Michael Kitchen

Last updated

Michael Kitchen
Michael Roy Kitchen

(1948-10-31) 31 October 1948 (age 72)
OccupationActor, television producer
Years active1971–present

Michael Roy Kitchen (born 31 October 1948) is an English actor and television producer, best known for his starring role as Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle in the ITV drama series Foyle's War between 2002 and 2015. He also played the role of Bill Tanner in two James Bond films, and that of John Farrow in BBC Four's comedy series Brian Pern .


Early life

Kitchen was born in Leicester, Leicestershire. As a boy (c. 1960) he was head chorister in the Church of the Martyrs choir, where he was a regular soloist. He attended the City of Leicester Boys' Grammar School, where he appeared on stage in a production of Cymbeline . [1]

He worked with the National Youth Theatre and the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry before attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In 1969, while still at RADA, he won the "Emile Littler Award" for 'outstanding talent and aptitude for the professional theatre'.[ citation needed ]


Television and film

Kitchen was discovered at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) by talent agent Peter Froggatt. In the early 1970s, Kitchen appeared in small roles in films such as Unman, Wittering and Zigo (1971) and the Hammer film Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) before becoming a fixture of British stage and television.

His early TV appearances include roles in Man at the Top (episode 4 "The Prime of Life", 1970) Play for Today (Hell's Angels by David Agnew, 1971), Thriller (1976), The Brontes of Haworth (1973, in which he played Branwell Bronte), Tales of the Unexpected and Beasts . He played the role of Martin in the original 1976 production of Dennis Potter's Brimstone and Treacle , Peter in Stephen Poliakoff's Caught on a Train , Edmund in the BBC Television Shakespeare production of King Lear , the Antipholi in the same series' production of The Comedy of Errors , Private Bamforth in the 1979 BBC television play of The Long and the Short and the Tall . [2] Also in 1979 Kitchen appeared in an episode ("Runner") of the hard-hitting police drama The Professionals . [3] He played the role of Duffy, a renegade former member of an organised crime network.[ citation needed ]

His other roles at this time include Larner in the film Breaking Glass (1980), Rochus Misch in The Bunker (1981), Berkeley Cole in the film Out of Africa (1985), the King of the United Kingdom in To Play the King (1993), an English land agent during the Irish Famine in The Hanging Gale (1995), and a recurring role as Bill Tanner in the Bond films GoldenEye (1995) and The World Is Not Enough (1999). [2]

His later films include The Russia House (1990), Fools of Fortune (1990), Enchanted April (1992), The Trial (1993), Fatherland (1994), Doomsday Gun (1994), The Hanging Gale (1995), Kidnapped (1995), Mrs Dalloway (1997), The Railway Children (2000), Proof of Life (2000), Lorna Doone (2001) and My Week with Marilyn (2011). [4]

From 2002 to 2015, he starred in the ITV mystery-drama Foyle's War as the lead character DCS Christopher Foyle, [5] also being a producer for the show. [2] His other noted appearances include The Buccaneers as Sir Helmsley Thwaite (1995), Dandelion Dead (1994), A Royal Scandal (1996), The Last Contract (Sista Kontraktet, 1998) a Swedish film about the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, Paul Abbott's Alibi in 2003, Andrew Davies' dramatisation of Falling in 2005, ITV's three-part drama series Mobile (2007) and Channel 4's phone hacking comedy Hacks (2012). [6]

Kitchen has guest-starred in roles in other popular British television shows such as Minder , Chancer , Inspector Morse , A Touch of Frost , Between the Lines , Pie in the Sky and Dalziel and Pascoe . [6]

He played Richard Crane in Reckless and John Farrow in the mockumentary The Life of Rock with Brian Pern . [2]


Kitchen is also a noted actor in British theatre. His roles have ranged from Ptolemy in Caesar and Cleopatra at the Belgrade Theatre in 1966, to Will in Howard Brenton's Magnificence at the Royal Court in 1973, to William Hogarth in Nick Dear's The Art of Success in 1986–87. [7] [8]

He played Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet for the RSC at Stratford and was a member of the National Theatre Company and the Young Vic, where he played Iago in Othello . In 1974 he appeared at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre in the play Spring Awakening opposite Peter Firth, Jenny Agutter, Beryl Reid and Cyril Cusack. Later he appeared opposite Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land , directed by Peter Hall. [9] In 1981 he played Melchior, the manservant of Zangler, in Tom Stoppard's play On the Razzle . [10] In 1984 he played the cabin steward Dvornicheck in Tom Stoppard's play Rough Crossing . [11] [12]



