The Hour was a BBC drama series, written by Abi Morgan and starring Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, Romola Garai, Anna Chancellor, and Oona Chaplin. The series centred on a new current affairs show being launched by the BBC in June 1956, at the time of the Suez Crisis (a period setting which has led to comparisons with Mad Men). Bel Rowley (Garai) is the producer of the Show Within a Show; her friend Freddie Lyon (Whishaw) loses the presenter interview to well-spoken Eton boy Hector Madden (West) but she persuades him to stay on as a researcher. Meanwhile Freddie is suspicious about the reported suicide of an old friend, and when he starts to notice shadowy men following him around, it only confirms his suspicions.The most common criticism made of the show's first season was of thematic inconsistency; the two main threads of let's-run-a-groundbreaking-TV-show and let's-investigate-a-government-conspiracy had little to do with each other, and while both interesting in their own right sometimes gave the show a disjointed Wake Up, Go To Work, Save The World feel. One review called it "Drop the Dead DonkeymeetsSpooks". Season Two has taken on a more noir-ish feel, with the Soho underworld and police corruption as major arcs, along with the ever-growing nuclear threat. It has been highly praised by critics - especially the addition of Peter Capaldi to the main cast as new head of news Randall Brown.Premiered on BBC Two on 19 July 2011 and on BBC America in August. The second series started on BBC Two on 14 November 2012. The show was cancelled in 2013. A campaign to bring it back was launched on Tumblr, with a petition at Change.org. As of September 2013, it's won an Emmy for Best Writing for a Miniseries or Movie.
Freddie: Ecstatic. We wouldn't want to be anywhere else...with anyone else.
Hector and Marnie finally get there by the end of Season Two, proving their marriage isn't just one of convenience, despite Marnie's infidelity and Hector's inability to have children.
Marnie: I think - no, I'm, I'm sure . . .
Hector: Sure you're what?
Marnie: Three weeks gone. (starts to cry) Hector?
Hector: Well, isn't that wonderful? (embraces her) Isn't that what you've always wanted? Aren't you clever, getting what you wanted?
From the same episode, Bel and Freddie kissing.
Berserk Button: Randall presses Bel's when he springs Freddie's return on her unsuspectingly. Do not undermine Bel Rowley, or make her look bad in front of her people.
Freddie has a fairly large one about people trying to cover up the truth and silence him.
Blackmail: In Season Two, this is a huge theme. Rafael Cilenti runs El Paradis as a honey trap, getting major politicians and celebrities caught with his girls in order to blackmail them. The cover-up extends to Hector - sleeping around on Marnie with Kiki - and the police force (of which Laurie Stern and the Commissioner of Police himself are part of).
Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Randall pulls this one on Angus in 2.05. He'll destroy the pictures of Angus and his male lover in exchange for information about the nuclear deal that Cilenti brokered. But don't call it "blackmail", he's simply informing Angus of options.
Blitz Evacuees: Freddie stayed with the Elms family during the war, which is how he met Ruth.
Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: Thanks to the show being cancelled before a third series, series two ends with Freddie's life hanging in the balance after having been brutally beaten up.Abi Morgan later stated that had it been recommissioned, Freddie would have survived.
The Chanteuse: Kiki. Rosa Maria, her understudy, wants to be one too.
Chick Magnet: Hector. Fame has its privileges; shame that he's actually married.
Clear My Name: Hector is accused of beating Kiki in 2x02. Zig-zagged in that Bel does help him, Marnie takes her time but eventually bails him out, but no one is entirely sure if he's guilty or innocent until Kiki recants live on The Hour and names the man who did beat her up - Commander Stern.
Cold War: Fears of Russian spies, the development of Britain's own nuclear deterrent and civil defense procedures all feature prominently.
Driven to Suicide: Commander Stern in the series two finale, after Kiki/Patricia exposes him on the show.
Eleventh Hour Ranger: In the Season Two finale, it's Angus McCain who comes to The Hour's rescue, providing the verification they need about the nuclear scandal and convincing Randall to put Kiki on the air. He then becomes Kiki's unofficial PR handler, keeping the press at bay.
Everybody Smokes: Invoked/lampshaded; Isaac tries to take it up because "everyone else does".
Family Versus Career: Season Two reveals that, nineteen years ago, while she was a war journalist in Spain, Lix got pregnant with Randall's child, and gave the girl up for adoption because she wouldn't have been accepted back in England as a single mother with a child.
Faux Affably Evil: Rafael Cilenti, the proprietor of El Paradis, puts up a front of being a friendly affable guy, but the gloves come off whenever he's threatened with exposure of his blackmailing and profiteering business.
Lix and Randall are dancing around them in series two.
Heroic BSOD: Randall utterly breaks down in a heart-wrenching fashion when he and Lix find out that their long-lost daughter had been killed during an air-raid in 1940.
Lix has one as well, though hers is silent when she's refusing to leave Randall, and she later ends up crying in the toilets alone.
Holding the Floor: Freddie does stall Pike and Cilenti from going out to find Kiki long enough for The Hour to go on the air but it's subverted in that while Freddie might have saved Kiki's life, he may not have saved his own.
As of the Season Two finale, they've stopped denying this.
Karma Houdini: Mr. Pike. He never answers for any of the crimes he commits onscreen during the second series - the racially-motivated vandalism he pays the young fascists to do, murdering Rosa on Mr. Cilenti's orders, the brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Freddie (which may or may not have killed him) - and it's implied that he's going to take over El Paradis when Mr. Cilenti is arrested again.
