Circles, π, Fifty Ships, and Michael Kitchen — boundless in their beauty and perfection.

Foyle's War: Fifty Ships: Michael Kitchen holding synchromesh gear

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Mesmerizing Michael Kitchen: love at first sight

Mr. Kitchen is possibly the eighth wonder of the world. Never flashy … but nevertheless the center of every frame in which he appears.hikari

From John Powers’s review of Foyle’s War on NPR:

What makes the whole thing irresistible is Michael Kitchen’s enthralling performance as Foyle, who, in his reticence, sly humor and triumphant decency, is our fantasy of the ideal Englishman.

****

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Foyle's War: The Funk Hole: Michael Kitchen mouth shrug

Foyle, the master of brevity, knows when he’s said enough to bring the guilty party to his knees.

And Michael Kitchen knows how to use his incomparable mouth shrug and eyes to maximum effect.

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Michael Kitchen: Frian Pern: John Farrow closeup 1
Michael Kitchen: Frian Pern: John Farrow closeup 2

More John Farrow in 2017?

Hopefully, more adorable outtakes, too.

Michael Kitchen giggling 1: Brian Pern outtake
Michael Kitchen giggling 2: Brian Pern outtake
Michael Kitchen giggling 3: Brian Pern outtake

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Michael Kitchen: White Heat: easy on the eyes

Casually easy on the eyes.

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fall

Foyle and the colors of fall.

Foyle's War: The German Woman: Michael Kitchen: fall colors 1
Foyle's War: The German Woman: Michael Kitchen: fall colors 2

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Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: final scene 1
Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: final scene 3


Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: final scene 7
Foyle's War: Elise: Michael Kitchen: final scene 8

Goodbye, Mr. Foyle.


KT said:

John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” but, I’d argue, that Foyle comes as close to proving him wrong as any fictional character and MK played that perfectly.

This is inspired. Thank you for sharing, KT. In light of your comment, I particularly got a kick out of this New Yorker cartoon. →

Mary McNamara of the LA Times makes “a case for an Emmy (or more) for Foyle’s War:

Created and written almost entirely by bestselling novelist Anthony Horowitz, “Foyle’s War” is the Mona Lisa of television: small, quiet, utterly hypnotic and mysteriously perfect.

A small and often silent man, as kind as he is morally rigorous, Foyle stands guard over basic humanity as the whirlwind of war and modernity threatens to uproot the good with the bad. Year after year, he has been brought to vivid vibrant life by Kitchen, an actor of rare and controlled brilliance. Each season, he gave the performance of a hundred lifetimes while appearing to do little more than shrug off his coat, bite his lip and refuse endless offers of tea.

…the final episode of the series, “Elise,” is what the American-based Acorn TV, which has co-produced the series since its return, will submit in all the relevant television movie categories — some of which it better win, despite the low-key nature of its radiance and, perhaps more significant, the famous long-standing refusal of its leading man to do any publicity.

Neither should matter at all if the awards are truly about excellence.

Kivrin has written a lovely Foyle vignette that picks up after this final scene.

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Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen as Berkeley Cole 1
Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen as Berkeley Cole 2

Michael Kitchen is all sun-kissed gorgeousness and gentlemanly charm as Berkeley Cole in Out of Africa.

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Michael Kitchen makes even the most mundane dialogue interesting to watch.

Foyle's War: They Fought in the Fields: Michael Kitchen: asking to use the phone 1Foyle's War: They Fought in the Fields: Michael Kitchen: asking to use the phone 2

A Times critic put it another way (Nov. 29, 2003):

“…Michael Kitchen — an actor capable of making even the most banal dialogue sound as if Chekhov had written it.”

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Michael Kitchen: Dalziel and Pascoe: Bones and Silence

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Foyle's War: The White Feather: Michael Kitchen: That's not quite what I asked...

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Michael Kitchen: Reckless: Richard Crane

Beautiful Michael Kitchen/Richard Crane.

anonymous said:

Thank you KF, you always make my day! Perhaps Reckless should have been titled Breathless? At least that’s how MK playing Richard Crane leaves me feeling. ;- )

Seems we do a good job of making each other’s day.  Completely agree about that feeling of breathlessness MK brings on whenever he appears in Reckless.  🙂


Nope, I wouldn’t either, Richard.

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michael kitchen foyle's war a lesson in murder closeup

Another one of the gorgeous closeup shots of Michael Kitchen from A Lesson in Murder. ****

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Caught on a Train: Michael Kitchen closeup pivot composite

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Freud: Michael Kitchen: picking up tab 1Freud: Michael Kitchen: picking up tab 2
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Freud reminisces about happier times when von Fleischl generously picked up the tab and took him under his wing.  Even a big, bushy beard can’t hide the adorableness of Michael Kitchen’s smile that’s replicated the following year in Out of Africa.

