Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Foyle’s War’

 

I see that Amazon Prime is offering at least the first season of this British crime drama. My late wife and I watched it when it originally came out, almost two decades ago, and enjoyed it. It appeals to my sense of vicarious nostalgia, my longing for a time I never experienced and a romanticized and idealized simplicity that I’m pretty sure never existed.

“Foyle’s War” is set in Hastings, a town on the British coast south of London. The series begins in the summer of 1940: France has just been invaded, and the British people are on a wartime footing, afraid that a German invasion of their island is imminent. Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, played in a charming and understated way by British actor Michael Kitchen, conducts the business of law enforcement under the shadow of invasion.

The producers of the series invested a considerable effort, particularly in the early seasons, in accurately portraying wartime Britain. Every episode reveals interesting details of British life under blackout, curfew, rationing, and wartime mobilization. Without showing us the horror of the London bombings (though one episode touches on them) or actual military combat, the show nonetheless conveys something of the profound challenges the war inflicted on the British people, and something of the resolve with which they met those challenges.

I rewatched the first episode of the first season today, and was reminded again how much I admire our cousins across the pond for standing alone, and for so long, against the German war machine. And, on this watching, I realized that while many have been or will be touched by personal tragedy in our current travails, this epidemic finds us richer, more secure, and better prepared than the British were, and facing a vastly less threatening opponent.

It’s a fine series full of pleasant and sympathetic characters, set in an interesting place and time. I recommend it.

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  1. EODmom Coolidge

    I agree- thanks for the reminder. Time to re-watch. It was very well done. We’ve been working our way through Jane Austen on BBC- with occasional back to back comparisons to “updated” Hollywood versions that don’t hold up nearly as well. Lots more on BritBox. 

    • #1
    • April 2, 2020, at 5:43 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. EB Thatcher
    EB

    We liked Foyle’s War as well. Michael Kitchen (Foyle) is always good and Honeysuckle Weeks was great as his driver, Stewart. (Is that a great name or what!)

    • #2
    • April 2, 2020, at 6:40 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Unsk Member

    Great show. But Henry you forgot the fine role as an assistant played by the charming Honeysuckle Weeks? There are many fine British crime series dramas available on Prime in this time of needing something to watch. Dalziel and Pascoe, Inspector Lynley’s Mysteries, Shetland, Endeavor, Mid Summer Murders and the Dublin Murders are but a few.

    • #3
    • April 2, 2020, at 7:58 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Unsk (View Comment):
    But Henry you forgot the fine role as an assistant played by the charming Honeysuckle Weeks?

    No, I certainly didn’t forget Ms. Weeks. She’s adorable, isn’t she?

    • #4
    • April 2, 2020, at 9:50 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Housebroken Thatcher

    The title of this conversation made my mind leap to a book which I don’t think was ever made into a tv or a movie series – and the character Gully Foyle.

    • #5
    • April 2, 2020, at 11:22 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. Nick Plosser Coolidge

    Foyle’s War is excellent and Kitchen is perfect as Foyle. As others have commented, Honeysuckle Weeks is just about the best name going! If you’ve enjoyed Foyle’s War you may also enjoy Endeavor, also on Amazon Prime. Follows the early years of Inspector Morse in Oxford.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endeavour_(TV_series)

    **Apologies to Unsk. Just reread the list of shows and saw that Endeavor is there. So I’ll just second that recommendation!

    • #6
    • April 3, 2020, at 4:18 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Weeping Member

    Love that show! The first season may be the only one that’s available through Prime itself, but you can watch the rest of the seasons with a subscription to the Acorn TV channel that’s available via the Prime program.

    • #7
    • April 4, 2020, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. JustmeinAZ Member

    Foyle’s War was just about a perfect series.

    We’re working our way through Miss Marple now (the one with Joan Hickson) and Seasons 1-3 of All Creatures Great and Small. They’re on Britbox.

    If you have Acorn and just want some gentle comedy I recommend Kingdom (with Stephen Fry) and The Detectorists.

    • #8
    • April 4, 2020, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. EB Thatcher
    EB

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    Kingdom (with Stephen Fry) and The Detectorists.

    Kingdom was very good. I tried, but couldn’t quite get into The Detectorists.

    • #9
    • April 4, 2020, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Weeping Member

    EB (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    Kingdom (with Stephen Fry) and The Detectorists.

    Kingdom was very good. I tried, but couldn’t quite get into The Detectorists.

    I liked Kingdom too – very heartwarming and humorous, if I’m remembering correctly. I haven’t watched the Detectorists.

    • #10
    • April 4, 2020, at 7:52 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. JustmeinAZ Member

    EB (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    Kingdom (with Stephen Fry) and The Detectorists.

    Kingdom was very good. I tried, but couldn’t quite get into The Detectorists.

    Well, it is a little quirky.

    • #11
    • April 4, 2020, at 7:57 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Weeping Member

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    EB (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):
    Kingdom (with Stephen Fry) and The Detectorists.

    Kingdom was very good. I tried, but couldn’t quite get into The Detectorists.

    Well, it is a little quirky.

    I often like quirky. Maybe I should make a point of checking it out.

    • #12
    • April 4, 2020, at 7:59 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Sounds good. Thanks for the heads-up.

    • #13
    • April 16, 2020, at 10:26 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Years ago I bought the complete dvd collection of Foyle’s War when it was first available and still own it along with many other classic films. I’ve noticed that a lot of people I know, including my own children, no longer even have dvd players, preferring to stream everything. Although I have Netflix and Amazon Prime, I’m glad to be able to watch wonderful films without waiting for them to show up for streaming and just noticed that so many in my collection are British. I don’t know why, but could it be that Brits are better at character development than their American counterparts?

