Starring: Ben Whishaw , Romola Garai
Directed by: Harry Bradbeer , Coky Giedroyc
Produced by: Ruth Kenley-Letts
Written by: Abi Morgan
Have you ever wondered what happens in backrooms of TV news? Here's your chance to find out. This thrilling six-part drama focuses on a 1956 BBC news program and the competitive triangle involving dynamic producer Bel (Romola Garai, Emma), handsome and well-connected anchor Hector (Dominic West, The Wire) and fearless journalist Freddie (Ben Whishaw, The Tempest).
Item Number: 16283
• Behind-the-scenes featurette
• Era special on 1950s style
Romola Garai, Dominic West and Ben Whishaw star in The Hour, a thrilling six-part drama set in 1950s London when the BBC is about to launch an entirely new way of presenting the news. The dynamic Bel (Garai) is chosen to produce the new program, to be called "The Hour," with handsome and well connected Hector (West) set to become the anchor, much to the annoyance of Freddie (Whishaw), a brilliant and outspoken journalist, whose passion continually lands him in trouble. Over the six episodes, the interplay of intense ambitions between our rising news team play out against the backdrop of a mysterious murder and Freddie's controversial and dangerous investigation.
June 1956. BBC reporters and best friends Bel Rowley and Freddie Lyon spot their opportunity to be a part of a brand new current affairs program at Lime Grove Studios. But as Freddie's interview looms, a chance meeting with an old friend finds him pursuing a new story and thrusts him deep into the middle of a gripping adventure. Premieres Wednesday, August 17, 10:00p.m. ET.
The Hour is struggling; the ratings are down, the reviews are terrible and Hector and Freddie are bickering like children. As events escalate in Suez, Bel knows their only hope is to pull off a brave interview with an Egyptian diplomat, but is Hector up to the challenge? Meanwhile Freddie discovers a mysterious code which may well provide a clue to Ruth's death. Premieres Wednesday, August 24, 10:00p.m. ET.
A weekend invite to a shooting party at Hector's in-laws gives Freddie an opportunity to quiz Adam Le Ray on his relationship with Ruth, whilst Hector struggles with his ailing marriage and his growing feelings for Bel. At the office, suspicion about Tom Kish is mounting and Isaac's on the case. Premieres Wednesday, August 31, 10:00p.m. ET.
Its Freddie's birthday and the effects of Tom's death are still being felt around the newsroom. Two huge news stories are breaking but Freddie's disappeared and it's a newly confident Hector who's leading the charge. Meanwhile Bel and Hector's affair gathers steam and Isaac's got his eye on Sissy. Premieres Wednesday, September 7, 10:00p.m. ET.
The war in Suez has the country divided and McCain steps up his pressure on The Hour to tow a pro government line but with a huge anti-war protest gathering in London Freddie has other ideas. Meanwhile pressure mounts on Bel and Hector when news of their affair gets out and Lix helps Freddie with an important lead. Premieres Wednesday, September 14, 10:00p.m. ET.
The Hour is about to go live and there are tensions for all as they prepare to defy government instruction and deliver a controversial episode on the crisis in Suez. Freddie finally learns what happened to Ruth and Hector and Bel come to a decision on their affair. Premieres Wednesday, September 21, 10:00p.m. ET.
HECTOR MADDEN (Dominic West)
Born into a distinguished if distant family, Hector Madden is one of three sons brought up by his widowed father. Sent away to boarding school, Hector has a deeply rooted sense of entitlement. His upbringing and education has formed him into a charming and charismatic man and this makes him perfect for the role of presenter on The Hour.
Hector's marriage to Marnie was welcomed by her father, a lower middle class industrialist and member of the new post-war rich. Hector is desperate to prove himself and feels blighted by a marriage under strain. Bel provides the intellectual challenge and spark he has been searching for. Hector's deepest secret is that at heart he longs to escape the establishment and yet is frightened of placing himself outside of it.
BEL ROWLEY (Romola Garai)
Educated at a leading Ladies College, Bel Rowley is the daughter of Verda and Clive Rowley, a banker who she rarely sees. Verda, a former showgirl who married well financially, has spurned married life, stirring scandal by divorcing Clive after a very public affair. Throughout her life, Bel has been a good girl but her endless affairs with married men were quiet acts of rebellion. Over time she has come to the realization that she is simply mirroring her mother.
Freddie is her best friend and soul mate and she has grown so used to having him around that it's only within her new role as producer of The Hour that the friendship begins to shift and fundamentally change. Hector's charm and relaxed demeanor both attract and frustrate Bel. While others at first discount him, she sees a hidden passion in Hector and a potential for brilliance. However Bel's new found bond with Hector does not sit easily alongside her deeply embedded friendship with Freddie, will it eventually force Bel to re-evaluate her priorities?
FREDDIE LYON (Ben Whishaw)
Born and brought up in Notting Hill, home affairs correspondent Freddie Lyon is a grammar school boy who excelled. His mother, May, died two years ago, leaving him alone to cope with his father, Malcolm, who is struggling with dementia. Freddie is brilliant, more than he knows. Outspoken and often brighter than those he works with, his contemporary, Bel, is one of the few people who totally get him. A meeting of opposites, Bel sees in Freddie a similar determination to rebel against his upbringing and to forge a new life in a society free of the shackles of class and wealth.