The Lad-ette: Lix, who drinks every man in the station under the table.
Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Bel Rowley and Lix Storm play the types straight - blonde Bel is more guileless and sweet where dark-haired Lix is more sarcastic and tough.
Kiki Delaine and Rosa Maria Ramirez play with the trope in S2. Blonde Kiki looks sweet and virginal, but she's anything but, where Rosa Maria looks the obvious Femme Fatale, but turns out to be more fragile and honest.
Love Dodecahedron: Meanwhile, Marnie really does seem to love Hector, Freddie has a brief fling with Lix, and off to the side Angus is involved with Adam, and gets him engaged to Ruth Elms to cover up her affair with Peter Darryl.
It gets further complicated in Season Two: Bel is still holding a torch for Freddie, who married a girl in Paris and has brought her back to England. Meanwhile, Hector is continuing to cheat on Marnie with Femme Fatale Kiki, said Femme Fatale has Hector's friend Laurie - who is also a commander in Scotland Yard - on a hook, Angus has a new boy-toy and a beard (his cousin Vera), and Lix and Randall have a mysterious past together that involves the Spanish Civil War and their long-lost daughter Lix gave up for adoption.
Silk Hiding Steel: Very few viewers would have pinned this as being part of Marnie's character, but Series 2 demonstrates she's more than capable of being a strong and independent woman. Bel shows signs of this, too, and Kiki may just grow into this, if her interview in the finale is any indication.
Stepford Smiler: We know from day one that Marnie has it down to a science, but Lix has multiple moments when she shows that she isn't all whiskey and sarcasm. Kiki also has aspects of it, especially when it comes to Cilenti, as does Rosa Maria with Pike.
Super OCD: There are hints that Randall has it, with his constant fiddling with the things on his desk, rearranging the clippings on the cork boards, and lining up all the thumbtacks in order. When he finds out that his daughter with Lix was killed during the second World War, he slowly - and then frantically - tries to rearrange the things on his desk before he gives up and just sweeps everything away before breaking down.
Team Mom: Lix, who treats the rest of the journalists as if they were her squabbling children. Which makes her backstory of the daughter she gave up for adoption doubly tragic.
Technician Versus Performer: In the news-presenter category, Hector is the performer, reading the copy and relying on his natural charm to sell the stories. Freddie is the technician, the real journalist who believes passionately in speaking the truth and chasing the stories no one else wants to chase.
The Dog Bites Back: 2x02 gives Marnie Madden a chance to ream out her husband, informing him that while she may be bailing him out of jail, their marriage is effectively over. In public, they will be happy and loving, but in private, she doesn't give a damn what he does.
Mr. Pike in the Season Two finale. After Mr. Cilenti is exposed, he wastes no time in taking over El Paradis. The smirk he gives Cilenti as he's arrested for the kidnapping (and possible murder) of Freddie says it all.
The Teetotaler: Randall. It's subtle, but you can see he's drinking orange juice at the pub with Angus, coffee/tea with Lix, and that he always talks about his alcoholism in the past tense.
Those Wacky Nazis: The British Fascist Party, along with a number of young members, are integral to the plot of Season Two.
Tomato in the Mirror: The penultimate episode of Season One has Freddie realizing that he was a Brightstone.
Uncertain Doom: In the last scene of the Season Two finale, it is uncertain if Freddie survives the horrific beating he was subjected to.
Waistcoat of Style: In Season One, Freddie spends most episodes in a rather nice knitted one. He switches to a classier one for Season Two.
Hector and Randall wear them in Season Two as part of their period three-piece suits.
War Is Hell: Various characters speak about their experiences in war, demonstrating this trope. Hector and Laurie both have PTSD from World War 2, and Lix's quote below talks about her experiences during the Spanish Civil War:
That photo, it was taken just outside of Madrid. They were one of the last to surrender in '39. She was running away from her house, leaving everything, a row of men being executed just behind that door. Among them her husband. She - she didn't look back. It was irritating, I had my camera in my hand, trying to find a film. They had been shot, those men, one by one, and all I could think of was 'I've got no bloody film'.
Wham Episode: The Season Two finale. Lix and Randall find out that their daughter they've been searching for all season (and in Randall's case, years) had been killed in an air-raid almost twenty years ago, Bel and Freddie share their first kiss, and Marnie tearfully reveals to Hector that she's pregnant (with what must be another man's child; unbeknownst to her, Hector is infertile and can't ever have children with her). At the same time The Hour delivers one of its greatest shows ever (Kiki clearing Hector's name, exposing the profiteering off the arms race, AND implicating Laurie Stern in one swoop, which causes Stern to escape prosecution by bullet to the head), Freddie is brutally beaten by Mr. Cilenti and left to die practically on the doorstep of The Hour itself, his (possible) last words being 'Moneypenny' as Bel runs to him. Did we mention that during that last part, there's a voice-over of Bel reading a letter she never sent to Freddie, where she reveals that she does love him and begs him to come home?
Women Are Wiser: Bel, Lix, Marnie, Kiki, and the other ladies on the show have it much more together than any of the men.
Working with the Ex: Hector and Bel. Lix and Randall. The former get over their relationship, the latter seem to be somewhat picking up where they left off.
Your Cheating Heart: Hector. His wife is fully aware of it, telling Bel that she's the latest in a long line.
Marnie tearfully reveals in the Season Two finale that she was unfaithful as a result of Hector's neglect, and that she's pregnant with her lover's baby. In the previous episode, it was heavily implied that Hector thought that Marnie and her producer were having an affair.