Foyle's War

Interviews with the Guest Cast - The German Woman - September 2002; Publicity Release


David Horovitch - Thomas Kramer
Robert Hardy - Henry Beaumont
Joanna Kanska - Greta Beaumont
Rosamund Pike - Sarah Beaumont
Dominic Mafham - Michael Turner
Edward Fox - Assistant Commissioner Summers

David Horovitch - Thomas Kramer

Playing wartime internee Thomas Kramer in Foyle's War had a particular significance for actor David Horovitch.

"I am half Jewish myself and was born the day after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, just at the outbreak of peace. I am very much interested in that period.

"Thomas Kramer's character is a fresh way of looking at the events of the time. He's not Jewish but he's a good German, someone like Schindler, who had gone out of his way to support the Jews and had to flee Germany as a result. He's also an artist, a top musician, which was interesting.

"He is gentle but very strong and determined. He comes to England and marries an English wife and his history has taught him to be tough and to cope. Then something happens that all exiles and refugees dread - the knock on the door in the middle of the night."

Kramer is taken to the police station and accused of having a camera, against regulations. He is interned with other foreigners and his wife Elsie (Elizabeth Bell) suffers a heart attack.

"Some of the internment scenes were very moving," says David. "The set was very real and the story is harrowing and touching. It was emotive to shoot that kind of story, but it was satisfying because it was an interesting and enjoyable job.

"It's very odd because I've now done four pieces from the Second World War period. I did two voice-overs for radio - one on Hitler's holocaust and one on Rommel - and now I'm touring with a play called Copenhagen by Michael Frayn. It's based on a true story about the development of the nuclear bomb and the Nazis and I play Niels Bohr who was a Danish physicist, responsible for nuclear fission."

David's other credits include Safe House, 102 Dalmatians, Deceit, Great Expectations, Annie's Bar, The Sculptress and the role of Inspector Slack in many BBC Agatha Christie adaptations.


Robert Hardy - Henry Beaumont

Robert Hardy was transported back in time in his role as Henry Beaumont in Foyle's War - thanks to a dressing gown.

"When I went for the costume fitting, the designer told me she had the most perfect dressing gown for me. She asked if I remembered the old fashioned Jaeger camel-haired dressing gowns with the roping. I said I did, of course, because as a child I had one. When I put it on I felt like a child again. You can't get them now - I know because I went into Jaeger 20 years ago and tried without any luck.

"Henry has a tweedy look and wears enormous checks. He has a nice dinner jacket, too. Those are the garments you needed in big icy houses in winter. His clothes are not much different from what I wear now, so I was very comfortable."

Henry Beaumont is an ex-guardsman and wealthy landowner-cum-magistrate in the village of Lower Fenton.

"Henry is described as quite a cold character. He is revealed to have a softer side, but he reserves that for his daughter and wife. He is deeply in love with his wife but because of his character he can't show it very much.

"He has the extremely difficult problem of having a German wife living in England in the 40s. At that time there were terrifying attitudes and people could be vile about Germans. I remember that vividly as a 15-year-old."

Adds Robert: "I've played Churchill on film and before thousands of people on stage every night in Paris, and I met him three times. It does help to have that historical knowledge, the feel of the times and the style of the people. You could identify people by the way they dressed and talked."

Robert was delighted to work with his Foyle's War co-stars.

"I looked forward to acting with Michael Kitchen and Edward Fox is an old friend of mine. Rosamund Pike has an instinctive ability to go for reality and truth. I told her she has great talent and will have a very successful career. Joanna Kanska plays my beautiful and much younger wife - she has a great sense of humour and was a delight.

"The house we filmed at, Squeerys Court, near Westerham in Kent was lovely, with gorgeous pictures on the walls. The gardens were splendid and there were fantastic views across to the lake. It was quite near my old stamping ground of Chartwell where we filmed Churchill."

Robert has enjoyed a long and fruitful career, including leading roles in All Creatures Great and Small, Hot Metal, The Far Pavilions, War and Remembrance, Middlemarch and Gulliver's Travels on television, and the films The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, How I Won The War, The Shooting Party, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Sense & Sensibility and An Ideal Husband.

