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 as 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.)
Just finished listening to Michael Kitchen’s outstanding narration of Shylock Is My Name. Now referring back to the source material for Howard Jacobson’s novel by viewing Shakespeare Uncovered and Trevor Nunn’s National Theatre production of The Merchant of Venice with future Foyle’s War guest stars, Henry Goodman, in an Olivier Award winning performance as Shylock, and Mark Umbers as Solanio. (Since we were denied the scenes showing Foyle catching up with Howard Paige, watching the destruction of Goodman’s Shylock could be the next best thing, although unlike Shylock, Paige wouldn’t be deserving of any sympathy.)
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.)
Michael Kitchen’s impossibly adorable peekaboo smile – helping me get through this impossibly awful day.
The Art of Success, which the RSC premiered with Michael Kitchen in 1986, is currently playing in London again as part of Hogarth’s Progress. An excellent piece by Nick Dear on the inspiration for his two plays appeared in The Times. No fewer than four of the double-bill’s cast members have acted opposite MK on TV. And press night was attended by two of MK’s costars in the original production, Niamh Cusack and Penny Downie. Wish MK were there in the photo with them! Of the revival, the critic for The Stage writes:
Dear draws a vivid world of brothels and venereal diseases, murder and the crossover of high and low societies. But it doesn’t really go anywhere. There’s not a huge sense of who Hogarth is, except that he’s really horny and trying to hide it from his wife.
Good enough for me as I listen to Michael Kitchen’s hysterically funny performance as William Hogarth, who in Dear’s script has a mouth even filthier than John Farrow and Stanhope Feast: “Fuckin’ do, mate! Fuckin’ make me feel a fuckin’ lot better!”
The inspiration for him really came from the spotlights and searchlights from the war. I always thought Foyle was a seeker after truth – somebody who was effectively someone very decent and civilized and genteel. And so the character was always going to be very grounded. – Anthony Horowitz
In the same interview at the Marrakech Biennale in February 2012 AH also talks of Michael Kitchen’s reluctance to ask questions like a typical TV detective (a major collaborative effort according to MK), and he mentions a couple of interesting factoids that I hadn’t known:
- He very much regretted having Foyle admit he could drive at the end of All Clear because when it came to rebooting the show, it was difficult to find something else for Sam to do.
- With his physics degree from Oxford, Andrew was to have a role in the first episode of FW S8 involving atomic spying in London.
How much better The Eternity Ring would have been with Andrew in it, but unfortunately, Julian Ovenden presumably chose Smash over Foyle’s War.
Looks like there will be little to celebrate in the news this week, so I’ll settle for Customer Service Week. I recently learned that John Cleese, who as Basil Fawlty was the paradigm of bad customer service, is actually somewhat of an expert on how best to manage customers. Since 1972 the company he co-founded, Video Arts, has been producing workplace training videos, and a slew of British actors, not to mention a member of the royal family, have lent their services at one time or another. Michael Kitchen is among them. Back in 1994, he played a delivery customer furious that the item he purchased from a big-box store failed to arrive when promised:
A warm-up for Richard Crane?
“How We Know Kavanaugh is Lying“
The legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court is at stake.
Foyle and the colors of fall.
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.
Dr. Adams goes off the deep end.
Luther may be a lunatic, but at least he has sense enough not to burn his shoes, which is more than one can say for those who are currently setting fire to expensive plastic and rubber footwear in their backyards.
Gave Michael Kitchen a virtual shave to rid him of Branwell Brontë’s mutton chop beard.
(Image of shaving paper from Folger Shakespeare Library.)
Foyle notes a barrage balloon during his visit to London in The Funk Hole.
On this day…
Dykket was released (Norway, 1989).
Modifying Armstrong’s words a bit in light of the crazy heatwave in the Northeast.