BBC ‘The Hour’ series 2, episode 1

(Dominic West as Hector Madden, Romola Garai as Bel Rowley and Ben Whishaw as Freddie Lyon.)

The Hour is back! We’re in 1957, so what’s changed?

Frazzled producer Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) is trying to keep ‘The Hour’ afloat in Freddie Lyon’s (Ben Whishaw) absence. There is a new Head of News, Randall Brown (Peter Capaldi) who so happens to be an old flame of Lix’s. That could be awkward.

(Peter Capaldi as Randall Brown.)

Hector Madden (Dominic West) is enjoying the perks of being a celebrity. You know what they say: “The brightest stars burn out the fastest.” Hector whiles many an hour away in El Paradis Club in Soho. There, he meets a young cabaret girl and prostitute, Kiki Delaine (Hannah Tointon). The poor girl end up badly beaten, and it seems from the trailer for the next episode, that Hector will be blamed. There are two poignant scenes featuring Kiki: 1) Kiki sits crying on her bath tub in a dank bathroom, tentatively inspecting her cuts and bruises. 2) Having covered up the worst of her injuries with makeup and a strategically placed hairstyle, Kiki performs on the club stage, watched by an audience of men, one of whom is her assaulter. There are three suspects: Hector (unlikely IMO), Kiki’s manager (looks shifty) and also an executive from ITV who shows an interest in Bel, despite being married. (What is it with Bel and married men?!)

(Hannah Tointon as Kiki Delaine.)

Not everyone is a fan of Hector’s new lifestyle, in particular Bel, Randall and Marnie (Oona Chaplin). Hector continually shows up on set seconds before the show goes on air, with such a blasé attitude that Randall eventually gives him an ultimatum: either he clears up his act or he clears out. Hector seems to be keeping his options open, as he is (figuratively) seduced by executives from ITV’s new rival news show, ‘Uncovered’. Will Hector abandon ‘The Hour’? Meanwhile, his poor wife, Marnie, is left at home, trying to be a model housewife which proves difficult as her husband is noticeably absent most of the time.

(Oona Chaplin as Marnie Madden and Dominic West as Hector Madden.)

In true irreverent, Freddie-style, Freddie Lyon makes a breezy reappearance in the middle of a staff meeting. Apparently he’s been travelling the world and has come back with 1) a dubious beard 2) a French wife. Bel is less than pleased about both, and is exceedingly shocked upon discovering the latter. I predict that Freddie’s new wife, Camille, will either be murdered before the series is out, or bog off back to her native country, leaving Freddie (temporarily) heartbroken. It’s pretty obvious that he still harbours feelings for Bel, but how does she feel about him? Is the revelation that Freddie is now married enough for her to realise that she loves him or is she just shocked that her best friend got hitched without telling her? A bit of both, I think. There is a fair bit of sexual tension between Bel and Freddie. I just wonder if this will ever be realised. Freddie seems calmer and more self-assured this time around, and I also love that he still calls Bel “Moneypenny”. Cute!

(Ben Whishaw as Freddie Lyon and Romola Garai as Bel Rowley.)

Randall is thrilled that Freddie is back on the scene, and immediately crowns him as co-host with Hector. Freddie is pleased, Hector is not. Freddie is eager to address real issues in Britain, such as the crime rate in Soho. I sense another conspiracy coming to light very soon… …

All in all, a great episode and a fantastic start to the new series. I can’t wait for Wednesday evening now!

(All photos ©BBC 2012.)

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Laura Vinci
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 20:25:24

    I love this too. It’s tight, great actors…even the “bit” parts are extremely well played.!

    Love the back stories of Lix and the new boss at news, Mrs Madden and her crazy baking !Ben Whitshaw and Dominic West, ever so different and ever so attractive!

    And the visuals and editing ! ! Right up there with the best of television !

    -p

    Reply

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