Just the Ticket - October 23-29, 2004; TV Times (UK); Steve Clark

Just the Ticket
The year is 1941 and although the Germans have been beaten in the skies in The Battle of Britain, the threat of invasion still hangs heavily over our green and pleasant land.

Britain's major cities are being pounded in blitz bombing raids and Hitler's army has invaded Greece and Yugoslavia, landed troops in North Africa and is making plans for a major attack on Russia.

But away from the frontline there are mysterious goings-on back home needing all the investigative powers that Det Chief Supt Christopher Foyle can muster in a new four-part series of ITV1's Foyle's War.

Foyle (Michael Kitchen) and his team, Sgt Paul Milner (Anthony Howell) and his headstrong driver Sam Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks), face some testing cases in the third series of the Bafta Award-winning wartime crime drama. They're caught up in a row between rival spy organisations, investigate a killing at a cutting-edge burns unit, and the abduction of a bombs disposal unit engineer.

Closer to home, Foyle has to deal with the possibility of his RAF pilot son Andrew (Julian Ovenden) being implicated in a murder when he suddenly goes AWOL. And that's not the only mystery concerning Andrew. Unbeknown to Foyle, his son and Sam are having an affair right under his nose.

"Since we last saw Sam and Andrew together they've become a squabbling couple," says Honeysuckle Weeks, who's 25. "They know each other very well and that flowery early period is well and truly over. They're now dealing with the practicalities of life during wartime and they're worried about Foyle finding out about them."

Not that it sounds like Foyle would have much to worry about. "They've kissed but they haven't slept together, says Honeysuckle. "That doesn't mean they don't love each other, it's just that Sam is rather proper."

Honeysuckle is happy about Sam's chaste approach. "I think it's nice that Sam has her own principles - that's one of the most appealing parts of her character. And she's a vicar's daughter after all, so not the type of girl to get PWP - Pregnant Without Permission," she says.

TV Times"I don't like doing love scenes, anyway," admits Honeysuckle, who's dating art dealer Lorne Stormonth-Darling in real life. "I think it's better left to the imagination. Graphic sex scenes are unnecessary. Foyle's War is great because it's the sort of thing you can happily tell your grandparents to watch."

Honeysuckle, who is also up for the Most Promising Newcomer gong at this Tuesday's National Television Awards, believes playing Sam is perfect for her. "She's a great character. She wants to give her all to the war effort but doesn't always get it right. Foyle is quite tricky to work with but Sam manages to charm him with her keenness to help. The trouble is she's a bit gung-ho at times and sometimes rushes in to situations without thinking first."

Members of the older generation of Honeysuckle's family proved a useful source of information when she came to film the third episode of the new series, in which Sam becomes a land girl to solve a murder.

"I spoke to my great aunts who were all land girls in Hampshire," she says. "They drove tractors and milked cows and told me all the stories from their youth - mainly that plenty of men were available to land girls!"

Honeysuckle has her own army of fans, thanks to the success of Foyle's War. "But I don't get any fan mail from men my own age," she laughs. "It's mainly from old boys who tell me I'm 'just the ticket'. They are always very polite. I don't mind being a pin-up for over-75-year-olds at all."