An agitator and provocateur, Freddie has worked with Bel for the last four years and fallen in love with her, a fact he keeps close to his heart. Freddie has never had a committed relationship; this is in part due to his experience during the war as a teenage evacuee with the Elms family, and the impact living with the aristocracy had on him. Freddie affects a witty disregard for the upper classes and the world they represent, but when The Elms' daughter, Ruth, comes to him for help he is once more reminded of the guilt he felt on leaving her all those years ago.
CLARENCE FENDLEY (Anton Lesser)
Head of News, Clarence Fendley has worked for the BBC since the early ‘30s, having covered the Second World War in London. From a military family, Clarence is a thoughtful man. The Hour, born in part from his own desire to see the presentation of news change within the BBC, is also a vehicle for Clarence to bring together some of the best minds in the BBC. Clarence sees in Freddie a future Editor in Chief and his natural heir, though he keeps this information largely concealed from Freddie and those around him.
ANGUS McCAIN (Julian Rhind-Tutt)
Angus McCain is one of Prime Minister Anthony Eden's press advisors and as a liaison between the government and the BBC he seeks to maintain a firm influence over any politically sensitive programming. His loyalty to the Prime Minister is born out of a deep belief in Britain and everything it stands for. Single, McCain is discreet about his sexuality and though he has girlfriends it has been questioned in the past.
LIX STORM(Anna Chancellor)
An eminent war correspondent, Lix Storm is very comfortable in the world of men. Her quick wit and dry sensibility covers a series of deep scars, aware that her past is there to haunt her when she sobers up. Living on a constant cocktail of whisky and Gauloises, Lix anaesthetizes herself from the pains of the world and is a good and competent drunk. With the seizure of the Suez Canal, Lix sees a story that will challenge the country and its sense of empire and leaps at it, fearless and ready to put herself on the line.
ISAAC WENGROW (Joshua McGuire)
Freddie's assistant, Isaac Wengrow, is the youngest child and only boy in a family of five sisters all brought up in East London. The grandson of an orthodox Jew from Eastern Europe, Isaac is the first in his family to be born in Britain and his parents are fiercely proud of him, a young man with a great comic ear and with a yearning to write sketches for television. Finding a mentor in Freddie, Isaac is hugely impressed by his boss and wishes to emulate him. Isaac is also harboring a crush on Sissy that will challenge him through the course of the series.
SISSY COOPER (Lisa Greenwood)
Sissy Cooper is a giggler, a breath of fresh air and the least educated member of the team. And yet what Sissy lacks in education she makes up for with life skills and is a perceptive and resourceful secretary. Inspired by Bel, Sissy yearns for more but comes to see that her role as production secretary is key. A life force and a brilliant spirit, Sissy brings heart and humor to the office and can be relied upon by all of the team when it gets tough.
MARNIE MADDEN (Oona Chaplin)
Marnie Madden and her brother Ralph have never wished for anything in life. The indulged children of millionaire industrialist Wallace Sherwin, Marnie's life is on course when Hector gets the job on The Hour. She knows Hector doesn't love her as she loves him, but hopes with time and the influence of her father, that Hector will come to see what she can offer him. Over the course of the series, Marnie finds new steel when her marriage and future with Hector comes under threat and she faces Bel, a woman who is the opposite of everything that she aspired to be.
WALLACE SHERWIN (Ken Bones)
A rich industrialist, Wallace Sherwin made a fortune during the war supplying arms to the British forces for which he was duly rewarded after the war. Invited into the inner circle, Wallace lacks the class or education he now bestows on his children but sees in Hector an investment on which he expects a good return. Wallace has connections both in the world of politics and the BBC and is a quiet manipulator of proceedings.
DOUGLAS OWEN (John Bowe)
A long-serving newsman and now Director of Programs, Douglas Owen started his life in the Foreign Service. Moving into television news, Douglas has worked his way up as a product of the establishment. When faced with Eden and McCain's growing demands for control of the corporation, Douglas finds himself on another frontline where the battle lines between corporation and Westminster are as keenly drawn as they were in war.
RUTH ELMS (Vanessa Kirby)
Twenty one and beautiful, Ruth Elms, spent the year after finishing school at university where she met and was seduced by Peter Darrall, a brilliant academic and political mind. Young and idealistic, Ruth, despite her education and the relative affluence of her life, was deeply neglected as a child by her mother, and sought comfort in her busy father, a man who she could talk to but who gave her little time. Freddie was the lifeline in her early years and she grieved his absence. Now as her relationship with Peter destabilizes her life it's Freddie who she turns to once more.
LORD ELMS (Tim Pigott-Smith)
Lord Elms is an eminent lawyer and was a decorated soldier during the First World War. May Lyon, Freddie's mother, was one of his first secretaries and he stayed in close contact with her during the Second World War. A quiet benefactor to Freddie, Lord Elms took Freddie in and found in Freddie the son he never had. However an allegiance to the old world establishment has forced Lord Elms to make difficult choices in his life and he constantly kept those closest to him, including his daughter, at a distance.
