Peter Hall was also co-director, albeit a mostly absent one, with Alan Ayckbourn for the latter’s hit comedy play, Bedroom Farce, in which Michael Kitchen was one of the six original castmembers. In this marvelous video from the National Theatre Ayckbourn talks of rehearsing the play and how all the actors doubted their own abilities in the weeks leading up to the premiere:
By the time we got to Birmingham, the cast was suicidal…
I think every single one of them, including Joan Hickson, the great Joan Hickson, and Michael Kitchen – wonderful cast – they all came up to me and said, “I know I wasn’t the first choice*. Uh, but, uh, I want you to know that I’m- I’m rotten at comedy. I’ve never- I’ve never liked doing comedy. Uh, and uh, I was so sorry, I’m letting down your play, and uh, I’m rubbish.”
*Ralph Richardson and Peggy Ashcroft were on the original wish-list.
Hard to imagine that Michael Kitchen with his superb comic timing once thought he couldn’t do comedy. It hadn’t occurred to me that Bedroom Farce was indeed his first major foray into comedy. Thank goodness the Birmingham audience went barmy on opening night and Michael Kitchen went on to many more roles that showcased his comedic talents.
(Also on the photostage.co.uk site, photos of Michael Kitchen in Romeo and Juliet.)
Airing on March 29, one final 40-minute episode to celebrate the life of Brian Pern:
Following the sudden death of Brian Pern in a segway mistake, BBC Four is to broadcast a special documentary, dedicated to the musician, celebrating his life and work. The one-off will be directed by the award-winning film-maker Rhys Thomas OBE (self-proclaimed) who will talk exclusively to Brian’s friends and family as well as any random celebrities he can get hold of at such short notice. – beyondthejoke
When asked by The British Comedy Guide if he was sure this is the end for Brian, Rhys Thomas replied:
I don’t think there will be any more Brian Pern on TV. You can’t kill someone off and then say ‘not really.’ Once it’s done, it’s done. He could always appear in some archive from the past – I’d like to do more with Thotch perhaps or John Farrow, the manager – there’s more mileage there.
From beyondthejoke’s review:
…this will be hilarious for anyone who has ever chanced upon a quickly cobbled together programme about a dead celebrity. Thotch’s ageing lynchpins Tony Pebble (Nigel Havers) and Pat Quid (Paul Whitehouse) are also on hand to bicker about who was the last one to see Brian alive as they prepare for a benefit gig in aid of Segway Awareness at the Royal Albert Hall. And manager John Farrow (Michael Kitchen) gives Rhys Thomas OBE a reluctant interview having just given his best quotes to Scorsese, who is making a major Pern package for Netflix.
From The Velvet Onion’s interview with Rhys Thomas:
VO: The procession of guests involved surely helped reached audiences who might otherwise not have tuned in. Everyone’s been fab, but are there any people you’ve been particularly chuffed to bag?
RT: All of them to be honest. It’s so low paid and small [in profile], that most of them would be better off staying in bed! But I think they responded to the scripts really, and to be honest, once Michael Kitchen was in it that attracted some of the bigger actors.
Naturally, the VO piece includes photos of all the regular cast members of Pern except Michael Kitchen.
Very short preview clip.
No wonder Michael Kitchen is now represented by ITG.
Behind the scenes photo from the March 3 filming of scenes for Brian Pern: A Tribute at the Royal Albert Hall.
Too bad George Michael never made a guest appearance on Brian Pern as Rhys Thomas had hoped.
A couple of photos taken during the filming of Casualties of War and All Clear from lastminute.com’s blog post on Hastings.
The scene as it appears in All Clear with Michael Kitchen now walking closest to the street and wearing Foyle’s coat – a must on a breezy day 🙂 :
Wouldn’t mind playing the part of the extra brushing past him.
How do I love this scene. Let me count the ways. Lapels waving in the breeze, contemplative close up, understanding between friends, wildflowers, quaint village church, Michael Kitchen, Alan Howard.
