Friday, 1 July 2011

Trailer: THE HOUR (BBC2)

Friday, 1 July 2011

The BBC have released the first trailer of their '50s newsroom drama THE HOUR, written by BAFTA-winning Abi Morgan, starring Dominic West (The Wire), Ben Whishaw (Perfume), Romola Garai (Atonement) and Anna Chancellor (Spooks). The six-part drama follows a British topical news show during the Suez Crisis of 1959.

The official BBC blurb:

Romola Garai, Dominic West and Ben Whishaw star in The Hour, a thrilling six-part drama which takes viewers behind the scenes of the launch of a topical news programme in London 1956, written and created by Bafta award-winning Abi Morgan.

With a highly competitive, sharp-witted and passionate love triangle at the heart of the series, it's through the lives of enigmatic Bel and her rivals, Freddie and Hector, that viewers will witness the decade on the threshold of change—from the ruthless sexual politics behind the polite social façade of the Fifties to the revelations that redefined the world for a new generation.

Over the six episodes, the interplay and intense ambitions between our rising news team play out against the backdrop of a mysterious murder and Freddie's controversial and dangerous investigation.

Ben Whishaw plays Freddie Lyon, a brilliant and outspoken journalist, whose passion endlessly lands him in trouble. Getting to the truth of a story can be a dangerous and risky business and it's Bel, his contemporary and best friend, who is always there to bail him out. For Freddie, Bel is so much more as well—if only he were brave enough to tell her.

Romola Garai plays Bel Rowley, spirited and ambitious and facing the most exciting and daunting challenge of her life—running The Hour. Can her passion for the truth survive the political pressure the job will bring—and will her friendship with Freddie survive her undeniable attraction to front man Hector?

Dominic West plays Hector Madden, charming, charismatic – a man whose upbringing and education have instilled in him a sense of entitlement and whose glamorous young wife has the family connections to get him the job as front man on The Hour. But, beneath the confident façade, Hector has a lot to prove. Bel provides the challenge –- and the spark.

The Hour's supporting cast includes Tim Pigott-Smith and Juliet Stevenson as Lord and Lady Elms; Anton Lesser as Clarence Fendley, the BBC's Head of News; Anna Chancellor as Lix, The Hour's brave and maverick hard-drinking foreign correspondent; Julian Rhind-Tutt as Angus McCain, the Prime Minister's eyes and ears; and Oona Chaplin as Marnie Madden, Hector's spoilt beautiful wife.

I can only hope it's as good as it sounds, and not how this trailer makes it look. I'm all for minimalist pop-art, but this trailer just makes the show look horrendously cheap and dull. The buzz surrounding The Hour had insiders describing it as "the British answer to Mad Men", but we'll have to see if that's justified—or if they just share a professional setting in the same era. However, based solely on this trailer, my enthusiasm has dipped, sorry to say--how about you?

The Hour will premiere on BBC2 later this month.