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.
Foyle meets his friend, Dr Josef Novak, a Polish-Jewish psychiatrist, for a chess game. Novak works at a nearby Sackville House Hospital, a military mental health institution, headed by Dr Iain Campbell, where the young and ambitious Dr Julian Worth is found murdered after publishing an article based on Novak’s patients. Foyle is called in and asks Stewart to help find a missing East End boy, Tommy Crooks. Meanwhile, Fred Dawson, a disabled former POW, arrives back at his farm to find his wife, Rose, and son being assisted by Johann Schultz, a German POW. He quickly suspects her of overly-fraternising with the German and also resents his friendship with Daniel, their son. At the hospital, Campbell is romantically involved with his secretary, Joy Phelps, the wife of Peter, a patient at the hospital, who is committed to an asylum following the death of Worth. Schultz, knowing that his time at the Dawson farm is over, escapes the camp and is later found dead nearby. Foyle’s investigation reveals Campbell’s killing of Worth over a stolen love-letter, and Novak’s killing of Schultz based on instinct and survivor guilt.
- Series Five was broadcast in the United States on PBS stations on Masterpiece Mystery! as Foyle’s War V on 07 and 14 June 2009, and on Netflix as of April 2014.
- Set: October 1944.
- Guests: Nicholas Woodeson, Graham Crowden, Duncan Bell, Phyllida Law, Natasha Little, Joseph Mawle, and Roger Sloman.
- Novak was in Paris during the invasion of Poland, and his wife and (survivor) daughter remained there. During the episode, we learn of their transfer to a ghetto (probably the Lublin Ghetto), and then the Majdanek concentration camp, news of which triggers Novak’s suicide attempt. Further, his uncle was apparently a Polish chess grandmaster. Dawson had been a prisoner since the Battle of Dunkirk, five years earlier, but recently escaped and is suffering from frostbite. Tommy Crooks, a 15-year-old missing former child-evacuee, arrives to stay with Sir John and Lady Muriel Sackville, the gentry who had lived in the newly converted hospital, and whose son was killed in the raid on Dieppe. As a telegram boy, Crooks was traumatised by the reactions of those he delivered bad news to, and also the recent death of his mother in a V-1 flying bomb attack. His father, Morris, arrives in Hastings seeking his return.
- German POWs are being billeted near Hastings at the Bexhill-on-Sea POW Camp. At the Ruby Cinema, the 1944 film Going My Way, starring Bing Crosby, is being screened, along with a Pathé News newsreel. The radio news report heard by Novak was by BBC correspondent Alexander Werth. Also, Brooke discusses a staff football betting pool at the station, in which they win £100, which Foyle suggests donating to Jewish refugees. The fictional article in the episode is in the October 1944 issue of The Journal of Mental Science, titled The Mental Trauma of War: Some Case Studies and published by the Royal Medico-Psychological Association. Foyle is also seen looking through newspapers dated 14 October 1944, including Daily Mirror, Daily Express, and The Daily Telegraph.
Foyle’s War Series
You can find a full index and overview of Foyle’s War here.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 13 April 2008.
- Running time: 91 minutes.
- Rating: 15.
- Country: UK.
- Language: English.