Foyle's War

Interviews with the Guest Cast - Eagle Day - September 2002; Publicity Release

Stephen Moore - Rev Iain Stewart
Anthony Calf - Wing Commander Keller
Roger Allam - Group Captain Graeme
Hugh Lloyd - Frank Watson
Geoffrey Hutchings - Harold Smith
Anton Lesser - Austin Carmichael
Adam Kotz - Henderson

Stephen Moore - Rev Iain Stewart

Stephen Moore used his memories of the bombing of London to prepare for his role in Foyle's War.

"My dad was in the RAF so we followed him around the country to air force bases. But before he joined up we lived in Soho, where he was an air raid warden. I was in London for a bit of the bombing, but it was more exciting than frightening for me, because I felt protected.

"It helped for Foyle's War, because I knew how people would be feeling and how they would react. Even though I was only six when the war ended, I can remember what people were going through in those days."

Stephen plays Iain Stewart, father of Foyle's (Michael Kitchen) driver Samantha (Honeysuckle Weeks).

"Iain is artistic and athletic but decided to become a vicar. He's very busy because people turn to the church at times of war. He's not a Victorian father to Sam, but he worries about girls in uniform getting into difficulties, as he puts it.

"Sam is modern in her views and in her job, and he finds it hard to cope with. His wife is ill so he tries to persuade Sam to come back. But she is pretty resolute about wanting to stay with Foyle. It was great to play those scenes with Honeysuckle. She is quite special - a real find, and in her uniform she looks just the part."

The character of Iain Stewart is quite a contrast to Stephen's ongoing role as Chief Constable Mike Bishop in Merseybeat.

"Bishop is a chauvinist and not a very nice guy. It's good to play the nasty parts but Iain is a nice gentle contrast. He doesn't stop Sam from being a free woman out of nastiness - he is just concerned."

Stephen is an accomplished theatre actor and his other screen credits include Adrian Mole, The Peter Principle, The Queen's Nose, The Missing Postman, Harry Enfield, Downwardly Mobile, Lives of Animals, Silent Witness, Sharpe, Clockwise and A Bridge Too Far. He also appears in Jack Rosenthal's new drama Ready When You Are, Mr McGill.

Anthony Calf - Wing Commander Keller

Anthony Calf enjoyed acting the part of a Wing Commander in the RAF.

"I read the script and really liked it. Keller is dangerous in a funny kind of way. He's commanding, yet odd. He's in charge of security at the secret air force base and he refuses to take any chances."

Keller becomes suspicious about Andrew Foyle (Julian Ovenden) when he is stationed at the air base on a top-secret operation. Andrew believes Keller and Group Captain Graeme (Roger Allam) are hiding something about the death of a young radar operator.

Says Anthony: "Keller believes he hasn't done anything wrong by law. He puts everything that has happened in the context of war. For him, it's quite an easy choice, given the circumstances of the time. "The work of the station is fundamental to changing the path of the war. Keller believes in putting his country before any individual and young Foyle gets in the way. So he has to be dealt with."

Anthony, who is married to the actress Caroline Harker, also appears on ITV1 this autumn in the thriller Sirens, with Daniela Nardini and Greg Wise, and in Jack Rosenthal's new adaptation of Lucky Jim, starring Stephen Tompkinson.

He also starred recently with Sarah Lancashire in the award-winning drama, The Cry, and his other television credits include Lorna Doone, A Touch of Frost, Kavanagh QC, Bramwell, Pride and Prejudice, Diana - Her True Story, Riders and Great Expectations. Film roles include A Woman of the North, Anna Karenina and The Madness of King George.

Roger Allam - Group Captain Graeme

Roger Allam may look the part of an RAF Group Captain in Foyle's War - but he could never be a pilot in real life.

"I don't think I would ever make it because I'm such a nervous flyer. Once I was on a flight to Paris - it only took 45 minutes but we spent another 45 minutes circling Charles de Gaulle airport and juddering in high winds.

