Foyle’s War (2003): S02E01 – Fifty Ships


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.


The building where Stewart lives is partially destroyed by a high-explosive bomb, and Foyle, there to check on her, soon learns of the theft of valuables from the damaged building. Now homeless, she bunks temporarily with Milner, until his wife comes home one night unexpectedly, forcing Stewart to sleep in a police cell. Foyle also investigates the apparent suicide of an alcoholic handyman, Richard Hunter, who has Oxford University ties to a visiting American millionaire, Howard Paige. Complicating matters, Hunter’s son Kenneth appears connected to a gang of auxiliary firefighters, who are secretly looting bombed-out houses. Meanwhile, Hans Maier, a “Dutch refugee”, is found, but when he turns out to be a German spy he faces execution. Surprisingly his cousin, the wife of the local doctor, lives nearby and seems complicit in his arrival. In the end, Foyle’s investigations reveal the truth behind Paige’s complicity in both stealing Hunter’s synchromesh concept and in his murder. Stopped by Paige’s minder from arresting the American, who is responsible for convincing the US to supply arms to the UK, Foyle vows to bring Paige to justice after the war.


  • Set: September 1940.
  • Guests: Clive Merrison, Amanda Root, Janine Duvitski, Tom Georgeson, Geoffrey Chater, Nicholas Le Prevost, Henry Goodman, Guy Henry, and Bryan Dick.
  • This episode introduces Foyle’s former love, Elizabeth Lewes, whom he had intended to marry but was declined permission by her father some 20 years ago. Later, true to his word, in “The Eternity Ring” (S07E01), Foyle returns from America after confronting Paige. In this episode it is established that Stewart is 22 years old.
  • The title refers to the Destroyers for Bases Agreement, under which the United States traded 50 US Navy destroyers to the U.K. in exchange for land rights in certain British colonies. The agreement was a reversal of the US’s isolationist policy and a precursor to the much more substantial Lend-Lease programme. The edition of the Eastbourne Chronicle announcing the visit of Paige to Hastings is dated ‘Wednesday September 14, 1940’. Therefore, this episode starts the day after the Season 1 episode – “Eagle Day“. The episode also reveals the darker side of the war effort: those willing to profit in wartime at the expense of their countrymen. The subplot with the character Hans Maier is based upon a real incident in which the German spy, Carl Meier, was caught in a similar way to the depiction in the episode.
  • Series 2 was broadcast in the United States on PBS on Mystery!, on 18 and 25 July, and 01 and 08 August 2004, as Foyle’s War II, and on Netflix as of April 2014.

Foyle’s War Series

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

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 16 November 2003.
  • Running time: 99 minutes.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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