles are vicars.
Sam becomes friendly with Andrew Foyle and, after a while, becomes involved romantically with him. The two attempt to keep their attachment from Andrew's father, fearing his disapproval. Sam provides support to Andrew when he suffers from shell shock in "Enemy Fire". Their relationship ends when Andrew sends her a "Dear Jane letter" in "Invasion". She becomes fond of American Private Joe Farnetti (Jonah Lotan) but turns him down when he asks her to marry him, though the relationship appears to have continued until sometime after D Day, since she complains in "Broken Souls" that he "ran off with some French girl". Andrew returns in "All Clear" and asks Sam to forgive him and as they go out to celebrate VE day it seems that their romance will be re-established, though it is not. Series 7 begins in June 1945 and Sam has found a job as housekeeper to a wealthy artist. Sam seems to have lost her sense of purpose along with her uniform and position as Foyle's driver. Later in the seventh series, Sam has a new love interest, Adam Wainwright, played by Max Brown, a former Bletchley Park codebreaker who proposes to her in that series' final episode.
In 2004 Honeysuckle Weeks was nominated for the National Television Award – Most Popular Newcomer.
Andrew Foyle (Julian Ovenden) is Christopher Foyle's only child. At the outbreak of the war he was a student but joined the RAF in "The German Woman". Undergoing training as a fighter pilot in Scotland, he is later posted to the south coast, where he is involved in radar trials ("Eagle Day"). He sees action in the Battle of Britain. Eventually, in "Enemy Fire", suffering from combat fatigue stemming from almost-constant flying, coupled with grief at the loss of many friends, he briefly goes AWOL. His superior, Wg Cdr Turner (Martin Turner), is understanding and transfers him to a training unit.
Andrew is seen with a girlfriend in "Among the Few" but the relationship doesn't last. For a time, he becomes involved with Sam Stewart until he is posted to Debden as a training officer in "Enemy Fire" (his penultimate on-screen appearance). Soon after this posting he ends his relationship with Sam by letter (read in voice-over only in "Invasion") after entering into a short-lived relationship with another girl there. He is subsequently promoted to Squadron Leader and posted to Malta on active service, but after a serious bout of sinusitis ruins his eyesight he is demobbed and sent home. However, he remains an unseen character, referred to solely in dialogue and props, until his return to Hastings during the intended last episode ("All Clear"). Apologising to Sam for his poor treatment of her, he tries to resume their relationship – though initially only able to accept that they meet as "friends", she appears to be thawing towards him by the end of the episode, but in the following series he is replaced as her love interest by Adam Wainwright. In the seventh series, Andrew is mentioned as living in London, but he is not referred to when his father visits London or when he leaves for America.
The series is notable for its claim to attention to historical detail, and the drama is frequently moved along by historical events of World War II. Creator Anthony Horowitz considered that to honour the veterans of the war it was important to get the details correct. As the series progressed, Horowitz became more interested in the "murder mystery" format than the portrayal of history and exploration of the Home Front. However, the Imperial War Museum is credited in an advisory capacity in some episodes.
There are a few anachronisms and inaccuracies in the series, both in the script and in certain of the properties. The extended harbour arm in Hastings, built in 1976, has been shown several times throughout the series, and London's Metropolitan Police did not introduce Foyle's rank of Detective Chief Superintendent until 1949.
In the episode "Bad Blood", which takes place in 1942, the drug streptomycin was used to cure Sam's anthrax infection, but streptomycin was not isolated until October 1943. Wartime field trials of anthrax were conducted only on Gruinard Island off Scotland's north west coast near Ullapool and not on the south coast as depicted. The episode "Casualties of War" portrayed a naval captain wearing only a moustache with no beard. Though not unheard of, this would have violated admiralty regulations, which allow a moustache only with a beard.
In Season 7, Episode 1 ("The Eternity Ring"), at 15 minutes 30 seconds, the scene is set by a Number 19 Bus bound for East Peckham. The bus is a Routemaster No. 406. This style of bus was not introduced into London until 1958. The bus is now in Dublin, Ireland, which is where the East Peckham scene was shot. As the bus turns left it passes The Iveagh Markets.
