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4.6 out of 5 stars124
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on 14 August 2010
In an age where television shows have reached a new low in unwatchable, 'Foyle's War' is one of two fabulous detective series ('New Tricks' is the other) to come out of Britain in recent years. I've been a 'Foyle's War' fan since the first season aired back in 2003, I think it was, and have awaited each new season gluttonously. Set in WWII Britain, the series isn't about the war itself but about a detective solving crime in wartime, and deals with moral ethics as much as crime itself. There's an utter realism and feel about the complete series and the entire cast is outstanding.

What can one say about Michael Kitchen and the exquisitely understated way he plays Detective Christopher Foyle? I was trying for a way to put it, then I read what one reviewer said: 'I'm constantly amazed by Michael Kitchen's ability to be intense and agonised but still seem laid back to the point of being almost comatose at times.' Well, I wouldn't quite call Kitchen's quiet integrity of his portrayal of Foyle comatose, but I know what the viewer meant. Kitchen is a rivetingly subtle performer, and as the seasons moved on it was a joy to watch the development of Foyle's character in his hands.

In season seven (aired 2010), the war is over. Fans of the show who've come to expect to see Foyle and his two sidekicks (played sublimely by Honeysuckle Weeks and Anthony Howell) pulling together, might be disappointed to find the team is no longer a team. While there's a lot to miss in the trio being broken up, the characters moving on seemed natural. I dislike the sense of people standing still while time moves on, so I felt the development worked. My only regret about the series is that there were only three or four episodes per season. Made one feel almost cheated. You won't find better television drama anywhere.
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on 9 November 2010
Every other year one comes across a series which is really outstanding. Such is the case with "Foyle's War". The acting is sublime, the stories are so well written and so close to whatever makes a human being tick, that it is breathtaking. For me, who lives in Austria, born a long time after the war, it was very interesting and fascinating to watch this series from the English point of view. My father, who was born in 1926 had to join the war at the age of 17 and his stories are so sad. All over the world not only lives were taken, but futures, childhoods and decent behaviour. I highly recommend this series for everyone who has the slightest interest in history. Michael Kitchen's acting is so wonderful, he really is the voice of reason in the midst of all this madness called war. I wish it would continue, I feel that not all stories have been told.
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on 22 December 2010
Foyles War is a fantastic newly created fictional detective series witten around the life of Police Detective Inspector Foyle who lived and worked during World War 2. When you see modern detective stories and how they all use forensics to find the killer you appreciate the efforts of the Police in former times, who didnt have such marvels. It is rather exciting to watch. When now a days they would use DNA and computer based finger print files that quickly produce the name and address, and known associates of the criminal to solve the murders, Dectective Inspector Foyle and his side kicks have only a keen mind, an excellent memory, and a nose for routing out the truth. Foyle has two side kicks, a civilian lady driver, Sam, from the MTV, who just loves getting involved in things she is not supposed to, and a Detective Sergeant, who having been invalided out of the war after losing his leg, has some clever investigatory skills in the paper files. The writer has obviously done some good research and has based his stories around historical facts from the war like the secret spy training service, fatal enemy bombing raids on houses, ration coupons and the nasty black market trade in food, and so on. Watching them go into raptures over an enormous onion, the prize in a raffle, was quite amusing. But for myself, who was born after the war, and was raised without the war shortages in food, clothing and even petrol, it was an interesting series to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The series was well acted, and well directed. I recommend them to anyone who likes a period drama or a who-dunit story.
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on 24 April 2013
22 episodes, 35hrs of well written, well acted detective drama set in the second world war in and around Hastings on the south coast of Britain. The episodes each stand alone with three consistent main characters: Michael Kitchen as Inspector Foyle, Anthony Howell as his sergeant and Honeysuckle Weeks as his driver. Many other excellent actors appear in different episodes, such as Charles Dance, Edward and Laurence Fox, Rosamund Pike, Nicholas Farrell, Corinne Redgrave... Anthony Horowiitz is the writer, as good as ever. The music is never intrusive, the settings and period dress and environment believable.
Each episode has several interleaved threads but the main one is usually something that was - and sometimes still is - a real issue: the leaking of germ warfare experimental bugs into the environment and the subsequent coverup; the treatment of residents who originally came from other countries and were suddenly seen as enemy aliens; scientists seen as essential that the authorities wanted excused from arrest for murder; - each story could be from the newspapers of the time or from documents released after fifty years.
Although there are murders and gruesome happenings, they are never ghoulishly dwelt on as in many modern dramas, and the feeling you are left with is one of satisfaction. The good do not always win but the quiet, restrained attitude of Foyle whose eyes see deep into the motives and who, when he gently bites his lip, you know has seen the truth of the matter, reminds us of the wholesomeness of those virtues which keep the world from sinking into the amoral abyss.
A delight I shall return to again and again.
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on 30 November 2011
For those who saw this incredible series when it was first telivised or those new to the sheer brilliance of Michael Kitchens acting, Foyles War is without doubt one of the most accomplished period dramas to appear on British television in many years.