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Foyle's War: The Eternity Ring: Michael Kitchen smiling lights up room

Christopher Foyle/Michael Kitchen smiles, and the room lights up…

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Having an actor as gifted and exacting as Michael Kitchen interpret one’s work is undoubtedly a huge boon to writers, but it’s not without its challenges as Anthony Horowitz has described in interviews:

Michael is as responsible as I am for the character of Foyle. Michael Kitchen has always been one of our most revered actors here in Britain. He had never done a long-running television series until Foyle’s War. The only reason he took it on, I think, was because I was able to persuade him that it wouldn’t just be a case of him getting a thud of an envelope through a door every two weeks with a new script; he would be very much part of the creative process. That is what we have done for nearly ten years. It’s not always been easy. Michael is very demanding. One of the funny things about him is that he’s the only actor I know who demands fewer lines. He’ll look at a speech and say to me, “Actually I can do all of that — five lines — with one look.” And the annoying thing is, he’s always right; he can — which means I have to write more dialogue for the other actors to fill out the episode. – PBS Q&A for Series 7

Curiously, he had never taken the lead in a long series. In part, this may have been down to his reputation for being ‘difficult’. …Was he difficult? He was certainly demanding – utterly focused on the character with a rigid determination to ensure that the integrity and the quality of the drama would never be compromised. Sometimes, he would cut or rewrite a scene hours before it was due to be filmed, and I won’t pretend that this wasn’t frustrating. But for him the performance was everything, and the result is there on the screen. I have no doubt at all that a huge part of the success of the show was down to Michael. – Daily Mail (Jan. 5, 2008)

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The Last Contract: Michael Kitchen: cold professionalism

In The Last Contract Michael Kitchen excels in exuding the ice-cold professionalism of a high-end hired assassin.

Hard to believe this is the same man behind the scenes!

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Losing myself in the wonders of Blu-Ray.

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Foyle's War: A Lesson in Murder: Michael Kitchen: Michael Simkins: golf with Hugh 1Foyle's War: A Lesson in Murder: Michael Kitchen: Michael Simkins: golf with Hugh 2
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Foyle's War: A Lesson in Murder: Michael Kitchen: playing golf

Foyle’s also a bad golfer. I think it’s a wonderful game but it’s very time consuming. My eldest and I play once a year and we’ve never had enough balls to get round!

– Michael Kitchen, “Who is Christopher Foyle”, Masterpiece Mystery

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Stress reliever:

Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Michael Kitchen: Naomi Frederick: Anne visits Foyle 1Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Michael Kitchen: Naomi Frederick: Anne visits Foyle 2
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From an interview with Naomi Frederick published in Performing Women: Stand-Ups, Strumpets and Itinerants:

The last television role, where I played a Wren, was in one of the Foyle’s War episodes. The writing in that series is strong and there’s also a lovely historical element, which gives it immediately another layer of interest. I enjoyed the writing in that, which made the role worthwhile.

This scene alone would have made the role worthwhile for me.

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Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Roger Allam: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam is pinched 1Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Roger Allam: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam is pinched 2
Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam is pinched 1Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam is pinched 2
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Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam is pinched 5Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Sam is pinched 6

Too bad Roger Allam and Michael Kitchen didn’t have any scenes together in Eagle Day.

My favorite lines from The Guardian‘s Q&A with Allam:

Which living person do you most despise, and why?
Donald Trump for lying and introducing such potentially dangerous chaos to the world.

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Foyle's War: Broken Souls: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Anthony Howell: Jay Simpson: donation to refugees 1Foyle's War: Broken Souls: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Anthony Howell: Jay Simpson: donation to refugees 2
Foyle's War: Broken Souls: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Anthony Howell: Jay Simpson: donation to refugees 3Foyle's War: Broken Souls: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Anthony Howell: Jay Simpson: donation to refugees 4
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“A donation, perhaps? One of the refugee funds?”

“Yes, sir. Good idea.”

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Enchanted April: Michael Kitchen: picnic scene 1Enchanted April: Michael Kitchen: picnic scene 2
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George Briggs’s story of the oleander tree on International Picnic Day.

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Foyle's War: A Lesson in Murder: Michael Kitchen: Ian Puleston-Davies: Operation Pied Piper 1
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A harrowing separation that no parent or child should have to suffer, but at least one could argue that Operation Pied Piper was carried out with the intent of protecting the welfare of children during a desperate time of war. No such argument can be made about the current Trump administration border policy.

