From Emmy®-nominated writer and creator Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame), the sequel to BBC AMERICA's Golden Globe®-nominated miniseries, The Hour, sees the return of the highly competitive, sharp-witted and passionate news trio of Freddie (Ben Whishaw,Skyfall), Bel (Romola Garai,The Crimson Petal and the White) and Hector (Dominic West, The Wire) – still striving to broadcast stories they believe in. Now joined by the new eccentric Head of News, Randall Brown (Peter Capaldi, The Thick of It), the sequel – set in late 1957 – will see the personal meet the professional as the characters become deeply embroiled in cover-ups, corruption, love affairs, sexual intrigues and the resurgence of Mosley’s fascism. Welcome to the end of the ‘50s …The Hour premiered Wednesday, November 28, 9:00pm ET/PT as part of BBC AMERICA’s Dramaville.
Twitter: @BBCAMERICA #TheHour
The sequel to BBC AMERICA’s Dramaville co-production, The Hour, written and created by Emmy® nominee Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame, Sex Traffic), sees the return of the highly competitive, sharp-witted and passionate news trio Bel (Romola Garai), Hector (Dominic West) and Freddie (Ben Whishaw). It’s one year on, with Bel now reporting to the eccentric new Head of News, Randall Brown (Peter Capaldi). The team is still striving to broadcast stories they believe in, as they grapple with the looming specter of the Cold War and changing social mores. Themes of political intrigue and corruption are set against the highly charged backdrop of a country in the grip of unsettling and rapid change. With the space race and nuclear power in full swing, Britain seems on the threshold of a new era of modernization, economic optimism, scientific progress and cultural change in the face of new immigration from the Commonwealth. But under the buoyant veneer, our characters become deeply embroiled in cover-ups, sexual intrigues and the resurgence of Mosley’s fascism. Welcome to the end of the fifties…The Hour sequel premieres on BBC AMERICA’s Dramaville November 2012.
It’s been a year since the news program’s controversial interview with Lord Elms. Much has changed. Freddie was fired and left to go travelling. Bel fought to stay and has tried to improve ratings, while keeping Hector in line as he’s fawned over and sucked deeper into the destructive world of celebrity. With the ITV channel a strong competitor and Hector’s star on the rise, Bel will fight to hold on to her lead presenter and keep from losing him to the other side. Hector must decide where his loyalties lie, while Bel battles for her program and takes on her adversary, Bill Kendall (Tom Burke), an ITV producer whose magnetic charm she starts to find irresistible. Bill intrigues and challenges Bel, but will anyone ever be able to compete with her intellectual soul mate and passionate sparring partner, Freddie? The truth is, Bel is lonely. Her whole life has become her work and with Freddie absent, has she come to realize just how deep her feelings for him run?
Freddie, newly returned from America, has a vein of ambition running through him, not seen before. Driven as ever, he finds himself fronting The Hour as co-host. He will battle to finally break a career-changing expose that goes all the way from the criminal underworld up to the higher echelons of power. Freddie also has domestic concerns to confront. Notting Hill has changed and racial tensions rise as, with the continuing influx of new migrants, unscrupulous landlords take advantage, one of whom has his eyes on Freddie’s house.
In the second installment of The Hour, the personal will meet the professional as Hector, unsettled by Marnie’s decision to establish her own career, finds himself drawn into the late night clubs of Soho where he visits a number of high class call girls and befriends a corrupt elite who lead him astray. A reunion with an old friend, Commander Laurie Stern (Peter Sullivan), becomes a lifeline when Hector’s pushed towards a scandal that could destroy his marriage and his career. While helping Hector clear his name, Bel and Freddie uncover a growing vice racket, shrouded by backroom deals and military corruption.
It’s late 1957 and although Macmillan claims people have “never had it so good”, the reality for the public is a mounting atmosphere of fear, arising from a world of rising criminality and a growing Soviet threat. Russia has launched Sputnik, sending the international world into waves of panic and triggering a rise in nuclear armament. On the streets of Britain, organized crime is booming and nowhere more so than in the seedy back rooms and bars of Soho, where racketeering and a growing sex trade help fortunes to be made. The worlds of showbiz and the establishment rub shoulders as politicians, celebrities and businessmen are entertained in late night members clubs, which offer services with discretion…but always at a price.
