ITV and BBC as a whole release some of the finest TV movies and TV Shows that I have ever seen. At times, the channels have felt like old time studios as the talent they hire and cultivate keeps popping up from show to show and movie to movie and the directors, writers and actors just keep getting stronger and stronger. Their track record with quality is unmatched even in Hollywood circles. I can mention several shows and movies from ITV that I have loved in recent years including Endeavor and Downton Abbey...and another one that is continually on the top of my list is Foyle’s War.
Created by an amazing writer by the name of Anthony Horowitz, who has written several books, TV Shows and movies including Sherlock Holmes (The House of Silk) and James Bond (Trigger Mortis) novels and the popular young adult series, Alex Rider (Stormbreaker…). The show is a period mystery series set first in World War II and then continues after the war, between the years 1940 to 1947. Technically, the series has 8 seasons and the first six seasons are set 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). For seasons 7 and 8, it sees a retired Foyle working for MI5, navigating the world of Cold War espionage.
In the United States, each of the episodes filmed would be considered a TV Movie, as the episodes run from 90 to 110 minutes and take about 5 weeks to shoot each of them. My favorite actors in the shows would have to be Michael Kitchen, who plays Foyle and Honeysuckle Weeks, who plays his driver Sam. They are the backbone of the series. The series is notable for its attention to historical detail, and the drama is frequently moved along by historical events of the Second World War. Creator Anthony Horowitz considered that to honor 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.
Normally how the series has been packaged from the original run in the UK and then for the US airings later have been completely different. Upon the first viewings in the US, they would add a Historian introducing the episode about to be aired. Michael Kitchen especially liked these as he said later, “When the series first went out in the States, for example, at the front of each episode a rather eminent historian spent a couple of minutes on camera explaining how that episode related to the period of war it’s set in, what actual incidents have inspired it along with various things to look out for during the course of the programme. I think it’s a great shame something similar doesn’t happen when the series is screened in the UK. It undeniably adds another level and depth to the programme, not to mention the success this sort of prologue or introduction has had in the past – the Alfred Hitchcock series for example.”