The Hour

Series 2 - Episode 1

The Hour
Radio Times
Review by:
Alison Graham

The first series of Abi Morgan’s drama set in the questing early years of British television news was a strange, diffuse affair. Stylish, yes, but was there really any more to it? Probably not.

But here we are, back at the BBC’s Lime Grove Studios and it’s 1957; Britain is in the grip of nuclear-attack paranoia and the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 2 is orbiting the Earth. Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) is still producing The Hour but her new, terse head of news (brilliant Peter Capaldi doing a rumbling anti-Malcolm Tucker) prefers the ITV competitor, Uncovered. Handsome and louche anchor Hector Madden (Dominic West) is troublesome and routinely late for work having spent too long in smoky clubs, hugging whisky glasses and young actresses.

It all looks absolutely gorgeous but, though things feel more cohesive this time round, it’s still hard to fathom whether there remains less to The Hour than meets the eye.

About this programme

1/6. New series. The newsroom drama returns. It is November 1957 and a year has passed since The Hour was unceremoniously taken off air during the controversial interview with Lord Elms and much has changed. With the nation's attention focused on a perceived Soviet nuclear threat, Head of News Randall Brown (The Thick of It's Peter Capaldi) decides to shake up the team by bringing Freddie back. Bel wrestles with conflicted feelings at his return, but when Hector brings them an unexpected tip-off on a crime story, the trio find themselves with a potential scoop that could outdo rival programme Uncovered. Also starring Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai and Dominic West.

Cast and crew


Freddie Lyon
Ben Whishaw
Bel Rowley
Romola Garai
Hector Madden
Dominic West
Lix Storm
Anna Chancellor
Angus McCain
Julian Rhind-Tutt
Randall Brown
Peter Capaldi
Camille Mettier
Lizzie Brochere
Bill Kendall
Tom Burke
Marnie Madden
Oona Chaplin
Isaac Wengrow
Joshua McGuire
Sissy Cooper
Lisa Greenwood
Raphael Cilenti
Vincent Riotta
Laurie Stern
Peter Sullivan
Kiki Delaine
Hannah Tointon
Rosa Maria Ramirez
Hannah John-Kamen
Sey Ola
Adetomiwa Edun
Joe Cole
Det Attwood
Robert Whitelock
Minister Howard Satchell
Laurence Kennedy
McCain's young man
Max Fowler
Mrs Goldman
Gillian Raine
Mr Goldman
Alfred Hoffman
Floor manager
John Cummins
Society photographer
Dominik Golding
Book dealer
Peter Silverleaf


Sandra Goldbacher
Ruth Kenley-Letts
Abi Morgan