1971 Unman, Wittering and Zigo BungabineDrama
1972 Dracula A.D. 1972 GregHorror
1974King Thrushbeard and the Proud PrincessKing ThrushbeardTV film
1975 Savages Carlos EsquerdoTV film
1976 A Divorce LaurenceTV film
1978 No Man's Land FosterTV film
1980 Caught on a Train Nameless traveller
Breaking Glass LarnerDrama, Musical
Bedroom Farce NickTV film
1981 The Bunker Rochus MischTV film
1985 Out of Africa BerkeleyRomantic drama
The Browning VersionFrank HunterTV film
Love SongWilliam HatchardTV film
1989 Dykket BricksThriller
1990 Fools of Fortune Mr QuintonRom-Com
The Russia House CliveThriller
1991The War That Never Ends2nd Athenian representativeTV film
1992 Enchanted April George BriggsDrama
Hostage FredericksAction thriller
The GuiltySteven VeyTV film
1993 The Trial BlockThriller
1995 GoldenEye Bill TannerThriller
1997 Mrs Dalloway Peter WalshRomantic drama
1998 The Last Contract ("Sista Kontraktet")John Gales alias Ray LambertThriller (Swedish)
1999 The World Is Not Enough Bill TannerAction adventure
2000 New Year's Day RobinDrama
Proof of Life Ian HaveryThriller
The Railway Children FatherTV film
2011 My Week with Marilyn Hugh PercevalBiopic drama
2013 Clowning Around Clive Davies, Head of Clowns (voice over)Short film


1970Thirty-Minute TheatreWaller1 episode: Is That Your Body?
1971Man at the TopTrevor1 episode: The Prime of Life
Z Cars Royal Hall2 episodes
1972ITV Sunday Night Theatre1 episode: The Web
New Scotland YardPeter Coppard1 episode: Hoax
1973Country MattersHenry Batley1 episode: The Four Beauties
Late Night TheatrePaul1 episode: Susan
Crime of PassionPhilippe Villon1 episode: Chantal
The Brontes of Haworth Branwell Brontë 4 episodes
Orson Welles Great Mysteries Herbert White1 episode: The Monkey's Paw
Love StoryRoy1 episode: Audrey had a Little Lamb
Marked PersonalSimon2 episodes
1974 Fall of Eagles Leon Trotsky 2 episodes
Seven Faces of WomanArchie1 episode
ThrillerIan/George Newton2 episodes
1975Centre PlayThe Student1 episode: The Imp of the Perverse
Churchill's People John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester1 episode
1979The ProfessionalsDuffy1 Episode: "Runner"
1984Weekend PlayhouseEd1 episode: As Man and Wife
FreudErnst von Fleischi-Marxow3 episodes
1989MinderMaltese Tony1 episode: Fiddler On The Hoof
The Justice GameTim Forsythe4 episodes
Theatre NightDavid1 episode: Benefactors
Screen OneBill English1 episode: Home Run
1991 Chancer Roman2 episodes
1992BoonDonald Blake1 episode: Shot in the Dark
Lovejoy David Herbert1 episode: Kids
Inspector Morse Russell Clark1 episode: The Death of the Self
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Lloyd George1 episode: Paris, May 1919
The Good GuysGraham Croxley1 episode: Old School Ties
To Play the King The King4 episodes
1994Shakespeare: The Animated TalesPolixenes/ Narrator2 episodes
Dandelion DeadMajor Herbert Rowse Armstrong4 episodes
Pie in the Sky Dudley Hooperman1 episode The Best of Both Worlds
1995The BuccaneersSir Helmsley Thwaite5 episodes
The Hanging Gale Captain William Townsend4 episodes
1996 A Touch of Frost Jonathan Meyerbridge1 episode: The Things We Do for Love (1996)
1997Harry Enfield and ChumsDavid the Director1 episode #2.6
Reckless Richard Crane6 episodes
Sunnyside FarmLetchworth6 episodes
1998 Dalziel and Pascoe Philip Swain- Bones and Silence (1998)
1999 Oliver Twist Mr Brownlow4 episodes
1999-2002 Always and Everyone Jack Turner18 episodes
2000Masterpiece ClassicFatherepisode: The Railway Children
The Holocaust on TrialProf. Richard Evans
The Secret World of Michael FryHerbie2 episodes
2000–2006 Faking It Narrator7 seasons
2001Second SightLord Bruce RoddamEpisode: "Parasomnia", (Parts 1 & 2)
2002–2015 Foyle's War Christopher Foyle28 episodes
2003Faking It USANarrator
2003AlibiGreg BrentwoodTV film
2007MobileDavid Westepisode: The Soldier
2012White HeatJack (Present Day)episode: The Sea of Trees
2014 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern John Farrow8 episodes
2016 The Collection Frederic LemaireThe Scent (2016)
2017Brian Pern: A TributeJohn Farrow

Related Research Articles

Tom Stoppard British playwright

Sir Tom Stoppard is a Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter. He has written for television, radio, film, and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, Travesties, The Invention of Love, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Felicity Kendal English actress

Felicity Ann Kendal is an English actress, working principally in television and theatre. She has appeared in numerous stage and screen roles over a more than 50-year career, but the role that brought attention to her career was that of Barbara Good in the 1975 television series The Good Life.

Diana Rigg British actress

Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg was an English actress of stage and screen. Some of her notable roles were as Emma Peel in the TV series The Avengers (1965–1968); Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, wife of James Bond, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969); Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones (2013–2017) and in her performance as Medea on Broadway and in the UK.