The 2011 premiere of The Hour marked the launch of BBC AMERICA’s Dramaville, the home of groundbreaking British drama, including the Golden Globe®-winning mini-series Luther, the upcoming miniseries The Spies of Warsaw and drama Ripper Street.
Tyler Zlotnick, Senior Publicist, Social Media, 212 705 9642, Tyler.Zlotnick@bbc.com
Devin Johnson, VP Publicity for BBC America and Consumer Products, 212 339 1709, Devin.Johnson@bbc.com
Part One premiered Wednesday, November 28, 9:00pm ET/PT.
A year has passed since The Hour was unceremoniously taken off air. Freddie has been fired, while Bel fought to stay – now all eyes are on the new Head of News, Randall Brown, as a force for change. Meanwhile, Hector’s decision to ignore his marital problems with Marnie has drawn him deep into the glamour of Soho club, El Paradis, where he’s reunited with an old friend, police Commander Laurie Stern. Laurie warns Hector to be careful who he associates with; the establishment’s owner, Raphael Cilenti, may be charming, but he’s embedded in a growing vice trade and Hector has eyes for his most prized possession, lead showgirl Kiki Delaine.
In the newsroom, nuclear hysteria is growing and Randall’s insistence that The Hour cover the government’s new civil defense manual meets resistance from Bel, who thinks the real story is the growth of crime. In the midst of this heated discussion, Freddie reappears. He’s Randall’s new addition, designed to stir up the team - and it looks as if it might just work. Despite on-going friction, Bel harnesses Freddie’s maverick enthusiasm to cover the crime story and when Hector brings them an unexpected tip off, the trio find themselves with a potential scoop - but is it enough to outdo new ITV rival program, Uncovered? Meanwhile, Hector’s dalliance with Kiki takes a dark turn, as a violent meeting sparks repercussions, which will send him teetering perilously close to the edge of scandal.
Part Two premiered Wednesday, December 5, 9:00pm ET/PT.
Bel bristles as newlyweds, Freddie and Camille steal the limelight at a party hosted by Hector and Marnie, but it’s Hector who’s the greatest victim of the evening when two policemen arrive to arrest him on suspicion of assaulting Kiki Delaine. At the police station Laurie counsels Hector that his best hope is for Marnie to confirm his alibi. However, Marnie seems doubtful about his innocence and it’s Bel who promises Hector she’ll get him out.
Freddie returns home from the police station to find local landlord, Norman Pike, sniffing around his house with the news that Camille has been the victim of a racially motivated attack. It doesn’t take Freddie long to track down the culprit, a young fascist named Trevor. Ever the journalist, Freddie spots an opportunity to confront Trevor in a different fashion, persuading him to be interviewed about his views on The Hour. Meanwhile, Bel has a tough job to keep Hector’s arrest secret from Randall, who’s expecting an imminent visit from the Board. Bel’s desperation leads her to Soho, into a confrontation with Cilenti. While Bel struggles to prove his innocence, Hector comes to question whether he’s strayed too far from his career and marriage. Is this one allegation he can’t charm his way out of? And if Hector didn’t hurt Kiki, then who did? As the clock ticks to the board members’ visit, Bel knows she has to stop Freddie’s fascism interview from straying too far into controversy, while keeping Hector out of the firing line.
Part Three premiered Wednesday, December 12, 9:00pm ET/PT
Bel and Freddie are determined to get to the bottom of who beat up Kiki, but their dedication to dredging up the arrest angers Hector whose drinking is starting to spiral. At home he and Marnie live as strangers, her career on the rise, whilst his seems increasingly fragile.
Bel announces that this week they’ll be covering the controversial Wolfenden Report, but she is finding it unusually difficult to get contributors. In the midst of this Rosa-Maria nervously appears with the news that Kiki is missing, can they find her? Bel and Freddie need no encouragement and a despairing Hector calls Laurie for support, unaware he’s discussing it with the very man who beat her.
