The Hour (2011-2012)

In Amazing, BBC, Crime, new, period drama, political, Recommendation, Review, romantic, series, Uncategorized on 25/08/2011 at 8:37 pm

The expectations were high when The Hour was announced in 2011: a 1950s journo-political thriller drama with Romola Garai (The Crimson Petal and the White) in the lead. Wow… and the general consensus was that we’re all very much looking forward to the next series. Well into season 2 in 2012, The Hour has only got better.

This is what I said about the first series:

The Hour does what I think BBC (mini)series are getting uniquely good at: combining several serious real-life topics with very good acting and real suspense. No lazy cliff-hangers, but a story that needs unfolding. By serious topics I refer to how the media were controlled by government and how difficult it was for journalists to break free, the unpopular UK war over the Suez canal, women’s emancipation, and finally, the ever returning class differences in England.

Romola Garai is Bel Rowley, the producer of the fictional first ever BBC background news programme The Hour. She is brave in taking the challenge, as she’s constantly patronised for being a woman. Bel is strikingly real: she shows her insecurities yet has her strengths. She also has doubts, passions, modesty and falls in love with ‘the wrong man’. She is adored by her good friend Freddy (Ben Wishaw), who is a truly idealistic and passionate journalist who’d do anything to get to the truth, even if it costs him his life. Freddy naturally frowns upon the handsome, upper-class presenter of the show, Hector Madden (Dominic West), who needs to prove himself to be more than just another pretty face. My favourite character has to be Lix Storm (Anna Chancellor). This woman embodies all the clichés of a devoted journalist, complete with drinking whisky from tea cups and sleeping in the office, whilst maintaining professionalism, witty wisdom and charm.

The most gripping part of the first series was the fight of the few true journalists against the politically suppressive system of the time.  Then there is romance, there is a Soviet spy to be uncovered, a mysterious murder to be solved and a controversial war breaking out. Too much? Nah. They pulled it off.

In 2012 I can but add that The Hour continues to be driven by its strong points: exploring the idealism of the time, power play and intriguing personal dynamics. The characters all got more interesting, and the plot is engaging as ever. The Hour is easily one of this year’s absolute best dramas. Oh, and Peter Capaldi is in it too!



  1. I really liked this show too, particularly Anna’s character.

  2. […] an influential Leveller and in this series Angelica’s second husband – Dominic West (The Hour) as Oliver Cromwell,  the much praised performance of Peter Capaldi as Charles I and Maxine Peak […]

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