Article in The Stage

Article in The Stage

Postby bee » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:26 pm

If anyone has access to the magazine The Stage, there's an article about the new series in this week's edition (see bottom of the page):

http://www.thestage.co.uk/
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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby bellis » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:25 pm

I managed to get hold of a copy of this and scanned in the article as text (hopefully without any errors). It's written by the same person as the Guardian article but is longer.

The war's not over yet

Foyle's War has been missing from our screens since ITV bosses decided it needed to be sent on indefinite leave, but viewers have played their part in ensuring its return to the frontline. Its creator and writer, Anthony Horowitz, tells Maggie Brown how the show will be freshened up

“It’s a very unusual and nice event” said a beaming Anthony Horowitz, the prolific writer, with the look of a man who had lost a battle, but won the war.

He was talking to me about the imminent return of Foyle's War and Britain's favourite TV detective, DCI Christopher Foyle, to ITV this month after a decision to cancel it back in 2007 was reversed by an armchair revolt.

Fans wrote furious letters to newspapers and complaints to the broadcaster, saying "we want more" of this elegant series - about the single-minded, gentlemanly policeman of Hastings - played to perfection by Michael Kitchen.

“As a television writer you don't get to meet the audience. For people to say that this is wrong, it's very heartening", added Horowitz, who cut his TV teeth on Poirot and Midsomer Murders - but is a master of all the writing trades, including nine Alex Rider novels about the teen spy.

But the audience's love of the show, he said, impressed on him the responsibility - "Do not ever let the audience down," he says. After a break of more than two years he could "not come
back with a coldly calculated, mechanical Foyle." He had to take the drama to a new level.

Foyle's War, remember, launched in 2002 as Inspector Morse ended, and was the result of a competitive trawl by ITV for a fresh detective. The special feature was the way it chronologically lived through the Second World War from the perspective of Hastings, without straying into Dad's Army territory. This was accomplished by Horowitz digging out fresh, true stories, ranging from internment camps to a secret government-owned coffin factory, with murders mixed in.

But it was cancelled famously by the then ITV television director Simon Shaps, despite its formidable older, upmarket fans, especially men, who lap up the period detail, vintage cars, interiors, clothes, and manners, plus posh Samantha Stewart (who is played by Honeysuckle Weeks) his driver and enthusiastic sidekick.

Shaps told me that the show was cancelled because "there was a consensus that it had done a good job but was growing tired. We were actively pursuing a sequel, Foyle's Peace, when I left". It was a victim of ITV's rush to modernise and attract younger viewers. The seventh series, screened in 2010 and supposedly the last, had to jump from 1943 to the end of war, missing out 1944. Some 7.6 million people watched VJ Day, and learnt Foyle could drive all along.

In this new series, instead of Foyle's Peace, Horowitz has moved on to what is really Foyle's Cold War. His solution is to take characters and viewers into this new post-war world. "We had run out of war... We knew he had left the police, knew he had attempted several times to move into intelligence. Foyle was never about murder."

The opening episode is called The Eternity Ring, and viewers will find it takes a bit of adjustment, opening in the New Mexico desert, with a British professor and wife observing the testing of an atom bomb. The second scene shows a Russian stealing secrets from the Embassy in London. Still no Foyle.

Horowitz sets the scene. "The world has changed. Who are they? How are they connected to Foyle? He is entering a brave new world. All the rules have changed. And then, Foyle steps off the boat". We're back in Blighty, and he is about to be invited to apply his detective skills on behalf of MI5.

"It's an ambivalent period. A dark and difficult time", says Horowitz. Food is rationed, there is widespread bomb damage and poverty as the plot reverts to London. The mystery in this series, neatly tied together at end, involves a thermos flask and its contents, a radioactive isotope.

The biggest surprise is that Samantha, after previous false starts, is married, happily, to an aspiring politician Adam, trying for selection as a Labour MP in a south London constituency. The relationship between Sam and Adam (Daniel Weyman) is warm and attractive. Honeysuckle Weeks "certainly matured as an actor over the past 12 years, from an ingenue, she is textured, multi-layered," Horowitz says. "I said we must have a prefab, spam. I wanted snoek, a repulsive tinned fish, but that didn't appear until 1947".

A secondary story depicts a 14-year-old boy, supporting his mother with a job in a gay club. "One tip - he's a face to watch," Horowitz says of actor Sam Clemmett, playing the son of demobbed soldier Frank.

By the end ofthe first episode, Foyle is definitely part of MI5: we know because he gives a very slight indication of a smile to another Foyle's War regular, Ellie Haddington, now an MI5 puppet master. "Our answer to Judi Dench," chuckles Horowitz.

"Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle, Jill Green (the producer) and I met 18 months ago to discuss it, was it worth bringing it back? Have we outstayed our welcome? I presented Michael with pages of potential stories – all true stories. He looked at them, many more than the ones we have chosen. We could not do it without Michael or Honeysuckle".