He is an expert on archery, a documentary writer, director and presenter and was appointed a CBE in 1981. As well as Foyle's War, he stars as Professor Neddy Welch in ITV1's adaptation of Lucky Jim.


Joanna Kanska - Greta Beaumont

Joanna Kanska's horse-riding abilities were put to the test in Foyle's War.

"When I had my audition I was asked if I had ridden a horse. I said yes, but failed to say that the last time I did so was about 20 years ago. I wanted to eat my own words when the day came. The horse's face said everything - he did not look happy.

"Luckily the acting kicked in and I learned quickly. The horse would do anything to shake me off, but I pretended to look like an accomplished horsewoman, as my character Greta is, and it definitely got better."

Greta's clothes helped Joanna get into the part.

"I had authentic jodhpurs and boots which was wonderful. It puts you in the right period immediately - you carry yourself differently and talk differently. Greta also has an evening dress that was very romantic and all authentic. Even the shoes were from the period and they were so comfortable to wear. I was brought up seeing war films and it was like entering a fairy story in a way."

Joanna, who is of Polish descent, also enjoyed working on Foyle's War because it avoided the usual wartime stereotypes."I felt it was a slightly different approach to playing the enemy. Usually the Polish are heroes and the Germans are terrible. Greta is not a pure white innocent character, she has strengths and weaknesses like everyone else, but she is a decent normal woman. She is trying to save her stepdaughter Sarah from making a big mistake.

"Each nation has its heroes and antiheroes and war brings out the best and worst in people. There was no nation all good or all wrong and it was good to see it portrayed differently. After all, who are we to judge?

"I tried to make Greta more German when she broke down. Being German is strong in itself. She tries to make a good face of her situation, but then she cracks up. I liked playing her - I prefer people with cracks who have had experiences."

Greta has married into money as the second wife of Henry Beaumont (Robert Hardy).

"She has entered another class through her marriage. Not everyone can land this kind of husband and she is haughty to an extent. He is much older than her and she honestly cares for him, despite what she does. It was great working with Robert Hardy as my husband - I don't know what I would do if he proposed in real life, I liked working with him so much!"

Joanna took a three-year break from acting work after the birth of her son Christopher, now aged six. "It is hard to get back to work once you are off the circuit but he takes up my time with pleasure. My mother still lives in Poland and she is besotted with him and comes over to visit often."

Joanna played another character called Greta in A Very Peculiar Practice and its sequel, A Very Polish Practice. Her other credits include Randall & Hopkirk Deceased, Grafters, Madson, Love Hurts, The New Statesman, Sleepers and the role of Sirrka in two series of Capital City.


Rosamund Pike - Sarah Beaumont

New Bond girl Rosamund Pike's feet have hardly touched the ground. Her starring role in Foyle's War comes hot on the heels of her acclaimed performances in Love in a Cold Climate and Wives and Daughters - and soon after filming she was snapped up to star alongside Pierce Brosnan in the 007 movie Die Another Day.

Says Rosamund: "I always wanted to be an actress and it does seem strange to think how lucky I have been. I may have been a bit young and unknowing when I did Wives and Daughters, and I feel amazed in retrospect. Foyle's War was perfect timing as it came at the end of my degree course at Oxford."

Sarah is the only daughter of landowner Henry Beaumont (Robert Hardy). She clashes with her stepmother Greta (Joanna Kanska) over the family trust, which will make her rich upon her marriage to Michael Turner (Dominic Mafham).

"Sarah is a lonely child and she is on the brink of the most exciting time of her life. But it's the worst time as well because she feels Greta wants to spoil her happiness. On first sight Sarah seems spoilt and thoughtless but I feel sorry for her, too."

Adds Rosamund: "I thought the setting added an extra dimension. A small village in wartime with a German woman in its midst made for an edgy climate and enhanced the murder story. The dialogue was so good and the scenes played themselves out at a good pace with no sense of rush. And it was so fascinating to work with Robert Hardy and Dominic Mafham."Rosamund researched the role by reading a book on wartime Britain by Anne Valery.

"She worked in BBC radio and discovered photographs that were censored at the time of the war. She has written a book about life on the home front and what it was like to live at that time. How people would share rationing, gardening and clothes. Women felt it was their responsibility to wear bright colours because of the war.

