Michael Kitchen talks 'Foyle's War,' career moves
This image released by PBS shows Michael Kitchen from the series "Foyle's War," on "MASTERPIECE Mystery!" Precision is Kitchen's hallmark, such as the level gaze or tilt of the head he uses to great effect in "Foyle's War," which wraps its latest PBS season on Sunday. (AP Photo/PBS- ITV, Bernard Walsh)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Christopher Foyle, the World War II English police detective turned postwar spy catcher, is a man of few words. Michael Kitchen, the actor who plays him, also tends to limit his public utterances — at least to the media.
But Kitchen agreed to share his thoughts on the character and "Foyle's War," the series that began airing in 2002 and has become a hit in Britain and other countries and a staple of PBS' "Masterpiece Mystery!"
For filmgoers, Kitchen may linger in memory for his small but precisely drawn performance in "Out of Africa" as Robert Redford's friend who succumbs bravely to illness, or in "Enchanted April" as a man visited by unexpected romance.
Precision is Kitchen's hallmark, such as the level gaze or tilt of the head he uses to great effect in "Foyle's War," which wraps its latest PBS season on Sunday.
More episodes are in the works for next year and there are hopes for "many more seasons" ahead, said Mark Stevens, head of producer-distributor Acorn, which released the show on DVD this week and is streaming it on Acorn TV.
In an email exchange, Kitchen discussed breaking a vow, his career and the symbol of respect for war's casualties that he keeps close.
AP: Why did you decide to return to the role of Foyle in the postwar episodes?
Kitchen: There was not one good reason not to. It's the case that, as a younger man, I'd sworn never to become a TV detective and although signing up for the show at the very beginning was never an issue, I couldn't shift a lingering guilt for letting the younger guy down. So it's a fact that I had suggested fairly early on — and on more than one occasion and not least because I believed it — that moving the character into Intelligence (work) might be less confining than the obligation to a weekly Hastings murder. So, as far as this series is concerned, there was no decision to make. Happy and guilt-free with the move and I concede the timing's right to move him now; I'd been a bit premature.
AP: Unless you perceive it otherwise, Foyle appears to be the defining role of your career and clearly is a character embraced by the audience.
Kitchen: It's certainly defined the last 10 years because I've done little else. This isn't a complaint; having enjoyed the 30 previous years avoiding definition, it's a privilege to be able to wait for projects that 100 percent fulfill the criteria, of which there have been, theater and radio aside, perhaps only about six. All worth the wait.