BBC The Hour Episode 6

Last night saw the final episode of The Hour. The episode could be summed up in one word: Tension. Firstly, there was tension between Bel and Clarence over what the team of ‘The Hour’ could and could not show on the programme. Bel wanted to show some controversial pieces. Clarence gave her a big fat NO.

Secondly, Hector confronted Bel in her office and said those three big words: “I love you.” However, to a flustered Bel, they didn’t seem all that important as her, as her rather scathing response was, “Is that the best you can do?” Apparently not, so Bel and Hector’s affair was finito. A third bout of tension came from trophy wife, Marnie Madden. Hector, it seems, had been copying Lix and sleeping in the office. Marnie sweetly asked her husband if he was planning to return home soon, and when he failed to answer, Marnie dropped her façade and gave Hector a blunt ultimatum: He could come home now, or she would divorce him. Good on her. Much as I like Hector, and I do, my sympathy for Marnie’s plight has grown with every episode and when she told Hector, “there’s only so much humiliation a girl can take”, I really felt for her. To top it all off for poor Hector, Marnie’s influential father gave him the “Think where your loyalties lie” speech. Ouch.

Ok, now on to Freddie for the fourth lot of tension. To begin with, a couple of MI6 men came into the office to question Freddie, and to advise him, for his own good, to leave Lord and Lady Elms alone in their grief. However, I think you can guess how much notice Freddie took of that. Yep, that’s right, none whatsoever. I am going to discuss the major developments in The Conspiracy nearer the end of this review.

Anyway, the main focus of the episode was on the news programme ‘The Hour’ itself. Creepy Angus McCain showed up at the studio to “supervise” and censor, if necessary, the content. Thus, when the programme started, let’s just say he was not best pleased… To begin with, they showed the footage of the London riots, with the people shouting “we won’t fight in Eden’s war”, and a shot of a policeman whacking a civilian over the head with a truncheon. Angus’s fake smile began to slide from his face… Then came Isaac’s sketch about the Suez crisis, for which the premise was a horse race between the Superpowers pushing to gain control. By this point, Angus was practically crushing his whiskey glass in anger. The final nail in the coffin was an interview with none other than Lord Elms, whom Freddie interviewed. Freddie asked him his opinion of the government and  Lord Elms said sadly, “All that I believed, all that I held true has been turned upside down.” His loss of faith in the government was of course due to the death of his daughter Ruth, and Lord Elms publically accused the government of being “liars and murderers”. Freddie launched into his long overdue speech, of which the gist was, “If we cannot question the government, we are not a democracy.” However, this was the last straw for McCain and the programme was shut down whilst Freddie was mid-word and Bel was promptly fired. It was the end of ‘The Hour’.

Now to sum up what we learnt of The Conspiracy in this episode, well, my interpretation of it anyway and please do correct me if I’ve got it all wrong!

  • Thomas Kish and Peter Darrell were sent on a secret mission to Egypt to assassinate President Nasser. The plan was to bribe Nasser’s dentist into poisoning him. Ruth Elms was to be the bait. Ruth agreed, as, being in love with Peter, she would have done anything he asked of her.
  • Ruth had been put on the Brightstone list by Darrell, so I guessed that she agreed to be involved in the assassination plan, thinking that she was going it as a Brightstone.
  • However, Peter Darrell was still working for MI6 and it was in fact the British government who wanted Nasser dead. When Ruth realised that this mission was for MI6 not for the Soviets, she then knew too much and was swiftly murdered.
  • Clarence was the Soviet agent working within the BBC (the sneaky devil – who’d have thought it? I’d only have been more surprised if it had been Isaac…or Sissy!). It was Clarence who put Freddie on the Brightstone list. Peter Darrell‘s “Revert to Brightstone” message was for Clarence to find a new spy, as Peter suspected that he would soon die. Clarence chose Freddie and burnt the coded cigarette paper to prevent it being traced back to him.

So, at the end of the episode:

  • Clarence told Freddie to run the story of him being a Soviet agent – “Tell the world what I am.”
  • Hector went back home with Marnie.
  • Isaac plucked up the courage to ask Sissy out for a drink, and she accepted – aaw!
  • Bel and Freddie had a bit of an “I hate you” “I hate you more” argument, but left the studio as friends.

Final thoughts on the series:

I enjoyed the showdown between McCain and co. and the team of ‘The Hour’, with the team flaunting their rule breaking in front of a live audience. The hopeless romantic in me would have liked to have seen Bel and Freddie get together, as it’s clear they really cared for each other (even if Freddie was more in tune with his feelings than Bel). However, in the context of the episode, it made more sense that they didn’t as she had only just broken up her relationship with Hector. But, the shot of them leaving the studio led me to hope that in the future, it may just happen. Perhaps in a second series? What do you think?

(Photo Credits © BBC/Laurence Cendrowicz)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. hotshot bald cop
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 02:33:13

    Thank you for a great post.


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