"The book also explains the British obsession with the weather. When it was cloudy you would be protected from bombers, so clear skies were a bad thing. The pictures of the bombings made me realise how the destruction affected the villages."

Rosamund had an input into Sarah's costume, which was made up of authentic pieces.

"She is not that radical but we decided to have a scene where she wore trousers. That would have been a big deal but it was her instinct to move towards independence. She is less neat than Greta, almost rebelling against someone so immaculate. Sarah also wears bright lipstick, even after Greta dies - but at that stage make up was quite primitive and everyone wore one strong red colour."

Despite her previous roles, Rosamund is keen not to be seen as purely an actress in costume dramas.

"People do say I have a good period face and I like doing costume dramas but I would like to think I am not stuck in a time warp. People stick labels on you but stories are stories whatever era they are in. You are coming at period roles from a modern perspective and you tap the contemporary back into it, so there is always a cross reference."


Dominic Mafham - Michael Turner

Dominic Mafham put a vintage Jaguar to good use in Foyle's War - both on and off the road.

"My character Michael Turner drives a 1940 Jag. It was a beautiful machine. The front bonnet seemed to rise above you and take its own course. It was quite hard to drive, especially as I had to do some fairly high speed cornering. It veered and waved around, but once I had a few tests I got used to it.

"I also had to have a snog in the back of the car with one of the actresses. It was my first full on-screen kiss so I lost my virginity in Foyle's War in a sense. The Jag owner had been meticulously restoring his car for years and I'm not sure he envisaged its use in this way!"

Michael Turner is engaged to marry Sarah Beaumont (Rosamund Pike), the daughter of rich landowner Henry (Robert Hardy)."Michael is manipulative. He was a solicitor and then joined the Navy and he is making the most of the time. He is using the uncertainty, filling the gaps and taking the chances. He could come across as cocky and conceited but he can't be an out-and-out slime ball, otherwise Sarah would not be interested and Henry would not accept him. You have to believe there is some truth in their relationship.

"I didn't know Rosamund, who plays Sarah, before but I had seen her work. She has an incredible poise and elegance to her - she seems to come from that period. When we played the scenes together we clicked really well, but it was double acting really as Michael is pretending to be someone he's not.

Adds Dominic: "I liked the piece as a whole, too. I thought it was stylish and had panache. Because it was shot with a certain amount of chutzpah it was good fun to do. It is a period that is caught in a bubble. The wartime backdrop to it skews everything slightly. People's attitudes are different so the whole detective genre is given a slant."Dominic's credits include A&E, The Fragile Heart, Our Mutual Friend, Gentlemen's Relish, Up Rising, Trial By Fire, Wing And A Prayer, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Ambassador and Castles.

When he's not working, Dominic enjoys spending time with his wife Gwyneth and their children Paddy, aged nine, and six-year-old Wilf at their home in Gloucestershire. He also indulges his hobbies - riding his motorbike and gardening.


Edward Fox - Assistant Commissioner Summers

Top British actor Edward Fox makes a rare TV appearance in Foyle's War.

"I play Foyle's boss Summers, who's the assistant commissioner of police. I haven't worked for a while because I don't do so much now, but I really wanted to do this. I thought it was a good story well told.

"You read the script and you decide to act the part. It always helps to be in the right costume. Once I got Summers' uniform on I became upright. He is very military, in flared trousers, a jacket with brass buttons and lots of medals."

The role brought back memories of Edward's youth. "I grew up hearing Winston Churchill's voice. I have many memories of a childhood in the war and most of them are good."

Edward is one of the country's most prestigious actors with a long illustrious career in theatre, television and film. Among the best known of his films are The Day of the Jackal, A Bridge Too Far, The Duelists, Ghandi, The Jokers, Oh! What A Lovely War and The Go-Between. The Voysey Inheritance, Portrait of a Lady, The Bachelors, Churchill's People and Gulliver's Travels are among his TV credits.

But his favourite role remains Edward VIII in Edward and Mrs Simpson - which won him a BAFTA for Best Actor. "It was a good time and an interesting job to do," he says.

Edward is now part of an acting dynasty, with his wife, actress Joanna David, and their daughter Emilia Fox.

With thanks to Shelagh for the publicity material.