Foyle's War - Series 2: War Games

Interviews with the Guest Cast - Press pack; October 29, 2003

Alan Howard plays Stephen Beck
Emily Blunt plays Lucy Markham
Laurence Fox plays Simon Walker

Alan Howard plays Stephen Beck

Award-winning actor Alan Howard relished playing a barrister with a complicated past in Foyle's War.

"I enjoyed playing Stephen Beck very much and I hope what I think about him is conveyed in the performance. Beck is a highly intelligent man, he's thoughtful and clever but wears it very lightly."

Beck is a brilliant barrister who moved to England from Germany. Now naturalised, he shows little trace of his origins. But beneath the surface it is a different story.

"He's been badly damaged and that encourages a kind of steel as a protection. He is still very idealistic. He is hugely courageous and is so self-effacing. He understands that to be of any use under the current circumstances he needs to make a personal sacrifice."

Foyle (Michael Kitchen) and Beck are old friends.

"They are peas in a pod and share similar sensibilities. They are also both widowers," says Alan. "I hadn't worked with Michael before but it was a good experience.

"I also liked Beck's relationship with Hilda Pierce, played by Ellie Haddington. There's something between them in the past, but their relationship now is strange and slightly dangerous. They hugely respect each other, but Hilda is also aware that if Beck doesn't want to do something, he won't."

Alan has enjoyed a hugely successful career. Acclaimed for both his theatrical and screen roles, especially as a leading Shakespearean actor, he has awards stretching back to the 1960s. His many TV credits include A Perfect Spy, No Bananas, Anna Lee, David Copperfield, Death In Holy Orders, NCS: Manhunt and Midsomer Murders, and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Oxford Blues and Dakota Road are among his feature film appearances.

When Foyle's War is screened, Alan will be appearing at the Live Theatre in Newcastle in Keepers of the Flame.

Emily Blunt plays Lucy Markham

Rising star Emily Blunt clocks up her third appearance in a major ITV1 drama in Foyle's War.

Emily, who played Alex Kingston's daughter in Boudica and tragic young queen Katherine Howard in Henry VIII with Ray Winstone, comes into the 20th century as struggling farmer's daughter Lucy Markham.

"Lucy is a real trouper, she wants and needs to see the best in everything, and she knows she will crumble under pressure unless she is positive. She wants the simple life and needs to feel happy and secure in the life that she has with her brother, Harry. But it's an uphill struggle."

Lucy and Harry (Luke de Woolfson) inherited their farm after the death of their father and are finding it difficult to keep afloat. Harry is bitter about his lot, which has landed him in trouble.

"She is vulnerable and has a fear of being alone and that's why she's terrified about her brother getting into trouble. We are not too alike because I never feel lonely and have lots of friends," says Emily.

"We are similar in our love for our brothers, though. I have one brother and two sisters and am very close to them. But if events hit rock bottom, I would be the sort of person who would rant about it and be more confrontational, but Lucy would sweep it under the carpet."

After leaving drama school, 20-year-old Emily worked in the theatre, winning an Evening Standard best newcomer award for her role in the play The Royal Family. Hailed by critics, she nevertheless saw the less glamorous side of acting when she appeared as Isolde in Boudica.

"It was very tough filming in Rumania. Eastern Europe in the middle of winter is no fun and I have never felt that cold. The cast and crew glued ourselves together to make it work."

Happily, Emily found warmer conditions for her latest job. "I'm working on an art house film called My Summer of Love. It's my first feature and I am playing one of two girls who befriend each other. It's a beautiful film."

Laurence Fox plays Simon Walker

Laurence Fox describes Foyle's War as his favourite job so far.

"I play Simon Walker who's a manipulator. He was quite a nice guy but he grew up in an environment that changed him into someone who uses other people. His mother died when he was growing up and the rest of his family have encouraged his dependency and anti-Semitic views."

Laurence attributes Simon's scheming character to the death of his mother.

"I like playing the bad guys but it's good to give them some humanity. Simon's very vulnerable and he allowed fascist views to dominate him because of losing his mum. The world allowed his mum to die unfairly and I think he is already dead in a strange way.

"I liked the idea of him being a closeted lunatic and I really enjoyed playing him. I loved working with Michael Kitchen - if I could bottle how he holds an audience I know I could make a fortune!"

At the age of 25, Laurence is already successful on both stage and screen. He appeared in the Oscar-winning film Gosford Park, which he filmed in his third year at RADA, and The Hole, filmed in his second year. Recent film work includes South From Granada and Deathwatch.

Laurence's TV work includes Ultimate Force. Before Foyle's War he appeared in Peter Hall's acclaimed production of Mrs Warren's Profession. He is currently filming a leading role in a new ITV drama Island at War.

"In Island At War I play the good guy. The production is about the Channel Islands being invaded by the Germans in the Second World War. I am playing Bernhardt, and having seen Alan Howard's performance as a German in Foyle's War, I'm afraid I am stealing right out of his book of how to play a German.

"We're filming on the Isle of Man, which is great for me as I'm a bike freak. I ride a Honda CVR600 and of course the TT course is on the island. I also play piano and guitar and I write music and scripts. It's good to be stretched in every way."

Laurence has picked up the odd tip along the way from his father, acclaimed actor James Fox.

"My parents give me support throughout the process and get involved. I couldn't be happier and consider myself fantastically lucky to be offered good parts. I imagine that the way to have a good career is to do the best you can in every opportunity you are given and value what comes your way."

With thanks to Shelagh for the publicity material.