One has to look back to the likes of Inspector Morse to find a drama of equal merit and even then the storylines of Inspector Morse were not always magnificent.

It was the entire series of Inspector Morse with great acting by both John Thaw and Kevin Whately that made it such a huge success but unlike Foyles War not every episode of Morse was a stand alone classic.

I am sure you are familiar with the 1940s recreation which received assistance from the Imperial War museum with a realism and script so relevant to England under the threat of invasion.

The attention to detail is so precise that one could forgive the acting if it was second rate but in this instance the acting is amongst the finest you are likely to see.

The picture transfer to disc is superb with fine detail, almost to BluRay standard, this is indeed a very successful transfer to disc of what is now a fairly old production and the sound and dialogue just as fine with no interference.

One almost feels that a special effort has been made by Freemantle Productions in producing a boxset of such high quality simply because Foyles War was such a beautiful creation.

Also included are a few breif documentaries on the background to certain episodes but no subtitles which is a shame because those with poor hearing are denied the opportunity to enjoy this great series.

I just cannot make my mind up which series reigns supreme, Morse or Foyle.

On watching the episode "The White Feather" the script and storyline was remarkable with Charles Dance puting in a great performance as Fascist sympathiser and speaker but the handling of the Dunkirk rescue was very moving and powerfull and all brilliantly written and acted.

Every episode of Foyle is handled magnificently with a script that is particularly relevant to the period.

For storyline and acting i think Michael Kitchen as Foyle just beats Inspector Morse into second place but it's a photo finish.

This is one boxset that due to it's popularity still commands a high purchase price but it's a price worth paying.

For those who may have seen one or two episodes repeated on television this is a boxset worth buying.

Each episode tries to out do the other in script and visual experience and is usually successful in doing so but the recreation of 1940s England with the constant threat of Nazi invasion is dealt with most convincingly.

The series finishes with probably the finest episode ive seen of either Morse or Foyle titled "The Hide".

Every Foyle episode is superb but the storyline and script of that particular episode stood out as something very special indeed.

For those who thought Inspector Morse still reignes supreme as televisions finest hour think again.

Foyles War is almost without equal and will go down in the annals of television history as possibly the finest period drama shown on British television.
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on 11 June 2013
Almost certainly the best thriller / police series I have ever seen. The playwright is a skilled and sensitive writer. Each episode is engaging and draws the viewer into a whole range of feelings, from curiosity, confusion through thrills, anger, wickedness, passion, fear and shock to the final resolution. It is gripping and compulsive. Clever, often witty and engaging, the lines reveal and hide enough the plot in the mouths of the many types of well drawn many leveled characters.

The characters have depth and are often complex which is steadily revealed. Above all the Foyle character especially played by Michael Kitchen is absolutely compulsive viewing. A deft expression touches his face and all appears to be sensed and yet not quite know of him. He deals with shocks and danger, with horror and all with bravery.

His mind is always clear and questioning, he is as hard as those whom he is chasing, or whom he must uncover.

Thrilling, Absorbing. Total entertainment.
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on 4 November 2010
The set contains 22 DVD each of 90+ minutes playing time. The packaging is a little clunky but for fans of the broadcast series this is a must. The prospect of watching 90 minutes of excellent acting in wonderfully period settings and all without commercial breaks should be mouth-watering. This set of DVDs delivers this along with extra info on how the programme was made. Highly recommended.
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"Foyle's War" is a British police television drama which is set during and after the Second World War. Early episodes take place in Hastings in the south of England - famous as the site of the Norman Conquest in 1066 - but sometimes other locations are used, for instance London.

The main character is Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen). During the war his official title is Detective Chief Superintendent. But when he presents himself, he usually just says: "My name is Foyle. I'm a police officer." He is a modest man. At the end of the war he retires, but he is still involved with some investigations.

Samantha "Sam" Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) serves as his driver during the war. When Foyle retires, she tries to find a new job and a new life. Paul Milner (Anthony Howell) serves as a Detective Sergeant under Foyle during the war. After the war he is promoted to Detective Inspector in Brighton.

"Foyle's War" was first broadcast on television in 2002, and it is still running. A new season is scheduled to be broadcast in 2015. When a season has been broadcast on television, it becomes available on DVD.

"Foyle's War" is an outstanding drama, for three reasons: (1) it is entertaining; (2) there is a challenge: can you figure out who is guilty and who is innocent before the truth is revealed? (3) It is educational, because it shows the basic facts of life in England during and after the Second World War.

Most episodes begin with several story lines. At first the viewer does not know how they are connected with each other. Eventually one of the story lines, perhaps even two, will lead to a crime, or two crimes, which Foyle and his team will have to investigate.

