The weekend before last I had an actresss friend to stay. On the Sunday evening she recommended for watching Foyle’s War. She said the period just after World War Two had been successfully recreated. I was hooked. The following Sunday I watched the two hour final programme in the series and then ordered the compilation dvd.
There always two story lines. The first is the central investigation – normally a murder- by Foyle ( Michael Kitchen) and the M15 department. Foyle is always courteous and self- effacing, a little stiff in his British warm overcoat. His number two is the wife of the Labour MP for Peckham and through her a secondary social story is introduced. In the last one I watched this was anti-semitism and public health. In another it was the woman’s right to retain her job, post war.
The acting is always of a high standard and the attention to detail in the recreation of the times rigorous. Britain post-1945 was an interesting place. Churchill and the Comservatives were roundly defeated in the 1945 election and there was utopian belief in a better Britain epitomised by the National Health. The country was impoverished and exhausted by war and rationing was to continue until 1954. The black market flourished. In examining all these issues Foyle’s War would be interesting enough but factor in criminal drama, and you have a highly watchable series.
In this column I have often praised both Nordic Noir and The Sopranos and Mad Men on HBO. I do believe there is over-reliance on costume dramas on British tv but I only have admiration for ITV in creating Broadchurch and Foyle’s War which are every bit as gripping as these overseas imports.