LADY ELMS (Juliet Stevenson)
A cold and distant woman, Lady Elms is racked with denial, a woman who is fighting back the seeping guilt and grief she feels. She is unable to break the shackles of her privileged upbringing, having lived in India until marriage to her husband. Part of a dying generation and the old empire, Lady Elms disapproved of Freddie's presence when he was evacuated to live with them during the Blitz and was the harsh voice that wouldn't allow Lord Elms to let Freddie stay on after the war. Lord Elms has never truly forgiven her for the daily snobberies and the entrapped world that she forces them to live in.
|Freddie Lyon||---||Ben Whishaw|
|Bel Rowley||---||Romola Garai|
|Hector Madden||---||Dominic West|
|Thomas Kish||---||Burn Gorman|
|Isaac Wengrow||---||Joshua McGuire|
|Lix Storm||---||Anna Chancellor|
|Ruth Elms||---||Vanessa Kirby|
|Clarence Fendley||---||Anton Lesser|
|Lord Elms||---||Tim Pigott-Smith|
|Peter Darrall||---||Jamie Parker|
|Sissy Cooper||---||Lisa Greenwood|
|Malcolm Lyon||---||Robert Demeger|
|Professor Beckett||---||Nicholas Woodeson|
|Marnie Madden||---||Oona Chaplin|
|Angus McCain||---||Julian Rhind-Tutt|
Directed by Harry Bradbeer, Coky Giedroyc, Jamie Payne
Written by Abi Morgan
Produced by Ruth Kenley-Letts
Executive Produced by Jane Featherstone, Abi Morgan, Derek Wax
Original Music by Daniel Giorgetti
Cinematography by Chris Seager
Film Editing by Gareth C. Scales, Xavier Russell
Costume Design by Suzanne Cave
"BBC America's The Hour packs a lot into its hour and fifteen minutes...it's all very tantalizing." - The Perpetual Post
"The Most Complex and Absorbing Story Currently Playing on Any Screen." - The New Republic
"gorgeous new period series." - Entertainment Weekly
"The Hour will fly like minutes." - New York Press
"...seriously engaging historical drama." - The New Yorker
"...fascinating look inside the behind the scenes of an hour-long news program on British television in the ‘50s." - Examiner
"The Hour is generally time well spent." - Minot Daily News
"...stylish murder mystery political-conspiracy." - South Coast Today
"Acclaimed fifties-intrigue BBC series." - New York Magazine
"Those looking for a juicy summer drama can still clock in on The Hour." - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"...a slick mystery." - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"... an expertly constructed, wonderfully acted and (to judge without having seen the ending) wholly satisfying conspiracy thriller ... What makes it so engaging is not that the series finds anything new to twist, but that it works so well with and within the strictures of the well-thumbed genres it combines in equal parts: spy thriller, murder mystery, backstage drama, triangular romance. It is fresh and yet immediately familiar, cut new to classic lines, like a Savile Row suit or a little black dress. Morgan does not shy from the obvious; rather, she makes a playground there. There are characters whose fate you know within 10 seconds, though you like them, and fear for them, no less for it." LA Times
"... an engrossing if slow-grinding mystery/soap that doesn't pack enough thrills to earn its ‘thriller' designation but which proves addictive nevertheless. Although U.S. networks are braving period drama, they'll be hard-pressed to match this British import's invigorating plunge into Cold War paranoia. ... The series is smartly written, terrific-looking and well cast; its one drawback is that the meatiest parts of the plot unfold at such a deliberate pace. While that allows ample time to tease out relationships, halfway through the six-episode order, the audience still remains largely in the dark about what's really happening." Variety
"It is fresh and yet immediately familiar, cut new to classic lines, like a Savile Row suit or a little black dress. Morgan does not shy from the obvious; rather, she makes a playground there." LA Times
"... among the best of the genre. ... unlike the many sterile ‘Mad Men' knockoffs that American networks are bringing out in the fall, like ‘The Playboy Club' and ‘Pan Am,' this BBC series isn't a pale imitation of anything else on television. ... ‘The Hour' is so good that it seems far too short, and that makes its six-episode arc just right: Some of the most promising series, like ‘The Killing' on AMC, lose steam midway, slowing down too much ever to recover the initial exhilarating pace. The plot twists of ‘The Hour' can at times be puzzling, but the series is never dull. If only there were a few more minutes in ‘The Hour.' The New York Times
"...a great piece of drama." Hollywood Chicago
"... engaging yet taciturn ... This particular plot thread - Freddie loves Bel who cannot help but fall for Hector, and all the while there's a deadline to meet - tracks too close for comfort to "Broadcast News." But all is forgiven in Episode 3, when the gang journeys out to Hector's in-laws' estate in the country. Here, men dress for the hunt, women dress for cocktails, a mist settles across the hills, the mystery deepens and ‘The Hour' finds a nostalgic sweet spot after all." The Washington Post
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