Oct. 2002
120 min.
ITV1 TV Network

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Foyle's War (UK) - 02x01 Fifty Ships

2x01 Fifty Ships

5/5 (1 vote)
First Aired: Nov. 16, 2003 on ITV1
Summary: When a dead body is found on Hastings beach the main suspects are an American multi-millionaire, an old flame of Sam's and a man that claims to be a Ditch refugee. Sam looks for a place to live when her house is destroyed by a bombing raid.

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Main Characters in this Episode

Guest Stars

Jenny Wentworth played by Rebecca Johnson (II)
Henry Jamieson played by Steven O'Donnell
Mrs. Esther Harrison played by Marlene Sidaway
Dr. Alan Redmund played by Clive Merrison
Colin Morton played by Paul Foster
Air Raid Warden played by John Rake
Kenneth Hunter played by Bryan Dick
Christopher Foyle played by Michael Kitchen

Episode Quotes

Howard Paige: You sound like a sore loser. You know what the French say? "C'est la guerre."
DCS Christopher Foyle: Precisely, Mr. Paige. "It's the war." And no war has lasted forever, and neither will this one. A year, maybe ten, but it will end. And when it does, Mr. Paige, you will still be a thief, a liar, and a murderer, and I will not have forgotten. And wherever you are, I will find you. You're not escaping justice, merely postponing it. Au revoir.
DCS Christopher Foyle: [after punching Henry] You know, I quite enjoyed that.
John Bishop: I'm very sorry I can't let you you arrest him.
DCS Christopher Foyle: Why?
John Bishop: Because of fifty ships, Mr. Foyle, out-of-date rusting ships with appalling armament and accommodation. Ships we may never actually use.
DCS Christopher Foyle: American ships?
John Bishop: Yes. We need the Americans, Mr. Foyle. They're the best friends we have. If we can't persuade them to provide us with arms, food, ammunition and all the rest of it, we will not survive.
DCS Christopher Foyle: Why do we need Howard Paige?
John Bishop: Whatever else he may be, Paige has been a great supporter of this country. The American Allies of England have made a huge difference. They've managed to broker a deal, that will almost certainly be the start of many more, they've created a lifeline that could last the entire war.
DCS Christopher Foyle: Starting with fifty ships?
John Bishop: Well, the ships are largely symbolic. You have to be American to understand their real significance. They get very emotional about it, giving away a piece of their navy to a foreign country. They even had to change their own laws to make it possible. But the point is, it opens the floodgates. By this one commitment, they will show the world whose side they're really on. America will become the arsenal of democracy, Mr. Foyle, nothing less.
DCS Christopher Foyle: And arresting him is going to compromise all this?
John Bishop: It would destroy it. The American Allies of England would lose all credibility at a stroke. The scandal would have repercussions you can't even begin to imagine. The ships might not even sail. Mr. Foyle, this isn't the first time you have crossed powers with military intelligence and I very much hope you will understand that the actions I've taken have been forced on me and not taken lightly.
DCS Christopher Foyle: What do you mean? Protecting him, lying on his behalf, searching my office, arresting Colin Morton because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time...?
John Bishop: Mr. Morton is in Whitehall. He is being interviewed...
DCS Christopher Foyle: And you will go on interviewing him, presumably until Paige is safely out of the country.
John Bishop: I don't like this any more than you do, Mr. Foyle. The man is a killer and should be hanged. But right now you can draw a direct line between Howard Paige and the outcome of this war.


  • Goof (factual errors): When Richard Hunter is in the pub another customer hands him a copy of The Eastbourne Chronicle - it's dated Wednesday September 14th 1940. Obviously this is a "mock-up" and whoever produced it didn't check their dates. September 14th 1940 was a Saturday.
  • Goof (anachronisms): The newspaper editor smokes filtered cigarettes. These were uncommon at the time and marketed chiefly to women. They would hardly be the smoke of a newspaper editor.
  • Goof (anachronisms): The date is September, 1940. Foyle goes into the local newspaper to get copies of photos taken at the site of a Nazi bombing. The editor says the photos have not been cleared yet by the government. As he is talking, and then after Foyle walks out, the editor is chain smoking, lighting one cigarette from another. Later, the American Howard Paige is also smoking. In all cases, they are filter cigarettes, which weren't in wide use until 1954. Throughout WWII, American soldiers were taught to "field strip" (shred) cigarettes so the enemy wouldn't know they were American cigarettes on the ground. They could do that with Lucky Strikes and Pall Malls, but filter tip butts are indestructible.
  • Goof (anachronisms): The photographer uses a Speed Graphic, an American camera. This would be improbable in itself, but the model (the "Pacemaker", easily identifiable by its white, rather than black, lens-board) was not marketed until 1947.
  • Goof (anachronisms): This episode is set in 1940, yet near the end, while Foyle is talking to the military intelligence officer and the American Paige is preparing to board the plane, there is a modern looking mess plaque of the Parachute regiment on the wall. This regiment was not formed until 1941.


  • At the beginning of the episode, the wallpaper in the bedroom of Sam (played by Honeysuckle Weeks) is the pattern 'Honeysuckle' by William Morris.
  • The comedy radio show that the desk sergeant listens to is It's That Man Again (known as ITMA) starring Tommy Handley. This was a staple radio show throughout the 1940s.
  • When Richard Hunter is in the pub reading the newspaper article about Howard Paige, another front page article describes the death on stage of an actress appearing in the Portsmouth Hippodrome. This incident actually occurred although it happened in 1936, not in 1940 as the newspaper indicates.
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