Michael Kitchen

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 Foyle's War, which comprised eight series 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.

Michael Kitchen
Michael Roy Kitchen

(1948-10-31) 31 October 1948 (age 74)
Leicester, England
Occupation(s)Actor, television producer
Years active1971–present

Early lifeEdit

Kitchen was born in Leicester. As a boy 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]


Television and filmEdit

Kitchen was discovered at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) by talent agent Peter Froggatt. In the early 1970s, he 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 Brontë), 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.[4]

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).[5]

Between 2002 and 2015, he starred in the ITV mystery-drama Foyle's War as the lead character DCS Christopher Foyle;[6] he was also a producer for the show, which comprised eight series.[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' dramatization of Falling in 2005, ITV's three-part drama series Mobile (2007) and Channel 4's phone hacking comedy Hacks (2012).[7]

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.[7] 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 theatre actor. 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.[8][9]

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.[10] In 1981 he played Melchior, the manservant of Zangler, in Tom Stoppard's play On the Razzle.[11] In 1984 he played the cabin steward Dvornicheck in Tom Stoppard's play Rough Crossing.[12][13]

Personal lifeEdit

He has been married to Rowena Miller since 1988.[citation needed] They have two children.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1971 Unman, Wittering and Zigo Bungabine Drama
1972 Dracula A.D. 1972 Greg Horror
1974 King Thrushbeard and the Proud Princess King Thrushbeard TV film
1975 Savages Carlos Esquerdo TV film
1976 A Divorce Laurence TV film
1978 No Man's Land Foster TV film
1980 Caught on a Train Nameless traveller
Breaking Glass Larner Drama, Musical
Bedroom Farce Nick TV film
1981 The Bunker Rochus Misch TV film
1985 Out of Africa Berkeley Romantic drama
The Browning Version Frank Hunter TV film
Love Song William Hatchard TV film
1989 Dykket Bricks Thriller
1990 Fools of Fortune Mr Quinton Rom-Com
The Russia House Clive Thriller
1991 The War That Never Ends 2nd Athenian representative TV film
1992 Enchanted April George Briggs Drama
Hostage Fredericks Action thriller
The Guilty Steven Vey TV film
1993 The Trial Block Thriller
1994 Fatherland Max Jäger TV film
1995 GoldenEye Bill Tanner Thriller
1997 Mrs Dalloway Peter Walsh Romantic drama
1998 The Last Contract ("Sista Kontraktet") John Gales alias Ray Lambert Thriller (Swedish)
1999 The World Is Not Enough Bill Tanner Action adventure
2000 New Year's Day Robin Drama
Proof of Life Ian Havery Thriller
The Railway Children Father TV film
2011 My Week with Marilyn Hugh Perceval Biopic drama
2013 Clowning Around Clive Davies, Head of Clowns (voice over) Short film