At a Christmas party Laurie warns the team to steer clear of the Kiki story but Freddie is certain he’s getting closer to the truth. Bel too is having some success with Wolfenden when a moment of generosity from Bill provides her with a key contact and some unexpected romance. However, the Christmas cheer is short lived as a confrontation with McCain prompts Hector into making a drunken spectacle. It’s left to Laurie to take him home. In a liquored haze, a memory stirs for Hector, which starts to throw his friend’s dependable character into question.
As Freddie and Bel pull together in their search for Kiki, a deeper connection is growing between them, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by Camille. The net is closing in on Laurie but with Freddie and Hector coming ever closer to the truth, is Hector too self-destructive to be able to handle it?
Part Four premieres Wednesday, December 19, 9:00pm ET/PT
Bel and Freddie pitch fervently to expose Cilenti’s vice network and police collusion over the anti-nuclear policy story planned for tomorrow’s show. Randall sees the scoop’s potential, but challenges them to find sources to prove their story’s ready. Heeding this, Bel arranges a meeting with showgirl Rosa Maria, who puts herself in mortal danger to reveal the surprising trick to Cilenti’s hold over London’s most influential men.
Bel’s relationship with Bill deepens, much to the chagrin of Freddie, whose home life with Camille suffers under his dedication to the story. Meanwhile, Hector’s marriage is given hope by a long overdue moment of honesty. Randall and Lix’s bond reignites over new information regarding their long-lost secret…
Cracks form in the team as Freddie and Bel refuse to protect Hector’s ex-comrade, corrupt officer Laurie, in their pursuit of the story. When a conspiratorial McCain offers Hector an exclusive interview that could pip any other story to the top spot, Hector must choose whether to forsake the team’s story to protect the man who saved his life.
Meanwhile, photos of the NATO summit reveal a familiar face to Freddie and further digging reveals that the Cilenti story and nuclear story might not be as far apart as previously thought – could Cilenti’s influence go nuclear? If so, Bel and Freddie have cracked the biggest story of the year. But as bad news arrives, they’re left asking at what cost to their sources and relationships?
Part Five premiered Wednesday, December 26, 9:00pm ET/PT.
When a source’s body is found in a Soho backstreet, a shaken Bel commands the team halt altogether in their pursuit of the dangerous Cilenti. But as she begs Freddie not to risk his life for the sake of glory, he’s more determined than ever due to a new lead: a mystery company ‘Castlecore’ are investing in Cilenti’s company set to make money from the nuclear bases. Freddie’s determined to find who they are. When Randall challenges McCain about his part in Cilenti’s manipulation of the previous week’s show, his honorable treatment of McCain’s blackmail predicament leads McCain to offer help – he hints that a visit to El Paradis that evening might just throw light on Castlecore...
Freddie visits Laurie, leaving the corrupt Commander planning his own stand against Cilenti. Meanwhile, Hector wows executives in a meeting with ITV and is tempted by the prospect of being lauded with Marnie as ITV’s golden couple - will he leave The Hour for their rivals?
Randall and Lix are drawn together by a setback in their search for their daughter. Meanwhile, Hector offers Bel insight into her and Freddie’s fall out and when Freddie finally confronts Bel about his letter from America, she’s left reeling by his new-found boldness.
That evening, Freddie and Hector’s sting at El Paradis reveals a startling answer to who Castlecore are. But proceedings are interrupted by an unexpected visitor who causes controversial front-page chaos. Has Freddie caused a situation he might live to regret?
Part Six premiered Wednesday, January 2, 9:00pm ET/PT.
Scandal hits The Hour on the day of the show as Hector’s face hits the tabloids, along with leaked stories of Kiki’s accusations. The team may have uncovered a major conspiracy story - Howard Satchell, Minister of Defense profiteering from the nuclear base contracts he himself awarded to organized criminal Cilenti, but how will they tell it with one of their own in the same scandalous spotlight? It looks like the corruption ring is shutting down the expose at all costs and Hector is the fall guy. As Freddie and Hector chase down potential sources Laurie and Kiki, it’s clear that all avenues have been closed using fear by the influential men involved.
