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Timless drama's welcome return.

THE TV series M*A*S*H famously lasted longer than the Korean War during which it was set; ITV's retro cop drama Heartbeat saw the late 1960s span a good 18 years or so; and Bart Simpson is forever fated to be a 10-year-old boy.

With these examples in mind, it's actually unusual to have a series which doesn't stand still - particularly those set during the past. That's what makes Foyle's War so unique. Anthony Horowitz's drama began in 2002 as a Second World War-set crime drama series, which earned fans thanks to its frank depiction of life at the time: Michael Kitchen's hero cop was serving on the home front thanks to his age; Honeysuckle Weeks made for a convincing Land Girl and more than made an impact on the cases when she became the titular character's chauffeur; Anthony Howell's Sgt Milner, meanwhile, was kept out of the conflict after losing a leg in Trondheim.

Rather than remaining rooted on the spot, though, it evolved. Now, as the ninth series kicks off, we catch up with Foyle and his cohorts quite some years on from where we first found them.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, all kinds of questions are being asked of industrialists who were accused of fuelling Hitler's War Machine. Meanwhile, the black market was in full swing, and any attempt to untangle it ended up pointing towards some of the Special Operations Executive's darkest secrets.

This precarious political landscape was what gave rise to the Cold War, and it's here that we find Foyle and friends, as they investigate the American oil companies who worked closely with IG Farben (Germany's biggest oil company) to provide fuel essential for the Nazis.

Touching on such iconic historical moments as the Nuremberg trials and the lesser known story of thirty executives from IG Farben who built their own concentration camp near Auschwitz called Monowitz, the plot pulls no punches.

Foyle is drawn into their world when a university Professor is found dead in a park after working as a translator in Germany. It looks like he may have been bribed into taking information back to England for a suspected Nazi war criminal. When the suspect is found dead, though, Foyle is under no illusion about whether or not foul play is behind the academic's murder.

Meanwhile, Sam decides to step up her role at work, and volunteers for a risky undercover job. Foyle, unaware of her pregnancy, agrees that Sam is more than a match of the risky assignment.

It wasn't too long ago that it looked like Foyle's War was done for - it was only after unprecedented viewer complaints that a decision to axe the show was overturned.

These days, we're happy to report it's held in far higher regard by the powers that be - ITV's Head of Drama Series, Jane Hudson, says: "We are delighted to see the return of Foyle's War to ITV. Anthony Horowitz has written three outstanding episodes and the audience are in for a real treat."

CAPTION(S):

Samantha Stewart (played by Honeysuckle Weeks), and Christopher Foyle (played by Michael Kitchen) head to post-war Germany

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jan 3, 2015
Words:526
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