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 episode begins on 2 May 1945, with the arrival of Major John Kieffer at the Majestic Hotel, now haunted by visions of dead American soldiers. With VE Day upon them, Foyle is asked to assist the council’s celebration committee, along with Dr Henry Ziegler, an Austrian GP, and Martin Longmate, the owner of the Majestic and aspiring politician. Foyle attempts to rekindle their friendship, but Kieffer, now a heavy drinker, only wants to return to the US. The council’s committee member, Mark Griffiths (formerly a Major in the Royal Signal Corps), is also haunted by his past, as is Edward Hylton, a demobilised soldier, and his wife Janice. When Ziegler is stabbed to death, Foyle investigates, soon learning of Griffiths’s suicide as well. Suspicion turns to Michael Brown, the aged museum curator, who cannot explain why the murder weapon was taken from a display, and also Kieffer’s interest in Griffiths. Foyle then meets Hilda Pierce in London, and learns of Operation Tiger in Devon. Confronting Kieffer, he learns of how he tracked down and hounded the man he held responsible, Griffiths. He also learns of Longmate’s lethal attempt to cover-up his fabricated army medical check.
- 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: May 1945.
- Guests: Mark Bazeley, John Ramm, Jay Benedict, Frances Grey, Martin Savage, Jay Simpson, Paul Thornley, Ellie Haddington, and Frank Mills.
- Kieffer (from Series 4 “Invasion“) returns in this episode, and we learn of his wife and two children. Also returning are Foyle’s son, who had been flying in Malta prior to discharge, and Pierce (from Series 2 “War Games” and Series 3 “The French Drop“). With the war in Europe winding down, Foyle is retiring and the station is being moved to another location. Milner received a promotion to Detective Inspector and transfer to Brighton, while Edith, his new wife, is expecting their first child, a daughter. When the delivery starts, Foyle gets behind the wheel and drives them to the hospital. Stewart is uneasy with her career post war, and Foyle suggests volunteering for SSAFA. Andrew Foyle attempts to apologise and propose to Stewart and rekindle their friendship and romance.
- A major plotline is the Slapton Sands disaster and its subsequent secrecy. Others include the ongoing preparations for the celebration of VE Day in Hastings (including profiteering on the sale of flags and bunting) and the difficulties experienced by returning servicemen adapting to civilian life. One inconsistency is that Andrew says he won’t continue as a pilot because “sinusitis has affected my vision”, but sinusitis, while a reason for temporary grounding because of the pain caused by unpressurised cockpits, extremely rarely affects vision permanently. Several newspapers are used as props: Foyle is seen reading a copy of The Hastings Chronicle with a “Hitler Dead” headline; a few days later, a child reads The Evening News stating Germany Surrenders; and, in the station, Brooke discusses a Jane comic from The Daily Mirror. The episode ends with Churchill’s victory speech and It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow, sung by Vera Lynn.
Foyle’s War Series
You can find a full index and overview of Foyle’s War here.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 20 April 2008.
- Running time: 93 minutes.
- Rating: 15.
- Country: UK.
- Language: English.