Plot: “A behind-the-scenes drama and espionage thriller in Cold War-era England that centers on a journalist, a producer, and an anchorman for an investigative news programme.” (imdb.com)
Creator: Abi Morgan
Stars: Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, Dominic West, Anna Chancellor, Peter Capaldi, Oona Chaplin
The Hour is a BBC drama series about a group of journalists and their new weekly show about current affairs, launched by the BBC in 1956. The show contains 2 series, 6 episodes each.
The characters: Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw) is a brilliant and rebellious reporter, he loves his job and is really damn good at it. Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) is an ambitious and well-educated producer, Freddie’s best friend and one of the few women with such a high position. Hector Madden (Dominic West) is a handsome and well-connected man who gets the job as chief anchor of The Hour. Lix Storm (Anna Chancellor) is a former war correspondent who’s now the head of foreign news. Marnie Madden (Oona Chaplin) is Hector’s wife, the perfect picture of 1950s stay-at-home wife; she puts up with Hector’s antics and infidelity and never complains. Her character development is pretty amazing.
One of my favourite things about this show is Freddie and Bel’s relationship, which has its ups and downs over the years. It is evident from the first episode that they both care and love each other very much but none of them is brave enough to make the first step. Bel somehow always chooses unavailable men (including Hector) while Freddie doesn’t pursue anyone. Sometimes it’s frustrating to watch, you just want to lock them in a room and tell them to sort it out. Things get resolved in the last episode of the second series but, unfortunately, we never got to see Bel and Freddie in a proper relationship because the show was cancelled. I’m still angry about that, I really wanted to see those two finally together.
I also love the female characters of this show: Bel Rowley, Lix Storm and Marnie Madden. Bel is a clever, kick-ass lady producer who won’t take shit from anyone; she’s good at her job and she knows it. She’s doing what was then considered to be “a man’s job” and she has to be extra tough in order to survive in such an environment. Lix is also another strong female character and she has a quite interesting backstory. And lastly, I really like Marnie’s character development in the second series; she becomes more independent and stands up to Hector. Also, she always wears the prettiest dresses.
The costumes are fantastic, kudos to the Costume and Wardrobe Department. The show revolves around political events and mysteries and secrets and it’s all terribly exciting. Ben Whishaw is exceptional as always, that boy can do no wrong. Romola Garai and Dominic West are also wonderful and so is everyone else. Compelling performances, amazing costumes, deft storytelling; The Hour is such an interesting show it almost seems too short. Unfortunately, the show was axed by the BBC after its second series, ending it with a major cliffhanger. However, if you enjoy a good period drama then you’ll definitely like this one. Enjoy!