In the UK, the first three series of Foyle's War were originally released as two separate 2-disc DVDs per series, containing two episodes each and released on the same day, and with episode titles instead of series numbers to keep them apart. This solution was originally also used for the DVD release of TV series 4. However, in March 2007, distributor Acorn Media (who handles the distribution both in the UK and the US), began re-releasing series 1–3 as four disc DVDs for the UK, as they had from the start in the US, and labelling them with series numbers.
|DVD series/sets||TV series||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release|
|UK (Region 2)||US (Region 1)||Discs|
|1||1||4||Oct–Nov 2002||2+2 disc release: 10 February 2003 
Re-released 7 March 2007
|11 March 2003||4|
|2||2||4||Nov–Dec 2003||2+2 disc release: 9 February 2004 
Re-released: 12 March 2007 
|20 July 2004||4|
|3||3||4||Oct–Nov 2004||2+2 disc release: 7 March 2005 
Re-released: 11 June 2007 
|1 November 2005||4|
|4||4||4||Jan 2006 - Apr 2007||2-disc release: 9 Oct 2006 , 16 April 2007
Re-released: 11 June 2007 
|17 July 2007||4|
|5||5||3||Jan - Apr 2008||28 April 2008||5 August 2008||3|
|6||6||3||Apr 2010||26 April 2010||1 June 2010||3|
|7||7||3||Mar & Apr 2013||15 May 2013||24 September 2013||3|
- The show began broadcasting Africa-wide in 2009 on the pay service DStv on the Universal Channel. Stv is broadcast from South Africa.
- In Australia it is shown on ABC 1.
- In China, the first series was shown on CCTV-8 in 2003.
- In Denmark it is aired on DR1.
In Norway it is broadcast on NRK1.
- In Portugal, it was broadcast on RTP2.
- In the US it is aired on PBS and has aired on the pay service Netflix from June 2012. Seasons 1-6 are available on Amazon Prime.
Notes and references
- "ITV may revive Foyle's War". The Guardian (London). 9 April 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
- Tryhorn, Chris (20 April 2008). "Baftas watched by 5.6 million". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 April 2008.
- Dowell, Ben (10 February 2009). "Foyled again – ITV revives wartime drama Foyle's War". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- Tryhorn, Chris (14 April 2008). "Foyle's War sweeps to victory for ITV". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 14 April 2008.
- "I'm Off for Christmas". AnthonyHorowitz.com. 17 December 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
- "Foyle's War Series 7,Foyles War Filmed 2009 Midhurst,ITV 2010". Violetdesigns.co.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- IFTN, 29 August 2012: Exclusive: Irish Cast Join ‘Foyle’s War’ As Production Gets Underway In Dublin Linked 22 August 2013
- Thomas, Liz (10 February 2009). "ITV brings back axed drama Foyle's War after huge public demand". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 16 February 2009.
- DCS Summers remarks to Foyle, "I understand that you don't drive? I've never heard of a Chief Superintendent who can't drive, but still..." in the early episode "The German Woman", and it is assumed he cannot drive until "All Clear", when he drives Mrs. Milner to hospital to give birth – he explains that he had been able to drive all the time, but prefers not to.
- "Production Notes", Series Four DVD extras
- "Production Notes", Series Five DVD extras
- Waugh, David (2000). Geography: an integrated approach. Nelson Thornes. p. 172. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "The True Story of the Discovery of Streptomycin". Albertschatzphd.com. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Wilkinson-Latham, Robert (1977). The Royal Navy, 1790–1970. Osprey Publishing. p. 17.
- "RM406 (Routemaster bus)".
- "News, nominees and winners from the Academy's five annual Awards ceremonies". Bafta.org. 21 February 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2010.[dead link]
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War: the German Woman/the White Feather Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – A Lesson In Murder / Eagle Day Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Series 1 Complete Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon US: Foyle's War: Set 1 Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Fifty Ships / Among the Few Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – War Games / The Funk Hole Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Series 2 Complete Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon US: Foyle's War: Set Two Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – French Drop / Enemy Fire Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – They Fought / War Of Nerves Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Series 3 Complete Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon US: Foyle's War – Set 3 Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Invasion Bad Blood Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Bleak Midwinter / Casualties of War Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Series 4 Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon US: Foyle's War: Set Four Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Series 5 Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon US: Foyle's War: Set Five Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Series 6 Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon US: Foyle's War: Set Six Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon UK: Foyle's War – Series 7 Linked 1 August 2013
- Amazon US: Foyle's War: Set Seven Linked 1 August 2013
- "Foyle's War". Tvsa.co.za. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Foyle's War at the Internet Movie Database
- Foyleswar.com The official fan website
- Foyle's War at TV.com