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Thirty-Minute Theatre Waller 1 episode: Is That Your Body?
1971 Man at the Top Trevor 1 episode: The Prime of Life
Z Cars Royal Hall 2 episodes
1972 ITV Sunday Night Theatre 1 episode: The Web
New Scotland Yard Peter Coppard 1 episode: Hoax
1973 Country Matters Henry Batley 1 episode: The Four Beauties
Late Night Theatre Paul 1 episode: Susan
Crime of Passion Philippe Villon 1 episode: Chantal
The Brontes of Haworth Branwell Brontë 4 episodes
Orson Welles Great Mysteries Herbert White 1 episode: The Monkey's Paw
Love Story Roy 1 episode: Audrey had a Little Lamb
Marked Personal Simon 2 episodes
1974 Fall of Eagles Leon Trotsky 2 episodes
Seven Faces of Woman Archie 1 episode
Thriller Ian/George Newton 2 episodes
1975 Centre Play The Student 1 episode: The Imp of the Perverse
Churchill's People John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 1 episode
1979 The Professionals Duffy 1 Episode: "Runner"
1981 Tales of the Unexpected Arthur S4 E4: The Best of Everything
1984 Weekend Playhouse Ed 1 episode: As Man and Wife
Freud Ernst von Fleischi-Marxow 3 episodes
1989 Minder Maltese Tony 1 episode: Fiddler On The Hoof
The Justice Game Tim Forsythe 4 episodes
Theatre Night David 1 episode: Benefactors
Screen One Bill English 1 episode: Home Run
1991 Chancer Roman 2 episodes
Mozart on Tour Reader of Mozart's letters 13 episodes
1992 Boon Donald Blake 1 episode: Shot in the Dark
Lovejoy David Herbert 1 episode: Kids
Inspector Morse Russell Clark 1 episode: The Death of the Self
1993 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Lloyd George 1 episode: Paris, May 1919
The Good Guys Graham Croxley 1 episode: Old School Ties
To Play the King The King 4 episodes
1994 Shakespeare: The Animated Tales Polixenes/ Narrator 2 episodes
Dandelion Dead Major Herbert Rowse Armstrong 4 episodes
Pie in the Sky Dudley Hooperman 1 episode The Best of Both Worlds
1995 The Buccaneers Sir Helmsley Thwaite 5 episodes
The Hanging Gale Captain William Townsend 4 episodes
1996 A Touch of Frost Jonathan Meyerbridge 1 episode: The Things We Do for Love (1996)
1997 Harry Enfield and Chums David the Director 1 episode #2.6
Reckless Richard Crane 6 episodes
Sunnyside Farm Letchworth 6 episodes
1998 Dalziel and Pascoe Philip Swain - Bones and Silence (1998)
1999 Oliver Twist Mr Brownlow 4 episodes
1999-2002 Always and Everyone Jack Turner 18 episodes
2000 Masterpiece Classic Father episode: The Railway Children
The Holocaust on Trial Prof. Richard Evans
The Secret World of Michael Fry Herbie 2 episodes
2000–2006 Faking It Narrator 7 seasons
2001 Second Sight Lord Bruce Roddam Episode: "Parasomnia", (Parts 1 & 2)
2002–2015 Foyle's War Christopher Foyle 28 episodes
2003 Faking It USA Narrator
2003 Alibi Greg Brentwood TV film
2007 Mobile David West episode: The Soldier
2012 White Heat Jack (Present Day) episode: The Sea of Trees
2014 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern John Farrow 8 episodes
2016 The Collection Frederic Lemaire The Scent (2016)
2017 Brian Pern: A Tribute John Farrow
2020 The Kemps: All True Harvey Stickles


  1. ^ Michael Kitchen interview in The Leicester Mercury, 13 August 1992; retrieved 19 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Michael Kitchen". BFI.
  3. ^ "The Professionals - S3 - Episode 5: Runner". Radio Times.
  4. ^ Campbell, Martin (8 December 1979), Runner, The Professionals, retrieved 4 February 2023
  5. ^ "Michael Kitchen | Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
  6. ^ "Michael Kitchen | TV, Documentary and Other Appearances". AllMovie.
  7. ^ a b "Michael Kitchen | TV Guide". TVGuide.com.
  8. ^ "Magnificence". Concord Theatricals.
  9. ^ "Michael Kitchen | Theatricalia". theatricalia.com.
  10. ^ "ROB WILTON THEATRICALIA - National Theatre 1970s". Phyllis.demon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  11. ^ On the Razzle by Tom Stoppard. Published 1981 by Faber and Faber, Ltd. ISBN 0-571-11835-6
  12. ^ Rough Crossing by Tom Stoppard. Published 1985 by Faber and Faber, Ltd. ISBN 0-571-13595-1
  13. ^ "Rough Crossing". Sff.net. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2014.

External linksEdit

Acting roles
Preceded by Bill Tanner actor
from the James Bond films

1995 – '99
Succeeded by
Preceded by "Father" actor
from The Railway Children

Most recent