Foyle’s War Series Eight, Episode 1 review ★★★★★

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Foyle’s War is the ghost that will not die, and thank goodness for it. Anthony Horowitz, its genius creator, has retooled and refitted it for the Cold War. As the aftermath of World War II puts Britain through a tough time, Foyle (Michael Kitchen, excellent as ever) helps the Security Services break a network of traitors.

Fans will be pleased to see the return of Foyle’s old driver Sam (played by the marvellous Honeysuckle Weeks). In fact, it’s suggested she is a communist and Foyle is drawn in by Mi5 in an effort to discover what she has got herself into.

Of course, Sam isn’t a member of the far-left. She is actually a Tory, though her husband is hoping to become a Labour MP (awkward). But, this being Foyle’s War, she and Foyle soon start fighting crime, Hastings-like. Though this time they are in London (filmed in Ireland….obviously).

Directed by Stuart Orme, who brought us the deliciously dark Cold Blood dramas starring Matthew Kelly, this opening film feels darker and tenser. The most impressive aspect for me, as well as Horowitz’s skilful writing, was the look of the episode. A new cinematographer, Gavin Struthers, has been brought in to film this series and he makes it look beautiful. The show used to be filmed on grainy 16mm stock (which has its place, don’t get me wrong) but now, shot on the Arri Alexa digital camera the show looks stunning in high definition. The colour tone has been brought right down to deep blacks and sombre blues and greys. It’s an atmospheric joy to behold.

Though Anthony Horowitz has announced his plans to stop writing the series, I do hope ITV don’t let it die. Foyle’s War has been fantastically resurrected. Long may it continue.

Foyle’s War currently airs on ITV HD and ITV on Sunday nights. Viewers can catch up on ITV Player.

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Second year BA Film & English Student. Watches too many films and enjoys good novels.

1 Comment

  1. avatar
    Sondra Milne Henderson on

    Dear Mr. Horowitz, I only hope that you read this comment, because it will be the first that I have ever written. The first two episodes of the new, 2013, series are simply magnificent, transcending anything I have seen on television in many decades. The sense of history, the skilled control of both the characters and the material, make this the finest drama series I have ever seen. I have heard you say that this is the last series; I hope not. Your knowledge of the political history – not only of the United Kingdom, but of the sweep of Europe from the 30’s onwards is so forceful that I believe even younger (teenage) viewers will be compelled to read and study the developments of the latter part of the 20th century. Without this compelling presentation – so bereft in contemporary educational formats – a whole generation of young people will not grasp what our parents, grandparents and ourselves lived through. Your gift is rare, Mr. Horowitz: through your writing skills the past becomes the present. And indeed, it must if society is to develop and grow with a sense of principle and honour. Do not, please, forsake Mr. Foyle. There are few Mr. Foyles in the 21st century, as the personal becomes the formulaic, to the detriment of the future. I wonder if you knew when you began this series what a contribution it would make to all of us. It is something to pass on to our children and you are far from done, I believe. With enormous respect and admiration, Sondra Milne Henderson

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