The BBC may not have renewed The Hour for season three, but we have written the show a love letter anyway. If you haven’t seen it yet, here are 6 excuses to get you started.
Our hearts are broken, and BBC Two is to blame. The cause? BBC’s terrible decision not to renew The Hour, their brilliant period newsroom drama, despite being originally planned as three seasons. They dug the knife deep in an official statement that said “We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through.” Obviously they didn’t love it enough. Some fans have reacted by petitioning for a third season, but sorry BBC, we couldn’t hear you through our river of tears.
The Hour is a dream combination between Mad Men glamour and The Newsroom drama. Imagine Aaron Sorkin’s fast-paced team transported to London and running around in beautifully tailored suits, high-waisted trousers and perfectly fitted dresses. Like in any good period piece, the clothes themselves were almost like another character. But they didn’t overshadow the brilliant dialogue or twisting plots, instead it was a witty mash-up of two things we adore, but (kind of) better. Yes, we went there.
There is no argument that the beautiful Ben Whishaw is the key to this show. Did we say beautiful? Oh, you caught us. He delighted in Skyfall as nerdy hipster Q and made us fall in love as the poet John Keats in Bright Star, but this was his perfect role. He won our hearts as intelligent and idealistic reporter Freddie Lyon, who would absolutely risk everything to get the story. But Freddie was more than a reporter, he was a best friend and a competitor, he was charming, manipulative and endearing. And he spent a lot of time drinking copious amounts of tea and whiskey. What’s not to love?
Don’t let our extreme love of Ben Whishaw put you off, he had to really fight to stand out in such a wonderful cast. Romola Garai (The Crimson Petal and the White) and Dominic West (The Wire) made up the rest of this talented trio. Garai was resplendent as tough newswoman but social sweetheart Bel, while West brought depth to news anchor Hector who could have been completely one note. The supporting cast was equally brilliant, although the standout for us was Anna Chancellor as the fiercely wonderful Lix Storm. Not to mention, The Hour is a who’s who of British drama, you’ll be on IMDb with the rest of us wondering where you have seen them all before.
Sure, each episode contained it’s own story, but not at the expense of the overall season-long narratives – and there were multiple. News stories don’t come and disappear in real life, and they didn’t in The Hour. Both seasons reflected the political and social climate of the period, while illustrating real relationships between this tight knit group of people. The Bel and Freddie friendship was heartbreaking and hilarious, but it felt like the kind you could have in your own life (preferably with Ben Whishaw). Every character was necessary to the story, and with all of the twists and turns, what are you waiting for?
The level of detail that has gone into this show is amazing. From the clothes to the lighting and the set design, you will truly feel like you have been transported to a news studio in 1950s London. When you watch, check out the newspaper cuttings that paper Freddie’s corner of the office, or the dull haze of smoke that permeates almost every scene. Every decision is deliberate, and as with any good show, it is so good that you don’t really notice it – you just accept that this is the time period you are in. But take a closer look next time, and you will be amazed.
This is both a positive and negative to us. Because hey, we have already watched all 12 episodes and we now know that no more are coming. But to you, new viewer, see this as a challenge you can meet. You’re not agreeing to watch five seasons of Merlin, or ten seasons of Friends. 12 hour-long episodes are completely achievable, some of our staffers watch more TV than that in a single week. And don’t be put off by the sudden dropping of the show, yes we would have loved three seasons, but we believe the two they gave us were wrapped up pretty well (once you recover from the soul-destroying realization that it is over, which we haven’t yet).
We could keep expounding on our deep heartfelt love for The Hour, but while you are probably getting excited thinking “Wow, this sounds great and also this cast is highly attractive,” we have just reminded ourselves that it is all over. Thanks a lot BBC. So hurry up and watch this wonderfully crafted television show so that you can have an enriched life, but a destroyed soul.
So for now, you’ll just have to excuse us.
Note: GIFs from personal collection, sources unknown. If you are aware of their source, let us know so that we can give credit.