Tag Archives: quotes about MK

Foyle's War: The Eternity Ring: Michael Kitchen: Honeysuckle Weeks: press photo in radioactive room

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.


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.

Betty Kitchen passed away last September. Funeral announcement here.

We had the pleasure of meeting him in person not as an actor as well looked after his mummy betty .. rip. – Deputy Manager at Wyggeston Hospital in Leicester

His mum used to cut my grandma’s family’s hair, he used to sit on the hearth and watch. – Facebook comment

Foyle's War: Fifty Ships: Michael Kitchen examining bullet

A time when murder investigations rarely involved a multitude of bullets (and victims) at the crime scene.

A comment on the Previously TV forum:

In the second part (To Play the King), Michael Kitchen did IMO a helluva good job as the Prince of Wales/King; this was in 1993. I just looked him up; he’s almost exactly the same age as the PoW. I’m thinking he might be a good choice for the PoW in the final (old guy) stretch of The Crown.

With award season around the corner, I wonder if anyone’s campaigning for “the coveted Michael Kitchen Award for the Most Watchable Performance in a Second-Rate Drama”, first handed out 8 years ago today by Times critic, David Chater. (Later that year (July 24, 2010), Chater tweaked the name, calling it instead the “Michael Kitchen Award for the Best Performance in an Eminently Forgettable Drama Series” when describing how another actor “just like Michael Kitchen … performs the written text while appearing to listen to a complex internal dialogue going on inside his head”.)

Foyle's War: Enemy Fire: Michael Kitchen dozy poker face 1
Foyle's War: Enemy Fire: Michael Kitchen dozy poker face 2

From the somethingawful.com forum:

One of my favorite character actors is Michael Kitchen, now probably best known for playing Foyle in the Foyle’s War series, but he’s played villains, romantic leads, supporting grey-moraled characters, etc. and he always always turns his characters into real people living in the present moment. It’s like you can see him going through the process of making decisions (as the character), you can see him thinking and having mental revelations and shifting loyalties and all other sorts of dynamic internal processes that real people have in their daily lives. All of his body language and facial expressions seem like personal quirks of that particular character occurring organically in the moment, rather than gestures called for by the script.

I’ve never seen him be himself in an interview, and I couldn’t begin to tell you what the guy is like in real life because he so completely disappears into his roles and makes them feel like real, distinct, individual living people. Is he gregarious and charming? Is he quiet and cold? Who knows?

Also, take the character of Foyle for a moment — the character is emotionally very guarded and more cerebral. Michael Kitchen can be standing there with a poker face and (in-character) convey nothing, but to the audience, you somehow know exactly what’s going on in his head. He’s working on two levels.

Love this take on Michael Kitchen and his acting. I do hope we haven’t seen the last of his mastery on screen, as he seems to have vanished altogether of late. Wherever he is and whatever he’s doing, here’s hoping he’s enjoying a very happy birthday today.

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.)

Not only should Netflix retain Foyle’s War, but it should change its cover art for the show to this:

Brimstone and Treacle: Michael Kitchen drinking coffee

Latest study finds that several cups of coffee
each day is good for one’s health.

The Russia House: Michael Kitchen drinking coffee

Foyle's War: High Castle: Michael Kitchen drinking coffee

The Last Contract: Michael Kitchen drinking coffee
The Guilty: Michael Kitchen: Caroline Catz: drinking coffee 1The Guilty: Michael Kitchen: Caroline Catz: drinking coffee 2
The Guilty: Michael Kitchen: Caroline Catz: drinking coffee 3The Guilty: Michael Kitchen: Caroline Catz: drinking coffee 4

The letter Annie Lennox received reminds me of Michael Kitchen’s infamous coffee shop encounter that was so amusingly recounted by Honeysuckle Weeks for the Daily Mail:

More from Stephen Lacey’s essay, “The Blitz Detective”,
Chapter 7 in Contemporary British Television Crime Drama: Cops on the Box:

Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: watching1
Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: watching2
Foyle's War: War Games: Michael Kitchen: watching3

Foyle silently observing Simon Walker.

The scenes with Foyle and Guy Spencer are particularly powerful examples of Michael Kitchen’s “facial expressivity…conveying what is felt in the act of repressing feeling”.

Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen: Meryl Streep: perfume scene 1
Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen: Meryl Streep: perfume scene 2
Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen: Meryl Streep: perfume scene 3
Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen: Meryl Streep: perfume scene 4
Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen: Meryl Streep: perfume scene 5
Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen: Meryl Streep: perfume scene 6
Out of Africa: Michael Kitchen: Meryl Streep: perfume scene 7

From the TCM forums:

Peter Capaldi plays the communist leader Foyle is ordered to investigate in A War of Nerves. Who will be the next Doctor Who? Came across some discussion from 1996 about how Michael Kitchen would have made a good Doctor.

First I’ve heard of Their Finest. The upcoming film adaptation sounds good. Too bad quietly devastating MK isn’t in it.

