What a fab idea for a series is The Hour taking us back, as it does, to the golden age of British television and 1956 at the BBC’s Alexandra Palace studio in particular. Rising stars Ben Whishaw and Romola Garai take the leads as a pair of reporters, Freddie Lyon and Bel Rowley, who tired of working on fluff pieces for the daily newsreels take up an offer to join the challengeing new news and current affairs show The Hour. Freddie and Bel have been best friends for some time and Freddie is more than a little put out by how well Bel immediately gets on with The Hour’s main man Hector Madden.
As the pair settle into the team Freddie also finds himself caught up in a murder investigation that as he investigates further leads him into a world of political cover ups and conspiracy.
Abi Morgan is one of our best writers and there is some wonderfully smart dialogue at play here, the “love triangle” between Freddie, Bel and Hector runs right through the heart of the series and it is the interplay between the three of them backed by an era that is in a real state of change that makes the series so clever. The murder mystery angle is a good way of building the tension too, classic TV fans will also find much too enjoy in the depiction of the era.
Season two picked up the action in 1957 and Freddie Lyon, having been away travelling for a few months is now the somewhat surprise choice of co-host on The Hour, Bel is still single and Hector Madden has become something of a celeb.
UK | BBC 2 – Kudos Film and Television
RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes | NUMBER OF EPISODES: 12 | AIRDATES: Tuesday 19 July – 23 August 2011 (season one) and
WRITER: Abi Morgan | PRODUCER: Ruth Kenley-Letts | DIRECTOR: Coky Giedroyc
BEN WHISHAW as Freddie Lyon
ROMOLA GARAI as Bel Rowley
DOMINIC WEST as Hector Madden
ANTON LESSER as Clarence Fendley
ANNA CHANCELLOR as Lix Storm
JULIAN RHIND-TUTT as Angus McCain
JULIET STEVENSON as Lady Elms
JOSHUA McGUIRE as Isaac Wengrow
TIM PIGOTT-SMITH as Lord Elms
BURN GORMAN as Thomas Kish
JOHN BOWE as Douglas Owen
OONA CHAPLIN as Marnie Madden