(Location: Dunsfold Church, Surrey, UK)
Is that long underwear I see? If the color of his ear is any indication, it was freezing when this photo was taken.
Love the interview with Honeysuckle Weeks in the Spring 2015 issue of Prose ‘n Cons™ Mystery Magazine. True to form, she reveals some wonderful behind-the-scenes details about Foyle’s War and Michael Kitchen.
On Sam and Andrew:
Weeks concedes that delaying Sam’s marriage took a bit of persuasion. “There was talk of a marriage to Foyle’s son Andrew (the R.A.F. pilot) as early as series three I think, but I fought with Anthony for years to allow Sam to remain a ‘spinster of the parish.’
On whale meat:
In one scene, food shortages reduce Sam and Adam to eating whale meat as a protein source. If she looks a bit queasy, admits Weeks, “it was because I had a very hard time not retching at the smell of those whale steaks sizzling in the pan.”
On Sam and Adam’s house:
The interiors of Sam’s house were shot in a former brewery the art department turned into a sound stage. “You could still smell that oddly yeasty aroma from the fermenting hops,” says Weeks.
And on Michael Kitchen!
Considering the seriousness of the subject matter, you might assume that the set of Foyle’s War was a reserved and quiet place, but Weeks assures it was not. “If you were to go into Michael Kitchen’s trailer at lunchtime you could hear him playing the classical guitar. Or, if we happened to be filming at some grand country house, you’d often hear him behind its equally grand piano.” …Weeks prizes her relationship with Kitchen. “He is a decidedly avuncular figure in my life and a person I often go to for professional advice.”
So that’s how MK passes the time in between takes. Doesn’t really dispel the notion of a reserved set — unless he was pounding out a rock tune… 🙂
Wonder if he had a go at this piano:
Playing the piano really should have been another one of Foyle’s pastimes.
An exaggerated wink and a heartwarming smile for a grateful little boy, followed by an eye roll for pessimistic Mr. Grimwig in this delightful scene from Oliver Twist. Love how Michael Kitchen approximates his signature knee dip while seated.
Posted on QE is a marvelous behind the scenes interview with Michael Kitchen excerpted from “Oliver Twist: The Official Companion to the ITV Drama Series”. What an absolute treat to read his thoughts on costume drama, wigs, the filming process, and his character, Mr. Brownlow.
Foyle’s unfinished business. Howard Paige should be scared, very scared.
March 23, 2013
I so wish they had had the budget to film in America and have the new series start with Paige’s comeuppance. I loved this episode and I loved Foyle’s ability to compromise without sacrificing his morals.
Yes, in a perfect world, Foyle’s War would have an unlimited budget.
Michael Kitchen reciting the poetry of love from Shakespeare in this video clip of him as Antipholus of Syracuse making romantic overtures to Luciana. His ardent words are met with shock and dismay, though, since Luciana has mistaken him for her brother-in-law, Antipholus of Ephesus, and thus believes him to be already married to her sister!
The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making the Televised Canon, by Susan Willis, contains interesting behind-the-scenes details about the making of The Comedy of Errors that highlight Michael Kitchen’s professionalism. I was most surprised to read that MK was sick with a bad cold during the first two days of filming, which included the segment in the clip. His illness isn’t evident to me, although Willis writes that MK “looked very drawn during the taping”. Willis also explains that while performing the scenes upstairs in the Phoenix, MK was always conscious of the shadow of his head falling on the faces of the actors across from him and tried to manuever his head out of the way whenever possible.
And according to Willis, “Kitchen was not interested in fighting; he might be seen buying a sword but did not want to draw it.” As a result, the traditional opening of Act V Scene I showing Antipholus and Dromio battling witches and demons was replaced with the two of them being chased around the set instead. All in all, the production seems to have been a highly collaborative one between the director and actors — the way MK likes it.
