The Hour

Series 2 - Episode 1

ADVERTISEMENT

Review

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.

Summary

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.
Drama