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The Hour 2.1-2

November 22nd, 2012 (01:24 am)

Catching up with the first two episodes of the second series of The Hour from BBC2 and Kudos, and I am less sure what to make of it than I was last year. Hector's outsider status seems to have been forgotten - was he really being addressed as a 'journalist' in the trailer at the end of part two? He definitely wasn't one in the first series - and there are still lots of anachronisms which grate at the ear. On the basis of these two episodes, even more than last year's series, The Hour represents a 1950s broadcasting environment from which today's producers would like to be descended from, rather than what Tonight, Panorama, This Week or World in Action were actually like. There are more than just a few strands of reality, though - there were anguished discussions of immigration on television throughout the 1950s, I've read - though the distinction between 'news' and 'current affairs' which preoccupied the BBC until the coming of John Birt in the late 1980s is sadly ignored.

It's too early to say whether the police corruption/sex trade/racism storyline will hold up, and a visit to Soho by any television drama invokes memories of Our Friends in the North. Our regulars seem all a little less likeable than before, too, though the hints at Peter Capaldi's Randall Brown's inner life (and his past with Anna Chancellor's Lix) could be rewarding. Otherwise I fear a timid adherence to a formula extracted from the last series, and from the leads' other roles - the prospect of Romola Garai being substitute mother to a small girl, as looks likely to happen, brings back memories of last year's The Crimson Petal and the White.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/559460.html.