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Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Michael Kitchen: Julian Ovenden: Andrew wakes Foyle 1Foyle's War: Eagle Day: Michael Kitchen: Julian Ovenden: Andrew wakes Foyle 2
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Andrew’s unexpected early morning arrival brings Foyle downstairs to the kitchen in his pajamas.

“Hello, Dad.”

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Foyle's War: Killing Time: Michael Kitchen: Let's hope so.

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Glad to know Michael Kitchen is enjoying this Spring bank holiday weekend in Poole Harbour – doing some sailing presumably in addition to browsing books. Wish I were there in the beautiful weather taking in the magnificent sights.
The market day donation to Bowel Cancer UK was made in honor of powerboat racer and sailing enthusiast, Robin Culpan. Michael Kitchen attended Culpan’s memorial on January 11 and opened the service with a reading of John Masefield’s
Sea Fever“.

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Caught on a Train: Michael Kitchen: Peggy Ashcroft: Frankfurt stop 1Caught on a Train: Michael Kitchen: Peggy Ashcroft: Frankfurt stop 2
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Having failed to receive service in their train’s dining car, Frau Messner and Peter go in search of a meal in Frankfurt.

Since mine own doors refuse to entertain me,
I’ll knock elsewhere, to see if they’ll disdain me.
The Comedy of Errors

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Published last month in Old Wyves’ Tales are excerpts from the memoirs of Chris Lowe, the head of English at City of Leicester Boys Grammar School while Michael Kitchen was in attendance:

I suppose my most famous pupil was Michael Kitchen, who became a star of the Royal Shakespeare Company in the seventies and eventually starred in the TV series Foyle’s War. He was a marvellous actor even at school, and a natural for RADA where he went at eighteen. His style was, and is, to play himself then subtly transmogify [sic] that into the character he was playing. It is very understated, but brilliantly done. One day Mary (Presumably Mrs Lowe?) and I took the fourteen-year-old Michael to the RSC costume department in Stratford On Avon to choose a pile of Shakespearean costumes for the school play. I don’t suppose it had any dramatic effect on him, but it did to us! We have followed Michael’s career with great interest and he was kind enough to meet your daddy, Simon, backstage at the National Theatre when he was but a slip of a teenager.

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Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Emily Blunt: busy bees 1Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: Emily Blunt: busy bees 2
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Full merrily the humble-bee doth sing,
Till he hath lost his honey and his sting;
And being once subdued in armed tail,
Sweet honey and sweet notes together fail.
Troilus and Cressida

In her first credited role, Emily Blunt got to act opposite Michael Kitchen and wear a nifty beekeeper’s outfit. Amazing that the real experts in beekeeping require little in the way of protective wear, even when dealing with a swarm of 40,000 bees.

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May the royal newlyweds enjoy a marriage as long and happy as William and Philippa’s.

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Love Song: Michael Kitchen: biking to work 1Love Song: Michael Kitchen: biking to work 1

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Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: reacting to judge's verdict

At the alarming rate that far-right judges are being appointed to lower-court benches, it won’t be long before we lose a vital bastion against Trumpism.

From The New Yorker:

McConnell didn’t just protect a Supreme Court seat for the next President; he basically shut down the entire confirmation process for all of Obama’s federal-judgeship nominees for more than a year. It’s the vacancies that accumulated during this time — more than a hundred of them — that Trump’s team is now working efficiently to fill.

Fuming after reading about the latest developments. The two parties are not the same!

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The Browning Version: Michael Kitchen: teacher appreciation 1
The Browning Version: Michael Kitchen: teacher appreciation 2

Why didn’t any of my teachers look (and talk) like Michael Kitchen in The Browning Version?

It’s a lovely thought, but I’m sure I’d have been so mesmerised by all that charm that I wouldn’t have learned a thing. Wouldn’t have minded being Teacher’s pet, though. – anonymous

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Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen closeup
Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen sidelong glance

…the devil hath power. To assume a pleasing shape. – Hamlet

A devil incarnate, in the form of an angel. Those eyes! And bless that hair. Let’s face it we all had rubbish hair in the 70’s (well if you had been born then of course). It was a pre-requisite of the times.  – steviecat123

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Once a place of opportunity where men like Sir Helmsley’s son, Guy, could fulfill their dreams, Cape Town today faces a future threatened by looming water shortages. Dreams have been turning into nightmares for residents, Rosa Lyster writes in her recent New Yorker essay, “Coming to Terms with a Life without Water“, and she goes on to lament that words like “agualation” have entered our vocabulary as the effects of climate change become increasingly evident.

My troublous dreams this night doth make me sad.
King Lear

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Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen: Martin says a prayer 1Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen: Martin says a prayer 2
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A shocking scene in its day, but how much more revolting to see a real-life lecher “leading a prayer” in the Oval Office today.

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