BBC The Hour Episode 5

“It’s inappropriate, unprofessional and it must end.”

Such was Clarence’s verdict on Bel and Hector’s affair in this week’s episode of The Hour. Unsurprisingly, as they conducted the affair with about as much subtlety as a Strictly Come Dancing costume, everyone at the office knew of the liaison, and Clarence was not happy about it. Nor, it seems, was Hector, as the opening scene showed that Bel’s dependence on Freddie and Hector’s subsequent insecurity had put a strain on the relationship. Hector claimed that Bel was “more herself” when she was with Freddie.

Bel had a surprise visitor this week: Marnie Madden decided to pay a call, to warn Bel to keep her mitts off her man or else. Or words to that effect. In short Marnie, who was still trying to maintain a smiling façade, informed Miss Rowley that Hector had strayed many times before, although it was usually with young secretaries whose “little fingers” Marnie later had to prise from Hector’s arm. Poor defenseless Hector. According to Mrs Madden, Hector is merely “on loan” to Bel and “he always comes back”. Marnie said all of this with her usual frank sweetness; nonetheless it came like a slap in the face to Bel. It seems that pressure was coming to her from all avenues to break off the affair, as she later got a ticking off from Clarence in his office, the latter believing that her indiscretions could lead to the downfall of ‘The Hour’.

I think Bel wants to prove to everyone that she can be the ultimate power woman: having a successful career whilst maintaining a steady relationship with a man. However, her plan appears to be crumbling down: the affair with Hector is quickly souring and creepy Angus McCain hinted that funding for ‘The Hour’ may just dry up if they don’t present the government’s political views. Bel told him that the BBC preferred to be unbiased, allowing the opposition their say, and McCain could like it or lump it. Besides, she added, not everyone likes the government. Too true.


So what happened with Freddie and his investigation this week? Well firstly, he walked into his flat to find Lady Elms chatting with Mr Lyon Snr. (On a side note: does Freddie’s father own any clothes at all apart from his customary striped pyjamas?) Anyway, it transpired that Lady Elms had been lying in wait for Freddie, to tell him to stop phoning her and her husband. (Did this remind anyone else of the scene in the ‘Acafellas’ episode of Glee, in which Josh Groban confronted his die-hard fan Sandy Ryerson and told him, “Stop calling me…stop emailing me…stop sending me locks of your hair…”? Maybe Freddie should stop sending Lady E. locks of his hair… I digress, sorry.) Lady Elms asked Freddie to leave them alone in their grief, but Freddie promptly retorted, “That’s not grief, that’s shameful denial.” Freddie was also still being followed and Hector managed to help him evade his pursuers by giving him a woman’s headscarf to wear! When Freddie started to remove it once inside Hector’s car, Hector told him that “a woman never removes her hat in a gentleman’s car.” I can’t say that Freddie made a particularly fetching lady – probably not to Hector’s taste anyway…

So, what of the Brightstone mystery? Among all the political drama in this week’s episode, including violent street riots, Hector managed to get the truth (or at least part of it) from Angus McCain over a drink. This is how I interpreted it:

– Peter Darrell used to be a member of MI6, but was also a spy and a traitor, passing messages to the Soviets.

– Ruth Elms was Darrell’s lover and became pregnant by him, as well as becoming involved in his work for the Soviets.

– Thomas Kish, Angus McCain, Lord Elms among others were informed of Peter Darrell’s allegiance with the Soviets. Darrell was then killed.

– When Ruth’s parents discovered her connection with Darrell, and her pregnancy, they tried to marry her off to actor Adam le Ray. Le Ray was blackmailed into the arrangement – if he didn’t marry Ruth, his sexual preferences would be exposed. Was I right to infer that Adam and Angus were in a homosexual relationship together?

– The Soviets had a list of people who fulfilled the criteria of being young, smart, a bit of a rebel and opposed to the government, who would be willing to betray their country for them. These people were dubbed ‘Brightstones’. Peter and Ruth were on the list and in a shock revelation at the end of the episode by Lord Elms, so was FREDDIE! That would explain why Kish was after him, and why he is still being stalked.

What McCain didn’t explain was the ‘Revert to Brightstone’ coded message. My only guess is that Darrell knew Kish was on to him and wanted the powers-that-be to revert to another ‘Brightstone’ on the list – Ruth one presumes. Hopefully this will become clear next week.

Overall, another enjoyable episode. I really hope that Bel and Freddie get together by the end – there were more sweet moments between them this week and when Freddie phoned her in the middle of the night to ask why Ruth came to him for help, Bel told him that if she were in trouble, Freddie would be the first person to whom she’s run. Aaw!

Negative point: We still don’t know why the Mysterious Blue Urn was significant. I want to know!

Anyway, roll on the final episode next week – I’m going to miss this series when it finishes!

(Watermarked photos © BBC/


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alexandra Thérèse
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 00:03:20

    An excellent summary – great idea to bullet point what we found out in this episode, I felt that nothing much happened plot wise for the first half and then in the last 30 minutes they crammed in all the important stuff! Agree about the significance of the vase! Does it mean something or did the simply leave the camera on it for too long?! I wrote my own post about it a couple of weeks ago – mainly focusing on the costumes but also discussing the storyline – and I too want Bel and Freddie to finally get together! They is something… unspoken between them that connects them – something no one else has with either of them. I’m really hoping for a second series but I fear that falling viewing rates and bad reviews may cause it to be a one series wonder so I’m determined to enjoy it while it lasts!


  2. quit binge eating
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 09:50:45

    It’s arduous to find knowledgeable folks on this topic, however you sound like you realize what you’re speaking about! Thanks


  3. PBerne
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 22:33:42

    I inadvertently deleted this episode from my DVR! This summary is excellent! Thanks a million.


  4. source
    May 25, 2012 @ 17:02:18

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