"There wasn't a word from the cockpit; everyone was nervous and hysterical so I opened my duty frees and started drinking. Since then I haven't enjoyed flying."

Playing a top RAF man was a different matter, however.

"Foyle's War was an ideal job for me because I am a big fan of the British films of the 40s. I love that style of filmmaking and the period. I had a look at The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and The Small Back Room, which starts off in a war research establishment, so that was really useful.

"I also wore a real Group Captain's uniform and it really helped me stand differently. I haven't really based Graeme on anyone, but I've put a touch of Terry Thomas in him!"

Graeme is a man who puts his job first.

Says Roger: "I think he is someone who flew in the First World War as an early pilot and then went into research. He has come back in the Second World War researching radar. Men who have fought in wars, especially the First World War, get very locked up emotionally. I tried to bring some of that to the character and I think it affects the way he sees young women as objects."

Roger is an associate artist of the RSC and a double Olivier Award winning theatre actor. His television credits include Who Bombed Birmingham?, Between The Lines, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, The Creatives and Waking The Dead. He also appears with Helen Mirren and Anne Bancroft in The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone.

Hugh Lloyd - Frank Watson

Hugh Lloyd admits he's nostalgic about his teenage years in the war.

"I was involved in the army as an ARP messenger between 1939 and 1940. We had to go to the ARP post where the wardens were and take any messages to the town hall. I was about 16 and it was very much my formative years. I look back at that time nostalgically because there was a great spirit of unity, which you don't get in peace time."

Hugh plays local defence volunteer Frank Watson, who offers his help to Foyle (Michael Kitchen) after a man is found murdered.

"Frank is intensely patriotic. He's hard of hearing and can't fight again, which is sad, but he does want to do something. He wears his army uniform from the First World War with the plimsoles and cap. It's his way of joining the war effort and I thought it was funny and rather lovely.

"I enjoyed the script, especially as there is no violence or bad language in my scenes. I did stop working for a bit, because I don't want to take parts of a violent nature.

"Another appeal was the fact that Foyle's War is filmed in Hastings. I live nearby in Worthing so thought that would be good. Then the location was transferred to Willesden Junction!"

Hugh has recently published his autobiography. "It's called Thank God for a Funny Face and I wrote it with my wife Sian Lloyd. We've been together for 24 years."

Geoffrey Hutchings - Harold Smith

Geoffrey Hutchings still has vivid memories of World War Two.

"I was born at the outbreak of the war and by the end we were living in Dorset, quite a similar setting to Foyle's War. I remember when the Germans bombed Coventry and before they hit the coast they dropped off all their bombs in pockets of the south west, not strategically but just to offload them.

"I was more frightened than excited where there were potential bombs. When the blackouts and sirens came we hurried under the stairs. Crouching there in the hallway was a country bomb shelter. The gasmasks were a bit strange, too, we had to take them everywhere.

"The Americans occupied Dorset and that was the first time I ever met any. Then I was evacuated from Dorset to Cornwall which was further away. My mother thought it might be better for me, so I was there for a few months during the summer."

Adds Geoffrey: "I think of the war years as my period. To me, a period piece is Restoration or Elizabethan, but younger actors talk of the war!"

In Foyle's War, Geoffrey plays Harold Smith, a man who meets Foyle (Michael Kitchen) after the death of his daughter."Harold Smith is a victim of circumstance. He is a nondescript, quiet man. He doted on his daughter and is badly affected by the unfortunate circumstances surrounding her death. The challenge of a character like this is to make him enigmatic and interesting and not give anything away.

"He wears very drab plain clothes - a Fair Isle sleeveless pullover, cap and dull raincoat. The characters in Foyle's War look like my father, as I do when I'm dressed in all the clothes."

Geoffrey's many TV appearances include Maigret, Cor Blimey!, Our Friends In The North, Midsomer Murders, Goodnight Mr Tom, Kavanagh QC, Monsignor Renard, Bad Girls and Holby City. His films include Wish You Were Here, Heart of Darkness, White Hunter Black Heart, Longitude and Topsy Turvy. He is an associate artist of the RSC and won an Olivier Award for best comedy performance in Poppy.

