Michael Kitchen

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For the ice hockey player/coach, see Mike Kitchen.
Michael Kitchen
Born Michael R. Kitchen
(1948-10-31) 31 October 1948 (age 67)
Leicester, Leicestershire, England
Occupation Actor, television producer
Years active 1971–present

Michael Kitchen (born 31 October 1948) is an English actor and television producer, best known for his role as Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle in the ITV drama series Foyle's War since 2002. He also played the role of Bill Tanner in two James Bond films.

Early life[edit]

Kitchen was born in Leicester, Leicestershire. As a young boy (circa 1960) he was head chorister in the Church of the Martyrs choir, where he was a regular soloist. He attended the City of Leicester Boys' Grammar School, where he appeared on stage in a production of Cymbeline.[1] He worked with the National Youth Theatre and the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry before attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In 1969, while still at RADA, he won the "Emile Littler Award" for 'outstanding talent and aptitude for the professional theatre'.


Television and film[edit]

Kitchen was discovered at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) by talent agent Peter Froggatt of Plant & Froggatt Ltd. In the early 1970s, Kitchen appeared in small roles in films such as Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1971) and the Hammer film Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) before becoming a fixture of British television. His early TV appearances include roles in Play for Today (Hell's Angels by David Agnew, 1971), Thriller and Beasts. He then played the role of Martin in the original 1976 production of Dennis Potter's Brimstone and Treacle, Peter in Stephen Poliakoff's Caught on a Train, Edmund in the BBC Television Shakespeare production of King Lear, the Antipholi in the same series' production of The Comedy of Errors, Private Bamforth in the 1979 BBC television play of The Long and the Short and the Tall, Larner in the film Breaking Glass (1980), Rochus Misch in The Bunker (1981), Berkeley Cole in the film Out of Africa (1985), the King of the United Kingdom in To Play the King (1993) (a character recognisably modelled on Prince Charles), an English land agent during the Irish Famine in The Hanging Gale (1995), and a recurring role as Bill Tanner in the Pierce Brosnan Bond films GoldenEye (1995) and The World Is Not Enough (1999). His later films include The Russia House (1990), Fools of Fortune (1990), Enchanted April (1992), The Trial (1993), Fatherland (1994), Doomsday Gun (1994), The Hanging Gale (1995), Kidnapped (1995), Mrs Dalloway (1997), The Railway Children (2000), Proof of Life (2000) as Ian Havery, Lorna Doone (2001) as Judge Jeffreys, and My Week with Marilyn (2011).

From 2002 to 2015, Kitchen starred in the ITV mystery-drama Foyle's War as the lead character, DCS Christopher Foyle. He was also a producer for the show.

Other noted appearances include The Buccaneers as Sir Helmsley Thwaite (1995), Dandelion Dead (1994), A Royal Scandal (1996), The Last Contract (Sista Kontraktet,1998) a Swedish film about the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, Paul Abbott's Alibi in 2003, Andrew Davies' dramatisation of Falling in 2005, ITV's three-part drama series Mobile (2007) and Channel 4's phone hacking comedy Hacks (2012). He has guest-starred in roles in other popular British television shows such as The Professionals, Minder, Chancer, Inspector Morse, A Touch of Frost, Between the Lines, Pie in the Sky and Dalziel and Pascoe.

Kitchen played Richard Crane in Reckless and John Farrow in the mockumentary The Life of Rock with Brian Pern.


Kitchen is also a noted actor in British theatre. His roles have ranged from Ptolemy in Caesar and Cleopatra at the Belgrade Theatre in 1966 to Will in Howard Brenton's Magnificence at the Royal Court in 1973 to William Hogarth in Nick Dear's The Art of Success in 1986–87.

He played Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet for the RSC at Stratford and was a member of the National Theatre Company and the Young Vic, where he played Iago in Othello. In 1974 he appeared at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre in the play Spring Awakening opposite Peter Firth, Jenny Agutter, Beryl Reid and Cyril Cusack. Later he appeared opposite Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land, directed by Peter Hall.[2] In 1981 he played Melchior, the manservant of Zangler, in Tom Stoppard's play On the Razzle.[3] In 1984 he played the cabin steward Dvornicheck in Tom Stoppard's play Rough Crossing.[4][5]

Personal life[edit]

Kitchen is married to Rowena Miller, whom he met while she was a dresser at the RSC in the late 1980s. They have two sons. Kitchen values his privacy and rarely gives interviews.



Year Title Role Notes
1971 Unman, Wittering and Zigo Bungabine
1972 Dracula A.D. 1972 Greg
1980 Breaking Glass Larner
1985 Out of Africa Berkeley
1989 Dykket Bricks
1990 Fools of Fortune Mr Quinton
1990 The Russia House Clive
1991 Enchanted April George Briggs
1992 Hostage Fredericks
1993 The Trial Block
1995 GoldenEye Bill Tanner
1997 Mrs Dalloway Peter Walsh
1999 The World is Not Enough Bill Tanner
2000 New Year's Day Robin
2000 Proof of Life Ian Havery
2011 My Week with Marilyn Hugh Perceval


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Thirty-Minute Theatre Waller 1 episode
1971 Man at the Top Trevor 1 episode
1971 Z Cars Royal Hall 2 episodes
1972 ITV Sunday Night Theatre 1 episode
1972 New Scotland Yard Peter Coppard 1 episode
1973 Country Matters Henry Batley 1 episode
1973 Late Night Theatre Paul 1 episode
1973 Crime of Passion Philippe Villon 1 episode
1973 The Brontes of Haworth Branwell Bronte 4 episodes
1973 Great Mysteries Herbert White 1 episode
1973 Love Story Roy 1 episode
1973 Marked Personal Simon 2 episodes
1974 Fall of Eagles Trotsky 2 episodes
1974 Seven Faces of Woman Archie 1 episode
1974-1976 Thriller Ian/George Newton 2 episodes
1975 Churchill's People John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 1 episode
1975 Centre Play The Student 1 episode
1989 The Justice Game Tim Forsythe 4 episodes
1992 Inspector Morse Russell Clark 1 episode
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Lloyd George 1 episode
1993 To Play the King The King 4 episodes
1995 The Hanging Gale Captain William Townsend 4 episodes
1997 Reckless Richard Crane 6 episodes
1999 Oliver Twist Mr Brownlow 4 episodes
2002-2015 Foyle's War Christopher Foyle 28 episodes


  1. ^ Michael Kitchen interview in The Leicester Mercury 13 August 1992. Retrieved 2015-03-19.
  2. ^ "ROB WILTON THEATRICALIA - National Theatre 1970s". Phyllis.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  3. ^ On the Razzle by Tom Stoppard. Published 1981 by Faber and Faber, Ltd. ISBN 0-571-11835-6
  4. ^ Rough Crossing by Tom Stoppard. Published 1985 by Faber and Faber, Ltd. ISBN 0-571-13595-1
  5. ^ "Rough Crossing". Sff.net. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 

External links[edit]