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Characters / The Hour

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    The Hour Production Team 

Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw)

Freddie is an idealistic BBC journalist who believes in investigative objective journalism. He is part of the original production team formed for The Hour (along with Bel, Lix, and Isaac) and moves over to the show from their previous positions in the radio department. He's originally given the Home Affairs desk rather than the role of producer or presenter that he hoped for, but he slowly works his way into on-camera presentation. At the end of Season One, he leaves the country for his own safety after meddling in Cold War spy secrets before coming back as a Co-Presenter for Season Two with a wife in tow. At the end of Season Two, his fate is ambiguous, having been brutally beaten by club owner Rafael Cilenti.

  • Affectionate Nickname: Calls Bel "Moneypenny", and she calls him "James" in return. Amusingly enough, Ben Whishaw went on to play Q in Skyfall which reintroduced both Moneypenny and Q to the Bond franchise.
  • Always Someone Better: He and Hector make a two-way version of this trope. Freddie feels ever-inferior to Hector's charm, upper class privilege and military decorations, and Hector considers himself to always be a lesser than reporter than Freddie. Hector also seems to envy Freddie's Determinator nature.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: asking these is his strongest suit as a journalist, lampshaded more than once by Hector.
  • Betty and Veronica: In the second season, the trope is played quite straight with his triangle with Bel and Camille.
    • Inverted and downplayed in the first season, with Bel as Archie, Hector as Veronica and Freddie as Betty.
  • Blitz Evacuees: Freddie was sent away during World War II and stayed with the Elms family, employers of his mother, which is how he met Ruth Elms.
  • Determinator: like most Intrepid Reporter types, he is 100% relentless.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: With Camille. Freddie was in France for a few months at most.
  • Going for the Big Scoop
  • The Hero
  • Intrepid Reporter: Freddie's job is to be a researcher but he often continues to research cases he's been told (or at least strongly encouraged) to drop.
  • Just Friends: With Bel, or so they claim. They finally stop denying it in Season Two.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: No one bothered to tell him his interview in the first episode was for the Home Affairs desk.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: Freddie doesn't manage to get either the producer role (which goes to the more level-headed Bel) or the presenter role (which goes to the more tv-friendly Hector). He's stuck in what he considers to be a minor background role.
  • Relationship Upgrade: With Bel at the end of Season Two.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Bel.

Bel Rowley (Romola Garai)

The producer of The Hour, a fellow journalist and longtime friend of Freddie. Bel feels the need to prove herself in the position despite her gender, constantly being told by the BBC higher ups that she's only gotten the position because she's "easy to control". Despite being quite young for a producer, Bel has a lot of experience in journalism and serves as somewhat of a confidante and mentor to Hector.

  • Affectionate Nickname: Freddie's, for her, is "Moneypenny". Naturally, she calls him "James".
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Bel is not happy when her mother, a divorced, dyed-blonde former showgirl, shows up at the office. Varda hits on everything male in the vicinity and believes her daughter is wasting her life as a news producer.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Sissy.
  • Career Versus Man: Bel isn't willing to give up her career for marriage or become The Mistress for Hector.
  • Dating Catwoman: Tries dating an executive from their ITV rival show. It doesn't work out.
  • Dumb Blonde: Strongly subverted. Some of the men in the series dismiss her as one based only on her appearance and gender, but she is very intelligent.
    • Interestingly, she considers her mother to be a Dumb Blonde, though she is a ditz at most.
  • Hysterical Woman: In-Universe, Angus tells Bel she only got the producer's job because Clarence thought she would be "easier to steer" than a man.
  • Go-Getter Girl: A grown up version of the trope. She also mentions more than once that she was a very competitive child.
  • The Lancer: To Freddie's Hero.
  • The Mistress: Bel's dating life consists of a string of affairs with married men. She ultimately decides not to be Hector's.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Mostly, part of ever-present ension in her dynamic with The Fettered Freddie.
  • Relationship Upgrade: With Freddie at the end of Season Two.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Freddie.

Hector Madden (Dominic West)

Lix Storm (Anna Chancellor)

An experienced journalist and photographer whose career spans back to the Spanish Civil War and World War 2. Lix serves as The Hour's resident party girl and voice of reason, dispensing advice and whiskey to the younger journalists. Has a fling with Freddie in Season One. In Season Two, her past comes to light with the return of Randall Brown to England.