Scaramouche Stock clown character of the commedia dellarte

Scaramouche or Scaramouch is a stock clown character of the 16th-century commedia dell'arte. The role combined characteristics of the Zanni (servant) and the Capitano, with some assortment of villainous traits. Usually attired in black Spanish dress and burlesquing a Don, he was often beaten by Harlequin for his boasting and cowardice.

Anita Dobson is an English stage, film and television actress, and singer. She is best known for her role from 1985 to 1988 as Angie Watts in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. In 1986, she reached number four in the UK Singles Chart with "Anyone Can Fall in Love", a song based on the theme music of EastEnders. She is married to Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May.

Rufus Sewell British film, television, and theatre actor

Rufus Frederik Sewell is an English film and stage actor. In film, he has appeared in Carrington (1995), Hamlet (1996), Dangerous Beauty (1998), Dark City (1998), A Knight's Tale (2001), The Legend of Zorro (2005),The Illusionist (2006), Amazing Grace (2006), The Holiday (2006), Paris, je t'aime (2006), Judy (2019) and The Father (2020).

Christina Cole British actress

Christina Cole is an English actress known for portraying Cassie Hughes in the Sky One supernatural television series Hex.

Tom Hollander English actor

Thomas Anthony Hollander is an English actor. He began his career in theatre, winning the Ian Charleson Award in 1992 for his performance as Witwoud in The Way of the World at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. He is known for his role in About Time, and in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean and In the Loop and drama films such as Enigma, Pride & Prejudice, Gosford Park, and Hanna, additionally portraying George V in The Lost Prince and The King's Man. He co-wrote and played the lead role in the sitcom Rev., which won the British Academy Television Award for best sitcom in 2011. He also played the lead in the ITV's Doctor Thorne and won the BAFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Major Lance "Corky" Corkoran in the BBC series The Night Manager.

Douglas “Dougie” James Henshall is a Scottish television, film and stage actor. He is best known for his roles as Professor Nick Cutter in the science fiction series Primeval (2007–2011) and Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez in the crime drama Shetland (2013–present).

Guy Henry (actor)

Guy Henry is an English actor whose roles include Henrik Hanssen in Holby City, Pius Thicknesse in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2, Gaius Cassius Longinus in Rome and Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One.

<i>On the Razzle</i> (play)

On the Razzle is a play by Tom Stoppard which premiered at the Royal National Theatre, London in 1981. It is an adaptation of the 1842 Viennese play Einen Jux will er sich machen by Johann Nestroy, which had been adapted twice by Thornton Wilder. The first Wilder version, 1938, entitled The Merchant of Yonkers, was faithful to the original material, but the second Wilder version, 1955, renamed The Matchmaker, expanded the previously secondary role of Dolly Gallagher Levi, who later became the heroine of the Jerry Herman musical hit, Hello, Dolly!. Stoppard's adaptation eliminates the Dolly character.

Adrian Philip Scarborough is an English actor.

David Ryall English actor (1935-2014)

David John Ryall was an English stage, film and television character actor. He had leading roles in Lytton's Diary and Goodnight Sweetheart, as well as memorable roles in Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective and Andrew Davies's adaptation of To Play the King. He also portrayed Billy Buzzle in the ITV sitcom Bless Me, Father and Frank in the BBC sitcom Outnumbered.

David Hugh Jones was an English stage, television and film director.

Nicholas Le Prevost is an English actor.

Tom Goodman-Hill

Tom Goodman-Hill is an English actor of film, television, theatre and radio.

Geoffrey Michael Chater Robinson is an English retired stage, television and film actor. He is known for crime drama and detectives series such as Foyle's War and Midsomer Murders

Bernard Gallagher

Bernard Gallagher was an English actor known for his stage work, including with the National Theatre and the Royal Court; and his many appearances in television soap operas and dramas. He was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Wallas Eaton

Wallas Eaton, sometimes credited as Wallace Eaton or Wallis Eaton, was an English film, radio, television and theatre actor.

The Brian Pern documentaries is a British comedy spoof-documentary series about a fictional ageing rock star, Brian Pern, the former frontman of the 1970s progressive rock group Thotch. The series is written by Rhys Thomas and Simon Day, and stars Day as Pern, with Michael Kitchen, Paul Whitehouse and Nigel Havers in supporting roles.


  1. Michael Kitchen interview in The Leicester Mercury, 13 August 1992; retrieved 19 March 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Michael Kitchen". BFI.
  3. "The Professionals - S3 - Episode 5: Runner". Radio Times.
  4. "Michael Kitchen | Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
  5. "Michael Kitchen | TV, Documentary and Other Appearances". AllMovie.
  6. 1 2 "Michael Kitchen | TV Guide". TVGuide.com.
  7. "Magnificence". Concord Theatricals.
  8. "Michael Kitchen | Theatricalia". theatricalia.com.
  9. "ROB WILTON THEATRICALIA - National Theatre 1970s". Phyllis.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  10. On the Razzle by Tom Stoppard. Published 1981 by Faber and Faber, Ltd. ISBN   0-571-11835-6
  11. Rough Crossing by Tom Stoppard. Published 1985 by Faber and Faber, Ltd. ISBN   0-571-13595-1
  12. "Rough Crossing". Sff.net. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2014.