Thrilled to learn that Michael Kitchen is among the cast of The Collection, a period family saga set in the fashion world of Paris after World War II. The Amazon eight-part series is shooting in France and Wales until May. More details about the show at Radio Times, Deadline, The Guardian, and DigitalSpy. Sets replicating the back streets of Paris in 1947 are being built at Swansea Bay Studios in Wales. Set photos here. The series premieres on Amazon UK on September 2, with a new one-hour episode made available every subsequent Friday through late October. The Amazon US premiere date is February 10, 2017.
Based on the disappointing early reviews, I’ll probably be fast forwarding through this show after all. Counting on MK to rise above the meager material as he’s often done in his career.
From The Times:
The sumptuousness of the scenery and costumes makes up for a script in which witticisms and profound emotion are a little thin on the ground.
Vodzilla.co rates the pilot episode a 6.3 out of 10:
Whether the high production values can make up for some of the more laughably schlocky dialogue and overblown plot points remains to be seen.
Similarly, Telegraph gives a middling 3 stars out of 5:
Despite being a drama set in the world of Forties haute couture, The Collection is determined to shoehorn in as much violence, conspiracy and sleaze as the average big-budget gangster series.
Despite a strong cast and an even stronger aesthetic, this first episode failed to truly grip.
And this from BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review:
Watch it, don’t listen to it.
Priceless beyond words.
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come. – The Merchant of Venice
The lion sleeps tonight…
Watch the clip.
LOL, before this:
there was this:
Entire Episode 2 on vimeo.
A nice photo from the original foyleswar.com site showing a scene from The French Drop being filmed next to the lake at Balls Park College during the spring of 2004.
Simon Day and company have begun filming the third series of Brian Pern and were back at Wembley Arena last week. Maybe someone will be nice enough to post some behind-the-scenes photos like this one from S2 posted by the prop company that supplied the Triffid plant. In a recent interview Day and Rhys Thomas discussed how they managed to obtain permission to film at Wembley and how they came by John Farrow’s yacht in A Life in Rock:
Rhys: It’s a cheap programme in a sense, because it’s in a recording studio or talking heads, so that keeps the costs down… but then you prioritise the bits you want to spend your money on. For example, we got a boat…
Simon: Where did you get that boat?
Rhys: Michael Kitchen knew someone. The idea was that his character, John Farrow, is quite wealthy. He’s sort of based loosely on Queen’s manager who lives in Switzerland and is a multi-millionaire. We needed a way to show his wealth. In Episode 3 Brian basically loses all his money in a tax scheme, and it’s quite nice to see Brian losing everything and then his manager in a Sunseeker. He just knew someone at a boat yard and a woman there said ‘oh, yeah, use one of our boats…’!
If I owned a luxury yacht (£12,000 a week to hire), I’d jump at the chance to loan one to Michael Kitchen, too.
From the Facebook page of Barnoldwick and Barlickers Then and Now, Michael Kitchen and Penelope Wilton filming Falling on location at Greenberfield Locks:
From Burnley Express:
Actors Penelope Wilton and Michael Kitchen and a film crew arrived in Barnoldswick on Tuesday.
The canalside cottage had already been given a new look for their arrival, with weeds laid down outside to give an unkempt appearance to the property and changes made to rooms inside.
The doors were also removed to make it easier for the camera crews to work and a false window fitted so Michael Kitchen did not hurt himself when asked to put his fist through it as part of the script.
And from an interview with Penelope Wilton in The Stage:
Wilton recalls the hardships she and co-star Michael Kitchen had to endure while filming Falling, Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s suspense novel.
“Andrew had the idea that it would be better to relocate it to Yorkshire. It looks glorious, I agree, and very autumnal but the weather was freezing. There are some scenes that are a bit too painful to think about – the ones where I’m standing around in light summer clothing, trying not to be seen to shiver. The main locations are around a cottage next to a canal, which looks idyllic, but in reality is was very cold and damp.”