Adds Geoffrey: "I've recently done The Affair of the Necklace with Hilary Swank and Jonathan Pryce, and a Thomas Winterberg film, It's All About Love, starring Clare Danes."

Anton Lesser - Austin Carmichael

Anton Lesser was delighted to renew his 20-year working relationship with Michael Kitchen in Foyle's War.

"Michael and I first worked together in Jonathan Miller's BBC production of King Lear, back in 1982, then we did a lovely film about Freud together, and more recently we were both in Lorna Doone. It was lovely to have some scenes together in Foyle's War."

Anton plays Austin Carmichael, the curator of the Whittington Gallery in London, which houses a collection of priceless French Impressionist paintings and drawings. To protect the treasures in the war, Carmichael arranged to move them to Wales.

Says Anton: "Carmichael is pretty dapper and dandy and he's aware of how he looks. He's erudite and a bit of an intellectual who thinks his job is very significant in a grey world.

"He's a lover of beautiful things and anxious to protect them. He feels that there are people who appreciate beauty and those who don't. But he misjudges people - he starts off regarding Foyle as a philistine until he realises he is quite an aficionado. I think of him as a clever, but silly man."

While he was filming Foyle's War, Anton was also working on Peter Kosminsky's The Project for BBC1.

"I play an independent PR consultant - a spin doctor. It was good fun to do, although I don't know much about politics. My hair gets cut in the show from long to short, so the make-up department on Foyle's War had to work around that for Carmichael."

Anton's many other roles on TV include Waking The Dead, Peter Ackroyd's Dickens, Perfect Strangers, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Pure Wickedness, Vanity Fair, The Politicians Wife and The Mill on the Floss. His film work includes Charlotte Gray and Imagining Argentina.

On stage he has appeared in Art at the Wyndhams Theatre, Private Lives and The Birthday Party at the Royal National Theatre and the title role in Richard III at the RSC.

Adam Kotz - Henderson

Adam Kotz knows about the horrors of the Second World War only too well - his father was locked up in a war camp after joining the Polish Resistance.

"My dad was in the Polish army fighting against the Nazis. He ended up in a war camp and was in solitary confinement for a long time. He was very young and had a very hard war, but he was lucky. Only two of the 38 in my father's high school class survived.

"So many people in Poland had similar experiences so my father felt his story was nothing special.

"My mum is British but she was also involved as a dispatch rider in the WRENS. In her youth she was rather adventurous and I'm certain she was involved in taking messages for D-Day. There are photos of her leaping burning haystacks on her bike when they did trials to try and improve their skills.

"She was a bit special as a rider. I remember in 1975 a friend of the family came to see us on an old bike. Mum hadn't ridden for 30 years but we talked her into jumping on. She roared off down a hill and we didn't see her for a couple of hours."

In Foyle's War, Adam plays Henderson, a Special Branch Officer who becomes suspicious about Andrew Foyle (Julian Ovenden) while investigating the activities of his friend Bruce Leighton-Morris (Jamie Parker).

"He's a man doing his job in a climate of massive suspicion. He's hard nosed and doesn't make many friends. But the need for security is absolutely paramount because the fear of spies and sabotage is enormous. Within the paranoia of the time, no-one is above suspicion, especially as Andrew's new post at the radar station is very hush-hush."

Adam's other credits include Spooks, Midsomer Murders, Holby City, Perfect, Whistleblower, Band of Gold, Shot Through The Heart, All the Kings Men, Never Never, Driving Ambition and the films The Lost Battalion and Secret Passage.

"The Lost Battalion is the true story of a First World War battalion which survived against all odds. I play the charismatic commander who kept them together when they were lost behind enemy lines. Secret Passage is set in Venice in the 16th century and stars Tara Fitzgerald and John Turturro. I play the inquisitor who makes life awful for everyone."

With thanks to Shelagh for the publicity material.