    • #14
    • April 16, 2020, at 2:38 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Hang On Member
    Hang On Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    One of my favorite characters was introduced later – Hilda Pierce (Ellie Haddington) – the creepy MI6 (or was she MI5? Who knows? Probably secret organization to oversee both.) Watching the cat-and-mouse game with Foyle was fun. 

    • #15
    • April 16, 2020, at 2:43 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Hang On (View Comment):

    One of my favorite characters was introduced later – Hilda Pierce (Ellie Haddington) – the creepy MI6 (or was she MI5? Who knows? Probably secret organization to oversee both.) Watching the cat-and-mouse game with Foyle was fun.

    It was years ago, but I remember her now that you mention it. And I vaguely recall that she was portrayed in a somewhat sympathetic light, as if her creepiness was a tragic necessity.

    I’ve been busy and have only re-watched the first two or three episodes, but it’s as good as I remember.

    • #16
    • April 16, 2020, at 2:48 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    As I recall the series, it had a rather high PC preachiness quotient.

    • #17
    • April 16, 2020, at 2:50 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Skyler Coolidge

    The last quasi season, as I recall, was pretty weak, but the others were quite good.

    I really liked it but I came away with a different impression. I was struck by the poverty and by the heavy hand of the government. I am glad to be an American. After watching that series I was even more disappointed that the Brits failed to exploit their capitalistic heritage and drove full bore into socialism, stunting their recovery from the war.

    • #18
    • April 16, 2020, at 3:34 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):
    I’ve noticed that a lot of people I know, including my own children, no longer even have dvd players, preferring to stream everything.

    I never thought that would happen. It is very surprising.

    • #19
    • April 16, 2020, at 3:44 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    As I recall the series, it had a rather high PC preachiness quotient.

    I missed that, and I’m usually pretty picky about it. I don’t remember any, but I’ll watch for it.

    • #20
    • April 16, 2020, at 4:32 PM PDT
    • Like
  21. Weeping Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    As I recall the series, it had a rather high PC preachiness quotient.

    I missed that, and I’m usually pretty picky about it. I don’t remember any, but I’ll watch for it.

    It’s been a few months since I watched the series, but I don’t remember any either. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there; but if it was, it wasn’t so blatant that it stuck with me.

    • #21
    • April 16, 2020, at 6:41 PM PDT
    • Like
  22. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Weeping (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    As I recall the series, it had a rather high PC preachiness quotient.

    I missed that, and I’m usually pretty picky about it. I don’t remember any, but I’ll watch for it.

    It’s been a few months since I watched the series, but I don’t remember any either. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there; but if it was, it wasn’t so blatant that it stuck with me.

    Basil is a comedic genius, but I never know what to think when he or she says something serious. Fortunately that almost never happens.

    • #22
    • April 16, 2020, at 7:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Suspira Member

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    As I recall the series, it had a rather high PC preachiness quotient.

    I’d say it has a middling PC PQ. When the PC bits occur, they’re usually understated, as befits the British of the period.

    • #23
    • April 16, 2020, at 7:49 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Al Sparks Thatcher

    I found the war time seasons to be more interesting than the post war.

    The post war episodes is where I found some of the preachiness. After all, one of the characters does become a Labour MP.

    Britain wasn’t as devastated by the war as the continent. But it was still essentially bankrupted by it. Foyle’s War shows that pretty well.

    It also shows what it was like for some servicemen returning back from the war, along with the adjustments that had to be made.

    There’s an American film, Best Years of Our Lives which portrays the adjustments American servicemen had to make when they got back to the states.

    As it turned out, the United States (and Canada) had a much better post war than the rest of the world.

    Foyle’s is a gentle reminder of that for us Americans.

    • #24
    • April 16, 2020, at 9:32 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Jules PA Member

    Big fan of Foyle’s War. I watched all of the episodes. 

    I did not enjoy the very late episodes that were post war or Cold War. 

    • #25
    • April 16, 2020, at 10:04 PM PDT
    • Like
  26. The Cynthonian Member

    I’m a big fan of this series too, but I couldn’t help but notice that a high proportion of villains were a) business people profiteering from the war, b) aristocrats, and c) clergy. Tiresome, really, as the Brits would say.

    • #26
    • April 16, 2020, at 11:21 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Skyler Coolidge

    The Cynthonian (View Comment):

    I’m a big fan of this series too, but I couldn’t help but notice that a high proportion of villains were a) business people profiteering from the war, b) aristocrats, and c) clergy. Tiresome, really, as the Brits would say.

    Well, it’s a pretty American view to say aristocrats are the villains.

    • #27
    • April 16, 2020, at 11:27 PM PDT
    • Like
  28. Jailer Member

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Big fan of Foyle’s War. I watched all of the episodes.

    I did not enjoy the very late episodes that were post war or Cold War.

    Agree with this and others who’ve said early seasons are great, but late seasons fall off quite a bit. Like many series it gets tired and loses its way.

    That shouldn’t discourage anyone who hasn’t watched it to enjoy those early seasons!

    • #28
    • April 17, 2020, at 12:18 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Cynthonian (View Comment):

    I’m a big fan of this series too, but I couldn’t help but notice that a high proportion of villains were a) business people profiteering from the war, b) aristocrats, and c) clergy. 

    Sounds like every episode of Law & Order.

    • #29
    • April 17, 2020, at 5:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  30. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Al Sparks (View Comment):
    I found the war time seasons to be more interesting than the post war.

    If I remember correctly, the show ended and then was restarted based on popular demand. I wonder if that’s when they switched to the post-war episodes. In any case, I don’t remember post-war episodes, so I probably never watched those. I expect I’ll stop before I get there this time, given how little television I watch and how long it takes me to get through a series.

    • #30
    • April 17, 2020, at 6:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like