Filmed in Dublin, serving as London, the new Foyle is funded through an international deal with America's PBS and commitments from a raft of networks including Australia's UKTV' owned by BBC Worldwide, and Denmark's DR.

Honeysuckle Weeks, dashing in boots, trousers and a casual Peruvian sweater says she's been won over by the character development. "I wanted to make sure it was more than a yes
sir, no sir role," she says. Sam's enthusiasm, her desire to be in the thick of things is retained, however.

She agrees that she had been typecast as a throwback to the 1940s, through her long association with Foyle's War's 22 episodes. "That's the danger... I decided to play that character with authenticity, it was a risk, the way she talks, flighty, a loose cannon." Weeks has played Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, in the Chichester Festival (2010), and Mrs Beeton in a BBC drama, Return to Charles Dickens. "Better to be typecast than not cast at all. We can't all be Daniel Day-Lewis", she says crisply.

A child actress, she had her first part at 12, went to Sylvia Young Theatre school at weekends, then Roedean, progressing to read English at Oxford while acting for the Oxford
University Drama club.

In the interregnum, she has married a hypnotherapist, and had a baby, now 18 months'old.

Michael Kitchen never does interviews, and has this written into his contract. So Weeks is a useful witness. "It is hard to get close to him, his mystery, still waters run deep. He is like that on set. It has taken me a decade to be invited to lunch with him. One doesn't become a friend of Michael's overnight. Now, we email each other all the time - he's almost like a second dad to me, it is all very real and heartfelt. He read at my wedding. He is a reserved person, he is keen to preserve his own identity, he tells me an actor has to be careful, you get known as a personality, fair enough, he has had levels of fame, he has had to be careful."

Meanwhile polymath Horowitz is involved in a Tintin sequel, has a new Alex Rider novel, Russian Roulette, coming out and doubtless, will be mustering stories in his ever fertile brain for series nine of Foyle's War.
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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby Wolesley » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:11 pm

Interesting article. A few spoilers, I think!
"...taken a decade to be invited to lunch..." Very reserved, indeed. :foyle4:

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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby Lynnedean » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:34 pm

Many thanks, Bellis - I tried but couldn't get my hands on a copy of the newspaper.

Well, we've suspected for some time that The Man had a "no interviews or involvement in other publicity" clause written into his contracts, and now we've had it confirmed. * :foyle4:

Little perisher!

But we still love 'im.

Just.

I'm now inclined to believe that the YT video was a reluctantly offered substitute for his again making no contribution to the extras on the FW DVDs, and that the sigh he gives as he sits down at the beginning is one of resignation.

~ Lynne

* ETA: That's if we can believe what we read - The Stage is a newspaper, after all, and how journalists may report someone's words will surely be one of the reasons Mr K avoids interviews!
Last edited by Lynnedean on Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby jewell » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:42 pm

Little perisher? :noidea:
"When they ask why, I'll go: well, it's the least, no, honestly, it's the very bloody least I could do!

"And not just decked him. No! Fried the devious, dirty bastard to a crisp in the luxury of his over-waxed car!"
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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby Lynnedean » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:53 pm

jewell wrote:Little perisher? :noidea:

Sorry, kidda ... "perisher" - colloquial term meaning pesky person. :D

~ Lynne
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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby Englishfan » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:55 am

Lynne...I want you to be right about the YT video.

I want that video to be his salute to his fans instead of an interview.

Oh, I hope you are right.

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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby RAYE » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:38 pm

Whilst it would be nice to know something about the real MK, I respect his need for privacy. I wish he did more TV work, but maybe his demands for privacy limits what he is offered. However, we know that we have something fab to look forward to in the coming weeks with the new series of Foyle. Can't wait!!

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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby Lynnedean » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:27 pm

I wasn't hoping he'd talk about himself, Raye - have long understood that he won't do that, and, without doubt, he's entitled to his privacy. A few words about FW would have been nice, though, and he could have done that without straying into any personal areas. He did it in one or two of the Greenlit press releases for the early episodes, so all I can think as to why he won't do similar on the DVDs is that he must not like to appear as himself on camera.

~ Lynne
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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby jewell » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:35 pm

Lynnedean wrote:Sorry, kidda ... "perisher" - colloquial term meaning pesky person. :D

~ Lynne

I had not heard that one before. Love me some Brit-isms!
:thankyou:
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"And not just decked him. No! Fried the devious, dirty bastard to a crisp in the luxury of his over-waxed car!"
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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby hazeleyes57 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:15 pm

jewell wrote:
Lynnedean wrote:Sorry, kidda ... "perisher" - colloquial term meaning pesky person. :D

~ Lynne

I had not heard that one before. Love me some Brit-isms!
:thankyou:
Jewell



The kind of person that has you thinking 'Perish the thought that I'll have to work with them!'.

I know quite a few of them :lol:
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Re: Article in The Stage

Postby amiga » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:07 pm

Seems he gets peskier and peskier. :sad:

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