Michael Kitchen and Iain Blair in The Brontës of Haworth
Michael Kitchen and Iain Blair in The Brontës of Haworth
On this day 16 years ago Foyle’s War premiered.
Journalist Ian Wylie wrote at the time:
You were supposed to see it exactly a year ago – but TV bosses were so impressed with the pilot episode, they decided to make some more.
Foyle’s War is a new drama series starring Michael Kitchen as a wartime detective fighting his own battle against murder, mystery and betrayal.
It’s the result of ITV1’s search for new detective ideas. More than 200 were submitted, but only three made it as far as having pilot episodes filmed.
Executives liked Foyle’s War so much that they cancelled the scheduled screening of the pilot last October and ordered three more two-hour films, set in Hastings and on the south coast.
That pilot – The German Woman – will finally be screened on Sunday amid hopes that Foyle can become as big a hit as Morse and Frost. Having taken his leave of Manchester’s A&E, Michael thinks this new TV detective has great potential.
“I was attached to quite a few projects when Foyle first came to me in its early drafts as The War Detective. Even then, it was very high quality, always going to be a strong contender and no great surprise when it was green lit.”
“I was attached to quite a few projects…” — Sigh. Those were the days, when MK was an “attached” actor.
Finally learned where this photo was taken. Seems Michael Kitchen was among the audience at Harold Pinter: A Celebration, a star-studded tribute held at the National’s Olivier Theatre on
June 7, 2009 for the then recently deceased Nobel Prize winning dramatist. MK went dressed as John Farrow complete with a yacht club tan. Attending the event must have brought back some incredible memories for him:
To think MK’s now almost the same age John Gielgud was when Pinter’s
No Man’s Land premiered, and 40 years after sharing the stage with the acting legend, he is at the end of his career rather than the beginning. Sadly, time creeps up on us all.
(A photo of MK attending the 2000 South Bank Show awards can also be seen on the Redux image site.)
Photos of Michael Kitchen as Lenny, “the violent East End pimp“, from the program of the 1978 West End revival of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming. Gemma Jones, who played Ruth, had recently achieved TV stardom for her brilliant turn as Louisa Trotter in The Duchess of Duke Street, one of my favorite TV series. “The less you know about actors, the better — that’s half the game,” said Jones in an interview with the NY Times. Her fellow RADA alum and costar in
The Homecoming would no doubt agree. Would have loved to see them act together — and share a memorable kiss on stage. (I see Charles Kay was also in the production. Recently watched him play a sadistic headmaster in another BBC classic, To Serve Them All My Days.)
Missed this interview with Anthony Horowitz when it was published in The Sunday Times on March 24, 2013, the day Foyle’s War S8 premiered. At the time, AH believed S8 would be the finale of FW:
Will I ever kill Foyle off? No. But I don’t think I’ll write any more either. It’s quite likely that I’ve written my last episode of Foyle’s War.
Of Michael Kitchen, he had this to say:
“…and Michael [Kitchen, the actor who plays Foyle] has been happier more than I can ever remember.”
“He has taken over the part. He now questions every line: he is quite demanding in what he will not say; he is always challenging. This is good for me. It makes for an interesting collaboration.”
“We discuss things all the time. We have a read-through; he will phone me while they’re shooting; I get notes from him; he will worry about certain lines. The very last line of the whole series — he wrote [it] at the very last minute.”
Wish we could have seen more of that off-screen happiness, as there certainly wasn’t much for Foyle to be happy about in S8.
I wonder what John did to merit a handwritten note from Michael Kitchen! Now listed on eBay. I didn’t know writing was a hobby of his, unless it refers to writing music.
From Sir John Gielgud: A Life in Letters a note from the actor written during the U.S. tour of No Man’s Land in 1976:
The Pinter play is a huge success, thank God, and we have packed houses and a throng of people coming round after every performance. So I feel we are very lucky indeed, though the previous month in Washington was rather a bind, too big a theatre and a sticky lot to play to.
I once saw a musical at the Kennedy Center and agree with JG that the venue is way too big for musicals and plays. I imagine for much of the audience in the theater, it would have been hard to clearly see and hear the cast of No Man’s Land. Reading about the mad stampede last month for tickets to the upcoming run of Hamilton in D.C., I wonder how many of those who managed to get a ticket will be similarly disappointed by their experience at the KC this summer.
Autographed photo and letter from Michael Kitchen along with script for Reckless.
From the eBay listing:
…they are all from the same source – a gentlemen who bought them at a charity auction – I have the covering letter from the school for autism that held the charity auction after they sourced the original autograph. The date was 1998.
Newly listed on eBay, the program for the National Theatre’s production of No Man’s Land at the Lyttelton Theatre which ran from January 20 – February 24, 1977 with Michael Kitchen in the cast.
As in a theatre, the eyes of men,
After a well-graced actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious;
– Richard II
Perhaps the case for some supporting actors but not for Michael Kitchen, who would have beguiled even if both Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud had left the stage.
Newly listed on eBay, a press photo of Michael Kitchen as Michael Faraday in Faraday’s Dream.
(Why was MK’s mirror image used on the DVD cover?)
Gorgeous Alibi production stills on Acorn Media’s pre-order page for the DVD.
The DVD runtime is 2.5 hours, so it seems Acorn’s release is the uncut version! It’s also in widescreen and hopefully remastered with better picture quality. Preview here.
From the New York Times, Nov. 13, 2017:
The infallible drama fodder of betrayal, love and murder gives this mini-series its edge.
If only a new Michael Kitchen project were being featured in the current NYTimes rather than a film that’s 14 years old. Sigh.
Press photos of Michael Kitchen as Dick Foster, who joins a biker gang in Hell’s Angel (1971), one of the episodes in the first series of BBC’s Play for Today.
Excerpted from a review by Leonard Buckley for the Times, Jan. 22, 1971:
So if your adopted son takes to a motor cycle as Dick did, and becomes a Hell’s Angel you will think him a cuckoo in the nest. Though with his anti-glare glasses and his rearing handlebars he looks more like a praying mantis. And if you are the rich widow, Cynthia, doting on your real son, Conrad, you will find him an absolute menace.
But these are arbitrary attitudes. You, your politician friend, Sir Geoffrey, and the others of your generation are all intent on your own selfish conventions. Dick needs love. You are lonely. Conrad is delinquent. But nobody really communicates. And when the Hell’s Angel and his companions beat up your stately home during the dinner party from which you have excluded him, you tell your guests that it is the gardener’s son.
This was an engrossing bitch of a play in which Mr. Agnew exposed the generation gap, the social divisions of our times and much that was disquieting besides. Katharine Blake as Cynthia, Richard Morant as Conrad, Michael Kitchen as Dick and André Morell as Sir Geoffrey sustained the unlikeable characters they were given to complete conviction and Angharad Rees as the one honest girl among the hypocrites provided the right sounding-board for our conscience.
The same generation gap and social divisions that can be seen in Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Vietnam.