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October 05, 2008

Let us go forward together


It may seem strange to think of May 1940 as a better time but I believe something like that sentiment explains the enduring popularity of Foyle's War. The writing, the acting and the production were superb, the latter taking extraordinary care with period detail. But beyond that was an evocation of the spirit of the time, a sense of how Britain pulled together in the face of adversity and a representation of decent people upholding the law in the face of cynicism, opportunism and despair.

If only this were the spirit of our age.

It was was great disappointment I learned the show was to be cancelled and to find Season 6 skipping lightly through two years of the struggle to make it to VE Day for the finale. But there has been a greater disappointment still. I think I can speak for almost every man who watched Foyle's War in saying I am a little in love with Samantha Stewart. Sadly, Honeysuckle Weeks is not quite the woman she played on tv.

Honeysuckle had a wonderful Foyle's War but she wishes Sam - and her knickers - had been sexier

Flea-readers are advised to consider carefully before following that last link; the image is indelible. Safer by far to click the following for a post-Foyle Honeysuckle interview. And some good news: ITV may revive Foyle's War.

Related: It is almost impossible to credit, but the BBC used to represent British interests. Take this response to Adolph Hitler's "Last Appeal to Reason", for example.

During a speech to the German Reichstag on 19 July 1940, Hitler gave Britain one last chance to make peace. Sefton Delmer, the future head and mastermind of British black propaganda, was just about to make his debut broadcast to Germany on the BBC when he heard the Führer's "last appeal to reason". Spontaneously, without governmental approval, Delmer tersely rejected any notion of a compromise peace. "Herr Hitler," Delmer announced, "you have on occasion in the past consulted me as to the mood of the British public. So permit me to render your Excellency this little service once again tonight. Let me tell you what we here in Britain think of this appeal of yours to what you are pleased to call our reason and common sense. Herr Führer and Reichskanzler, we hurl it right back at you, right in your evil smelling teeth . . ." The unofficial rejection upset a few Members of Parliament but Delmer's attitude was indicative of the new mindset in the country.

I believe the British people still believe much the same in our current circumstances. They have almost no voice in their Parliament and none at all in their press. God bless the memory of Sefton Delmer and God bless the internet.

"We English, as you know, are notoriously bad at languages," said I, talking my most impeccable German, "and so it will be best, meine Herren Engellandfahrer, if you learn a few useful English phrases before visiting us.
"For your first lesson we will take:
"Die Kanalüberfahrt… the Channel crossing, the Chan-nel cros-sing."
"Now just repeat after me:
"Das Boot sinkt... the boat is sinking, the boat is sin-king;
"Das Wasser ist kalt… the water is cold. Sehr kalt… very cold."
"Now, I will give you a verb that should come in useful. Again please repeat after me:
"Ich brenne… I burn;
"Du brennst… you burn;
"Er brennt… he burns;
"Wir brennen… we burn;
"Ihr brennt… you are burning."
"Yes, meine Herren, in English, a rather practical language, we use the same word ‘you' for both the singular and the plural:
"Ihr brennt... you are burning;
"Sie brennen… they burn."
"And if I may be allowed to suggest a phrase:
Der SS-Sturmführer brennt auch ganz schön… The SS Captain is also burning quite nicely, the SS Captain is al-so bur-ning quite nice-ly!"

Posted by Ghost of a flea at October 5, 2008 11:14 AM