April 24, 2008


Farewell, Foyle (Simon Hoggart, 23rd April 2008, The Spectator)

Foyle's War (ITV); Age of Terror (BBC2)

So it’s goodbye to Foyle’s War (Sunday, ITV), for the time being at least. The series seems to have been cancelled not because it was no good; it was, for a TV ’tec drama, superb. Nor because it had poor ratings — they were huge for today’s crowded television schedules. The reason seems to be that it had the wrong kind of viewers, people who remembered the war or, increasingly these days, people who were born to people who remembered the war. It is a given of marketing that the young are the only target advertisers should bother to attract, since they are deemed to flit from brand to brand like binge-drinking butterflies. Older people are presumed to be set in their ways. No doubt some are. But many are prepared to use their larger incomes to switch from one brand of car to another, to try new drinks, new toilet cleansers and new places to go on holiday. However, marketing is a ju-ju science, much like astrology, and its practitioners need to insist they are never wrong because if you examined their work carefully you would discover that they were rarely right.

There is talk that Foyle may be back in, no doubt, something called Foyle’s Austerity with episodes about stolen ration books and doctors who don’t want to join the NHS. I have a suggestion which might solve ITV’s conundrum. Have him take part in a reverse Life on Mars or Ashes to Ashes. Injured in a crash, hit amidships by an ancient Humber, he wakes up several decades in the future. Here he is shocked to discover the rules of modern policing, as well as coping with drug dealers and people traffickers in a world full of WKD cocktails and hedge-fund managers. I’d love to see him walk into an All Bar One wearing that Homburg and that overcoat.

...is that for us American viewers there is another season of Foyle's War to look forward to and, even better, there are more Inspector Lewis's than just the one Mystery! has shown. Lewis's sidekick may be the best since himself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 24, 2008 7:04 PM

Be nice to see Foyle again.

Posted by: erp at April 25, 2008 9:14 AM