  • Ambiguously Bi: Lix dresses quite masculine for the 1950's and flirts with a waitress in a bar. She also has a fling with Freddie and a past with Randall.
  • Brainy Brunette: "Darling, I can recite the names of every minister, Prime Minister, and President in my sleep."
  • Brainy Specs
  • Cool Big Sis: To Bel, sharing whiskey, advice, and several pairs of nylons.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Almost all of the characters display varying levels of snark, but Lix unquestionably takes the crown. She also had some shades of Stepford Snarker.
  • Family Versus Career A major part of why she gave her daughter up for adoption; Lix wasn't going to raise a child in a war zone, nor would she have been accepted back in England as an unmarried woman with a baby.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Lix and Randall's big secret - she had a child in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and gave her up for adoption because he left and she couldn't raise a baby on her own.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: And boy, can she can hold her booze.
  • Held Gaze: With Randall, frequently.
  • The Gadfly: She enjoys pulling everyone's leg, especially Mr. Wengrow's.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Unless you'd paid attention during one of Bel's throwaway lines during episode 1, you'd never know Lix's full name is actually "Alexis".
  • The Lad-ette
  • The Smart Guy: Speaks numerous languages (though Farsi isn't one of them) and if there's a question about a source, Lix is the solution.
  • Team Mom: Lix 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.
  • Nerves of Steel: Is rarely visibly stressed or upset. That's part of what makes her Character Development in season 2 so effective.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Freddie and Bel.
  • Stepford Smiler: Nothing ever seems to ruffle Lix... except for Randall unearthing the daughter she gave up for adoption in Spain. Stoic, badass Lix ends up crying in toilets and lifts where no one can see her.
  • Working with the Ex: With Randall.

Sissy Cooper (Lisa Greenwood)

Bel's secretary, who lies about her age to get a better position than in the steno pool. She has been dating a Nigerian doctor named Sey, and the ensuing racial tensions are a major part of her storyline in Season Two.

  • The Heart
  • I Have No Daughter: Sissy confesses to Isaac that her father refused to give her away at her wedding because he disapproves of Sey.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Started dating Sey Ola in Season One. She's white, he's black, it's 1950s Britain. They get married in Season Two but her father refuses to give her away and they struggle to find witnesses on the street.
  • Oblivious to Love: Seems unaware of Isaac's attraction to her. Eventually, in Season Two, she gets more of a clue.
  • Plucky Office Girl

Isaac Wengrow (Joshua McGuire)

Freddie's nerdish, bespectacled assistant. Isaac wants to write plays and sketches for tv and radio, and in Season Two, is actually getting one produced. He's been carrying a torch for Sissy since the moment he met her.

Clarence Fendley (Anton Lesser)

Head of News at the BBC for Season One. Clarence has a very paternal relationship with Bel and Freddie, and tries to encourage them without stepping on any governmental toes.

Randall Brown (Peter Capaldi)

Clarence's replacement, he becomes Head of News in Season Two. Randall has a storied career in journalism and has been heading up the BBC's Paris bureau for the past few years. He returns to London at Freddie's request - and to finish some very personal business with Lix.

    Other Major Characters 

Marnie Madden (Oona Chaplin)

Hector's long-suffering wife, whom we believe in Season One to be a stereotypical '50's homemaker. She proves herself to be more than a match for not only Hector, but the women he's been sleeping around on her with. In Season Two, she develops a cooking show for rival network ITV.

Angus McCain (Julian Rhind-Tutt)

Angus is a slightly shady government official, working at the highest levels of power in Whitehall. In the first season, he is a more malevolent figure, shutting down all inquiry into the conspiracy surrounding the Elmses and the Soviet spies. In the second season, he serves mainly as a foil to Hector and an ally for the Hour.

Camille Mettier (Lizzie Brocheré)

Shows up in Season Two as Freddie's new wife. She is a card-carrying bohemian and anarchist, reading Ginsburg with Freddie and holding political meetings at her home.

Sey Ola (Adetomiwa Edun)

A Nigerian-born doctor who moves to England. He is dating Sissy Cooper, which causes much trouble for them in the neighborhood.

  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: As previously mentioned, he started dating Sissy Cooper in Season One. She's white, he's black, it's 1950s Britain. They get married in Season Two but her father refuses to give her away and they struggle to find witnesses on the street.
  • Nice Guy

Raphael Cilenti (Vincent Riotta)

The Italian immigrant owner of El Paradis, he uses his showgirl to lure powerful men into honeytraps before blackmailing them into doing his bidding.

  • Big Bad: Of Season Two.
  • Faux Affably Evil: No amount of schmoozing can disguise the fact that he is a nasty piece of work.
  • Smug Snake
  • Son of a Whore:Claims to be the child of a prostitute and an English soldier.
  • Villainous BSoD: When he sees Kiki exposing him on the Hour, he walks back through his club looking completely despondent.

Patricia "Kiki" Delaine (Hannah Tointon)

Star at El Paradis, who has a fling with Hector in Season Two with far-reaching consequences. Kiki is being extorted by Cilenti to act as a honey trap for politicians and celebrities, and she has another threat closer to home in Commander Stern.

Commander Laurence "Laurie" Stern (Peter Sullivan)

A high-ranking police officer for Scotland Yard, and an old army buddy of Hector's. Laurie saved Hector's life in Italy, and Hector has owed him ever since. He's also having a secret relationship with Kiki.

Ruth Elms (Vanessa Kirby)

A childhood friend of Freddie's, whose parents took him in during the Blitz. When she gets in over her head with an impending marriage and a mysterious murder, she goes to Freddie with the story. Ruth is killed before she can reveal everything.


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