Catching up on S5 of Suits and surprised to find a Foyle’s War alum has joined the cast. Who can forget Christina Cole as Violet, Andrew’s fresh conquest who belatedly comes to realize that she has divulged details of her love life to none other than her presumed fiance’s father? Love Michael Kitchen’s reaction in frame 4.

I had a scene with Michael when he interrogates me… Michael gave me lots of tips on the language and he was fantastic to work with.  – Christina Cole (Violet); FW press pack

Six weeks after Freud aired, Michael Kitchen could be seen live on stage playing a very different role in Tom Stoppard’s new work, Rough Crossing.

Two playwrights and collaborators, the composer and most of the cast of a musical comedy destined for Broadway are trying to finish and rehearse the play while crossing from Southampton via Cherbourg, to New York. – The Guide to World Drama

The play was deemed a big disappointment by most critics, but MK was singled out for his comedic chops. From Christopher Edwards’s review in The Spectator:

Next we move to the rehearsal of Turai’s and Gal’s monstrously bad musical comedy involving upper-class jewel thieves redeemed by the love of good women who play ping-pong. This may not be exactly correct but this is all part of the joke. No one really understands what the musical is about, thus enabling Stoppard to introduce his best idea in the form of a land-lubber waiter who grows in stature until he becomes a sort of one-man deus ex machina. He starts with comic misnomers, e.g. calling the funnels chimneys and the bridge the balcony; he initiates a routine which deprives Turai, on about half a dozen occasions, of a much needed brandy which he knocks back himself. Gradually he finds his sea legs when all about are losing theirs, and reveals a formidable grasp of the plot, unavailable even to those who composed it. Michael Kitchen’s performance is very funny, in particular his matter-of-fact plot synopsis of the ludicrously tangled business surrounding the jewel thief…

And Michael Billington wrote in his review for The Guardian (Oct. 31, 1984):

There is a very good performance from Michael Kitchen as the steward whom he endows initially with a knee-sagging Groucho-esque walk that suggests it is teatime on the Titanic which gives way to a trick of inclining vertically in his boots as if he were a marine Little Titch.

One theatergoer recalled years later on this blog:

It’s interesting to me to see Michael Kitchen in so serious a role in Foyle’s War and remember how funny, with excellent timing, he was as Dvornicheck in Rough Crossing. Very good actor.

Another wrote:

I saw the original version of Rough Crossing by Tom Stoppard with Michael Kitchen creating the role of Dvornichek. My God, Kitchen is good at comedy. It’s spoilt me for any other actor in that role all these years.

Despite MK’s hilarious performance, the poor reviews for Rough Crossing led to the National Theatre pulling the play from its repertoire. For MK, though, unemployment didn’t last long, as the start of filming for Out of Africa in January 1985 was just weeks away.

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.


Elizabeth Addis is probably wishing she could restart her life right about now.

A spoof ad featuring voice impressions of all six James Bonds plus Michael Caine, Edward Fox, and Michael Kitchen. 🙂

Found the ad posted on the MI6Community.com forum where another member posted about meeting Michael Kitchen:

Michael Kitchen lived very close to where I grew up in the UK. I was awestruck when he visited my fathers farm one day on business. He was incredibly nice and signed my making of Goldeneye book for me. He did seem genuinely shocked to be recognised. This was before he become more well known in Foyles War.

Michael Kitchen visiting your family’s farm? How does one get so lucky?!

Seems that whenever I come across a mention of Michael Kitchen in the Bond franchise, there is agreement that he was a brilliant Tanner. Again from the MI6community forum, a comment that amused me:

Kitchen’s Tanner is the closest we’ve ever seen of the character being properly portrayed…
Now if I worked for MI6 and was sitting around doing bugger all I can imagine Kitchen giving me a bollocking…

A shame Michael Kitchen had only brief appearances in two Bond films.

GoldenEye: James Bond: Bill Tanner: Michael Kitchen head turn

A submission from Steve Mellor to the April 2016 issue of “Old Wyves’ Tales”, the newsletter for ex-pupils and staff of Michael Kitchen’s alma mater, City Boys Grammar School Leicester:

Mention of the clock tower brings memories flooding back of the nearby men’s barbers shop – Ron’s. Used by a clique of the more fashionable pupils, therefore excluding myself, Ron used to sell a concoction for holding the most difficult quiff in place – Ron’s Pink. It was a pink-coloured cream, sold in a bottle bearing a black-and-white label bearing an image of Ron and the clock tower. Much favoured by Michael Kitchen, this cream set like concrete after application, resisting wind and any physical attempts to disturb the styling.and far more effective than greasy alternatives such as Brylcreem.

Michael Kitchen started at CBS in 1960 and “went from the 1st year to 3 alpha, ‘O’ levels in 1964 and ‘A’ levels in 1966”. – Old Wyves Tales – Volume 5