The Hour (2011– )

TV Series  -  Drama
7.9
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A behind-the-scenes drama and espionage thriller in Cold War-era England that centers on a journalist, a producer, and an anchorman for an investigative news programme.

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2012   2011  
Nominated for 4 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 36 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
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 Bel Rowley (12 episodes, 2011-2012)
...
 Freddie Lyon (12 episodes, 2011-2012)
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 Hector Madden (12 episodes, 2011-2012)
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 Lix Storm (12 episodes, 2011-2012)
Joshua McGuire ...
 Isaac Wengrow (12 episodes, 2011-2012)
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 Sissy Cooper (12 episodes, 2011-2012)
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 Marnie Madden (12 episodes, 2011-2012)
...
 Angus McCain (12 episodes, 2011-2012)
Paul Chahidi ...
 Ron (8 episodes, 2011-2012)
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 Clarence Fendley (6 episodes, 2011)
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 Randall Brown (6 episodes, 2012)
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 Raphael Cilenti (6 episodes, 2012)
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 Commander Laurence Stern (6 episodes, 2012)
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 Kiki Delaine (6 episodes, 2012)
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 Bill Kendall (6 episodes, 2012)
...
 Sey Ola (5 episodes, 2011-2012)
Robert Demeger ...
 Malcolm Lyon (5 episodes, 2011)
...
 Norman Pike (5 episodes, 2012)
Kirsty Mather ...
 El Paradis Dancer / ... (5 episodes, 2012)
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Storyline

A behind-the-scenes drama and espionage thriller in Cold War-era England that centers on a journalist, a producer, and an anchorman for an investigative news programme.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

17 August 2011 (USA)  »

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Connections

Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 19 July 2011 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Quality TV drama
30 August 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Review of Series One:

This decent BBC drama miniseries depicts the lives and loves of three journalists working for the corporation during the 1950s. The series gets off to a dodgy start with the first couple of episodes, mainly because the main characters are all so damn cold. It then gets a lot better as we get to know those involved, and by the end it's become a real blast.

Romola Garai's Bel is really the centrepiece of the whole production, the producer who attempts to hold it all together while making some huge mistakes along the way. Ben Whishaw's Freddie is a bit of an oddball at first, but his deepening involvement with the series' conspiracy undertones makes him a character to watch and, come the finale, he's the most interesting by far. Dominic West is faultless, as he has been in everything I've seen him in.

The attention to detail is impeccable, and I particularly enjoyed the way that world-shaping events have a key influence on the plotting. There's romance, drama, murder and humour in spades here, along with strong performances from both veterans (Anna Chancellor, Juliet Stevenson, Tim Pigott-Smith) and relative newcomers (Burn Gorman and Julian Rhind-Tutt are both particularly good).

There are occasional faults – the unravelling of the conspiracy storyline is over-complicated and muddled – but these can be easily forgiven. Altogether a compelling piece of literate TV drama, and I'm overjoyed to hear a second series has been commissioned.

Review of Series Two:

Series two of THE HOUR turns out to be an improvement on the first series, which was great to begin with: the performances are more natural, the storyline more tightly focused, and the sense of danger and impending deadlines far more pronounced.

The series boasts impeccable production designs, intriguingly interwoven plotting and some excellent performances. In this series, Hector is really put through the wringer, allowing the audience some more of Dominic West's finely mannered acting; Oona Chaplin, playing Hector's wife, also comes into her own as a fully developed, sympathetic character for the first time.

There are casualties: Romola Garai is utilised less well here, although Ben Whishaw is as charming as ever. The problem is that the focus is away from Garai, unlike in the first series, and she's given little to do. Everyone else seems to have deeper, stronger character stuff, whereas her screen time is limited to some corny romance that never goes anywhere.

There are missteps, too, not least Abi Morgan's attempt to give ALL of the main characters some emotional storyline, even the nerdy bespectacled comic relief guy. There's just not room for it, and bringing in a typically hissy Peter Capaldi doesn't work either; his sub-plot with Anna Chancellor just left me cold, getting in the way of the REAL story.

Still, these flaws aren't enough to ruin the enjoyment of this series, which just seems to get better and better with each episode. As with series one, it culminates in a remarkably tense and gripping final episode that leaves me hoping for third outing.


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