Foyle’s War (2002): S01E02 – The White Feather


Introduction

Foyle’s War is a British detective drama television series set during (and shortly after) the Second World War, created by Midsomer Murders screenwriter and author Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by ITV after the long-running series Inspector Morse ended in 2000.

It began broadcasting on ITV in October 2002. ITV director of programmes Simon Shaps cancelled Foyle’s War in 2007, but complaints and public demand prompted Peter Fincham (Shaps’ replacement) to revive the programme after good ratings for 2008’s fifth series. The final episode was broadcast on 18 January 2015, after eight series.

Outline

Set against the backdrop of the Allies’ defeat and retreat from Dunkirk, future invasion and defeat seem imminent for England. Milner, while visiting London, meets Guy Spencer, a charismatic fascist sympathizer, politician, and conman, and is invited inside to observe a meeting. Outside however, a passer-by who voices distaste at the meeting is badly beaten. Meanwhile, investigations into a minor sabotage case leads Foyle to a local hotel, The White Feather. At home, Milner is frustrated by his wife who struggles to cope with his amputation, leaving him conflicted between his duties and his personal responsibilities. Later, Spencer leads a private meeting of the pro-nationalist “Friday Club” at the same hotel at which the hotel manageress is shot dead. Foyle and Milner investigate, and chase up numerous leads including the fisherman boyfriend of the saboteur, a missing letter from the Foreign Office, an army intelligence agent, and a shop-owner whose gun (the murder weapon) was taken from his hotel room. In the end, the husband is revealed as the murderer, since he longed to be free of his wife’s domination.

Notes:

  • Set: May/June 1940.
  • Guests: Charles Dance, Maggie Steed, Paul Brooke, Bernard Kay, Patrick Godfrey, Ian Hogg, Michael Simkins, Mali Harries, Lisa Ellis, Tobias Menzies, and Andres Williams.
  • Maggie Steed plays Margaret Ellis. This episode shows Milner starting back at work as a detective sergeant. He has recently acquired his artificial leg and still requires two crutches to aid him. His wife, Jane, expresses a great dislike for his prosthetic. Stewart tells Foyle that her father is a vicar; he appears in the episode “Eagle Day“. Stewart is very pleased to be invited by Foyle to tea at the Crescent and eats more than her share of the food ordered, including the last lemon curd. Her interest and healthy appetite in food appears in other episodes. Foyle receives a letter from his son Andrew (a voice-over by the uncredited Julian Ovenden), who writes about his training and eating haggis (to hint at his location). “Woolton” is the name Robert Wolf assumes when staying at the White Feather. However, that is the name used in the credits for the character and his nephew Isaac, even though Isaac never used the pseudonym.
  • This episode is set in the days leading up to the Battle of Dunkirk. The characters discuss the fall of Brussels and the German advance. The characters attend church for a ‘National day of prayer’ as the situation worsens. The episode ends with the Allied evacuation of Dunkirk. One of the plot devices rests on a letter stolen from the Foreign Office; it purports to be from Lord Halifax, well known for his desire for appeasement. The story also involves a (fictional) political organisation, the “Friday Club”, which one of the characters likens to the (historical) British Union of Fascists. The arrest of the BUF leader Sir Oswald Mosley is also mentioned; this occurred in May 1940, when the BUF was banned. The fascists were known for their Anti-Semitism and their political allegiance to Nazi Germany. The book which Spencer lends to Milner, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is a notorious anti-Semitic text.
  • Filmed: April and May 2002.

Foyle’s War Series

You can find a full index and overview of Foyle’s War here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 03 November 2002.
  • Running time: 97 minutes.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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