BBC ‘The Hour’, series 2 episode 2

Sorry that this review has been a while coming.

Anyway, episode 2 of The Hour begins with Hector being arrested for supposedly assaulting Kiki Delaine. Hector swears he’s innocent, but Marnie says she’s not sure she believes him. Luckily for Hector, he is soon released. Marnie, however, does not welcome him back with open arms. Instead, she tells him that she intends for them to go their separate ways from now on, with regards to their private lives, whilst maintaining a public facade of marital harmony. Marnie is finally asserting her independence. She even auditions, successfully, for a cookery television show. I’m glad that Marnie has decided to live her own life, and not let Hector walk all over her anymore. I look forward to seeing how Hector reacts to the news of his wife’s new career.

(Dominic West as Hector Madden.)

Elsewhere, Freddie’s new wife, Camille, is upset when a yobbish teenage boy throws soot in her face for associating with a black man (Sey Ola, Cissy’s boyfriend).  Freddie tries to comfort her, but she says that she hates Britain and wants to go back to France. Later, she and Freddie get into a blazing row, and Camille accuses him of loving ‘The Hour’ more than he love her. Although Freddie insists to Bel that all is well in Paradise, I can’t help thinking that an irrevocable wedge is being driven between husband and wife. Will they weather the storm? It probably doesn’t help that Freddie’s solution to the soot-throwing issue is to invite both the boy, Trevor (who harbours some rather fascist opinions), and Sey Ola onto the set of ‘The Hour’ to discuss their views on immigration and race. Randall is scandalised. What! A fascist appearing on a BBC programme? AND, in front of members of the board? Surely not! However Freddie, being Freddie, manages to pull it off. When Bel and Freddie are discussing Freddie’s marriage later on, Bel says to him, “I wish you had consulted me before doing such a stu-…such a stu-…wonderful thing.” Freddie just looks at her hard and says, “And what would you have done?” He then walks away. Has Bel really missed her chance? Will she a pursue, instead, a relationship with Bill Kendall (who she discovers, via Lix, is a widower)?

Freddie and Bel work together in an attempt to find out the truth about Kiki. Who hit her? How did she end up posing for nude photographs? The first question is answered when we discover that she has a lover who is high up in the police force (if someone could please clarify for me who exactly the man is, his name at least, then that would be great!) It seems that this man does not like sharing Kiki with other men, and is less than pleased to learn of the existence of the nude photos. I predict more trouble for Kiki very soon. I only hope that Bel and Freddie can solve the mysteries surrounding her and her past before she gets hurt again. Or worse.

A final note on Hector: I can’t help feeling sorry for him. Sure, he can be an arrogant whatsit who expects everything in life to fall perfectly into place for him. Sure, he’s been a rubbish husband to Marnie. Still, it was sad watching him witness his life crumbling before his eyes. Freddie’s taking his job, Marnie has all but left him, he’s an alcoholic… I hope that his friends can rally together to help him get back on his feet, or I fear there’ll be a sad ending for Hector.

Another very enjoyable episode. Whishaw, Garai and West (as well as the rest of the cast) continue to impress, and I look forward to seeing how the various plotlines develop further.

(All photos ©BBC 2012.)

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BBC ‘The Paradise’ episode 2

Alrighty, the second episode of BBC2’s new period drama, The Paradise, aired last night. This episode features Lark Rise to Candleford’s Olivia Hallinan as Katherine Glendenning’s troubled friend, Jocelin. Jocelin’s erratic spending raises Denise’s suspicions: “a lady doesn’t usually buy the same hat in three different colours.” Katherine insists to Moray that Jocelin is fine, but shop boy Sam (Stephen Wight) is convinced otherwise. When Jocelin comes over faint in the middle of the shop, Sam manages to save her from the embarrassment of being seen publically in a moment of weakness. Jocelin later invites Sam to see her and tearfully confesses that she’s left her husband. She falls hysterically into Sam’s arms and kisses him, only for Lord Glendenning and Katherine (Elaine Cassidy) to walk in. Sam is blamed entirely. Katherine and her father demand of Moray Sam’s dismissal, but Moray is determined to hear the full story before making a decision. Sam is confined to the delivery yard, a fact which Pauline (Ruby Bentall) seems glad about: she clearly has a crush on Sam and is hurt when he slights her at the beginning of the episode. I’d like to think that, if Sam ever gets over his infatuation with Denise (Joanna Vanderham), he and Pauline would make a sweet pair. For the meantime, however, Denise’s uncle is trying to play the matchmaker. Maybe he thinks that if Sam and Denise get married then Sam will come and work in his draper’s shop and thus save him from destitution.

(Olivia Hallinan as Jocelin.)

(Stephen Wight as Sam.)

Eventually, Moray and Katherine learn the truth of Jocelin’s behaviour, and Sam is reinstated to his post. I felt sorry for Jocelin – she is trapped in a marriage to a man who apparently doesn’t know she exists and she cracked under the pressure of keeping up the appearance of domestic bliss. I hope that Katherine can continue to be a friend to her, so that she’ll have at least one person supporting her.

Another plotline running through the episode is Denise’s latest Big Idea. (Maybe I should keep a running tally…) This week she suggests to Moray that they hold a contest to crown the most attractive female customer Miss Paradise Pink. Moray is delighted with the idea, and seems, quite frankly, more than a little bit aroused. He’s very fond of whispering in Denise’s ear. I wish he wouldn’t. I’m not entirely sure why women are so keen on him. Yes, he is quite good-looking (minus the silly beard) but I find that he comes across as a bit sleazy. Perhaps it’s just me… Personally, I prefer Moray’s sidekick, Dudley (Matthew McNulty), and I wish they would give him more screen time. Anyway, as Denise doesn’t want Miss Audrey (Sarah Lancashire) to know that it was her idea, Moray proposes it to Miss Audrey, who unsurprisingly, thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread. (Did they have sliced bread in Victorian times?!) She is always utterly enchanted with any idea that Moray suggests, as she is with the man himself, judging by how she simpers whenever he comes into a room. Like most women in this programme. Miss Audrey does not have a head for innovation so of course relies on Denise to come up with the finer details of the Miss Paradise Pink contest. The lucky women is chosen by Moray at the end of episode, and I like that it is a nameless customer, rather than the corny choices of either Jocelin (to console her), Katherine (to show his devotion) or Denise (to reward the brains behind the operation/to make a public proclamation of his lust). I think Sam must be quite glad that Jocelin’s portrait isn’t going to haunt him for the rest of his career (the winner of MPP got to have a portrait of herself on the wall of the shop).

(Joanna Vanderham as Denise.)

It is evident that Denise is really the only person with a real eye for design and a good business head. Really, Moray should probably just let her run the place. Of course, if he marries her by the end of the series, she’ll get to rule over The Paradise by his side. We shall see.

Overall, another enjoyable episode, again featuring some lovely costumes. By the looks of the trailer for next week’s episode, Miss Audrey is going to clamp down on Denise’s Big Ideas. I look forward to seeing how she intends to manage without Denise’s help…it should be fairly amusing…

(All photos ©BBC 2012.)