The crimes committed are often based on or inspired by real historical events. Historical accuracy is an important element of the project, although there are a few cases, where historical accuracy has been violated. To give just one example: in the episode titled "Bad Blood," set in 1942, streptomycin is used to cure a patient, but this drug was not developed until 1943.

I noticed an internal inconsistency regarding Foyle's family: Foyle is a widower. In one episode he visits the cemetery where his wife is buried. According to the tombstone she was born in 1902 and died in 1932. So far so good. Foyle has a son whose name is Andrew (Julian Ovenden). In one episode Andrew says he was eight years old when his mother died. If this is true, he was born in 1924. But this cannot be true, because it does not fit the general story line:

In 1940, when the story line begins, he is ca. 20 years old. He has finished school; when the war began in 1939, he was studying at a university. He has joined up and is in training to become a pilot. In other words: he was born in 1920, and when his mother died in 1932, he was 12. If he was born in 1924, he would be only 16 in 1940; too young to study at a university and too young to join the war effort as a pilot.

"Foyle's War" is created by screenwriter Anthony Horowitz who is also the author or the co-author of most episodes. All episodes are well written and all actors play their roles very well. Each episode is a self-contained story which runs for more than 90 minutes, but at the same time there is long-term development, from one season to the next, from the beginning of the war to the end of it, and beyond.

War brings out the best and the worst in people. On the home front, war creates new crimes, such as stealing food and petrol, known as racketeering. During the war many government institutions are shrouded in secrecy. Many people are not allowed to talk to outsiders about their jobs. Some of them may use the high level of secrecy to commit a crime or to protect a person who has committed a crime because he or she is considered essential for the war effort.

When Foyle tries to investigate crimes committed on the home front, he is often rebuffed by people in high places. But he does not back down. The more someone tries to keep him out, the more he will try to find out what goes on behind closed doors. His argument is something like this:

"Victims of theft and murder deserve justice, even though we are in the middle of a war. If crimes like theft and murder are allowed to take place, we are no better than the enemy."

The end of the war in 1945 does not mean the end of crime; only new types of crimes. There is still work to do for Foyle.

Each episode raises questions about legality and morality. What does the law say? And what is the right thing to do?

One reason for the high quality of this drama is the British understatement, as opposed to a typical US action drama, where there can be shooting and fighting all the time. In most cases, "Foyle's War" is not hectic. The pace is slow, but still intense. Since each episode runs for more than 90 minutes, there is time for reflection and time for a moment when no one says anything. Foyle does not talk much, but he listens carefully to other people and he observes every detail around him. When he talks, his lines are usually short and clear. He is a person of authority, not because he can beat somebody up, but because of his honesty, integrity, and his sharp mind.

While the war and the crimes are serious, there is also room for a bit of humour from time to time. The funny situations are often created by or connected with Sam, whose character is quite different from that of Foyle. The two characters complement each other very well.

Series 1-6 (broadcast 2002-2010 and released on DVD in 2010) comprises 22 episodes which are set in the years 1940-1945:

*** SERIES 1
The German Woman // The White Feather // A Lesson in Murder // Eagle Day

*** SERIES 2
Fifty Ships // Among the Few // War Games // The Funk Hole

*** SERIES 3
The French Drop // Enemy Fire // They Fought in the Fields // A War of Nerves

*** SERIES 4 part 1
Invasion // Bad Blood //

*** SERIES 4 part 2
Bleak Midwinter // Casualties of War

*** SERIES 5
Plan of Attack // Broken Souls // All Clear

*** SERIES 6
The Russian House // Killing Time // The Hide

I do not wish to spoil the viewing for anyone. Therefore I am not going to reveal any details about these episodes. All I will say is sit back and enjoy the show. But please be careful: you may easily become addicted!

PS # 1. Anthony Horowitz - the creator of "Foyle's War" - has also written a book about the famous detective Sherlock Holmes: The House of Silk (2011, 2012)

PS # 2. For background information about the drama, see The Real History Behind Foyle's War by Rod Green (first edition 2006, second edition 2010).
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on 27 May 2012
Just a note of caution, if like me you have hearing problems and rely on subtitles, this box set DOESNT have them !! Its my own silly fault, I assumed it would and am bitterly dissapointed after having spent so much.
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on 30 May 2013
I don't know how we missed Foyle's War when it was transmitted on air. Possibly because it's on ITV and I despair at the adverts. Now of course we record everything and watch at our convenience. We did however catch the last series recently broadcast. It so whetted our appetite that we even found out how to use the ITV player!

I can only say that it is excellent. The story lines are engrossing and make us aware of the social situations that arose because of the war. Mr Kitchen is outstanding as are his two assistants. The female clothes reflect the era. Pretty and very feminine.

I have only ever bought about 6 DVD's so to buy the full set of Foyle's shows how good I thought it may be. It is better than that. I expected it to last us a few months but we're sitting down three or four times a week in the afternoon and indulging ourselves in the fascinating stories.

If you're thinking of buying, go ahead. It's simply brilliant.
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