I really liked this series!
Yes it got some bad write ups, yes sometimes the dialogue slips up, yes it’s not 100% historically accurate about the mid-1950s, yes the Bel annoyed the crap out of me but I loved it! (and the daily mail hates it so it must be good!)
If anyone who hasn’t seen it (shame on you) the series centres on a new current affairs show called The Hour being launched by the BBC in June 1956, at the time of the Suez Crisis. It isn’t the british Mad Men but the sets and costumes are just as lovely and it’s got a pretty stella cast!
Filmed at the Lime Grove Studios (which is the original home of Doctor Who!) what could have been another period soap became a spy murder mystery thriller!
The Female lead (loosely based on Grace Wyndham Goldie I believe) Bel Rowley played by Romola Garai, is a woman breaking the glass ceiling of the fifties to lead a new topical news show (the hour). She spends half her time working out how to get around the government’s news gag and the other half ruining her career by messing around with a married co-worker. Garai made such a fantastic clothes horse even vogue noticed! Each episode there was another dress to lust over…
The love-sick best friend, Freddie Lyon played by Ben Whishaw, who half of the time fights against the Government’s gag with Bel the other half investigating the murder of an old family friend which spirals out of control with spies and all.
And Hector Madden played by Dominic West as the handsome yet incompetent host who’s wife’s Daddy is a big-wig at the BBC. He forms the third side of the love triangle between Bel and Freddie.
Though the people I enjoyed the most were the supporting characters
Hector’s wife, Marnie Madden played by Oona Chaplin who squares up to her husband’s mistress…
Clarence Fendley played by Anton Lesser as the Head of News who ends up being quite a naughty man but does the more BRILLIANT dressing down of Bel in his office pointing out the stupidity of her affair
as put brilliantly by the guardian…
Bel and Hector’s illicit romance was a nice garnish, but when Clarence finally pulled Bel into his office to give her an abrupt dressing down over the affair, I almost stood and cheered. If only he had done it in episode three so Bel’s character could have been more involved in the plot rather than simpering at her married colleague.
Angus McCain played by the brilliant Julian Rhind-Tutt as the slimy, sexist, secretly gay press advisor and as a liaison between the government.
And my absolute favourite character Lix Storm played by Anna Chancellor (duck face!) as war correspondent who got all the best lines and not enough screen time…
“Whisky is god’s way of telling us he loves us and wants us to be happy.”
I felt the series was too short with only 6 episodes but thankfully its been picked up for another one! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for when that blesses the screen again! Now I just need something to fill the hole its left behind!