Marnie’s faced with a dilemma at ITV - will she forsake Hector and for the good of her squeaky-clean image? Meanwhile, Bill challenges whether Bel’s real affections lie elsewhere and, caught up in the excitement of the story, Bel and Freddie cross a line that threatens their friendship.
Unless the team finds someone close to the scandal willing to speak out, they’ve got no show, but has the perfect interviewee been right under their noses the whole time? In the pursuit of this controversial source, Freddie faces mortal danger and Hector must help his rival presenter. But can he do the same for Marnie when she admits her big secret? As the clock ticks down to the start of an era-changing hour of television, Bel wonders if she'll ever be able to tell Freddie the truth.
CAST AND PRODUCTION CREDITS
Hector Dominic West (John Carter, The Wire)
Bel Romola Garai (Having You, The Crimson Petal and the White)
Freddie Ben Whishaw (SkyFall, Cloud Atlas)
Randall Peter Capaldi (Maleficent, In The Loop)
Marnie Oona Chaplin (Game of Thrones, Sherlock)
Kiki Hannah Tointon (The Inbetweeners, The Lost Future)
Lix Anna Chancellor (Pramface,Hidden)
Camille Lizzie Brocheré (American Horror Story, Sleepless Night)
Sissy Lisa Greenwood (EastEnders, Hacks)
Laurie Peter Sullivan (The Borgias, The Thick of It)
Raphael Vincent Riotta (Revolver, Zen)
Bill Tom Burke (The Invisible Woman, Only God Forgives)
Angus Julian Rhind-Tutt (Merlin, Any Human Heart)
Isaac Joshua McGuire (Misfits, Doctors)
Writer & Executive Producer Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame)
Directors Jamie Payne (Call the Midwife, Doctor Who)
Sandra Goldbacher (Ballet Shoes, Me Without You)
Catherine Morshead (Doctor Who, Shameless)
Executive Producers Jane Featherstone (Law & Order: UK, Life on Mars)
Derek Wax (Sex Traffic, Tsunami: The Aftermath)
Lucy Richer (Top of the Lake, The Crimson Petal and the White)
The Hour is a Kudos Film and Television / BBC AMERICA co-production for the BBC, distributed by Shine International.
HECTOR MADDEN (Dominic West) has risen to the status of national celebrity. With connections in Government and pursued by the press, he maintains his appearance as a happily married man and face of The Hour. Unsettled by Marnie’s desire to establish her own career, Hector finds himself drawn to the late night clubs of Soho where he visits a number of high class call girls and befriends a corrupt elite who inhabit this secret world and lead him astray. No longer happy at The Hour under Randall’s new regime, he chafes at a decision to share the screen with Freddie. When ITV comes calling with offers of more status and money, Hector is very tempted. But then a night at the club goes awry, scandal threatens and Hector must try to stop a news story that could destroy his marriage and his career.
BEL ROWLEY(Romola Garai)is still single and determined not to get involved with another married man. Clarence’s replacement is brought in and Bel must now report to the eccentric new Head of News, Randall Brown, all while juggling the sparky relationships around her (particularly those involving Hector and Freddie). When she finds out that Hector is being lured to ITV (where both the ratings and salaries are higher) Bel fights for her program. To do so she must take on her adversary, Bill Knowles, but she soon finds the producer’s magnetic charm irresistible. When Hector himself becomes the center of a big news story, Bel’s personal and professional decisions pull in opposite directions, and Bel is confronted with a tricky decision that could change everything.
FREDDIE LYON(Ben Whishaw)returns to the The Hour, having been fired after the Lord Elms live interview (taking the sword instead of Bel). Gone for several months travelling around the world, a corrupt landlord offers to buy his late father’s house in Notting Hill. Freddie’s quest to investigate and expose a secret program of nuclear testing provokes both the landlord and McCain, setting him on a trail that will lead deep into the worlds of backroom Soho and government corruption. As he becomes embroiled with the cover-up, it becomes clear that the ghosts of the past will not let Freddie go.
RANDALL BROWN (Peter Capaldi) is The Hour’s new Head of News. A witty, forward-thinking maverick, his sometimes obtuse and perplexing management style and indirect communication often infuriates his co-workers, as does his need to order the minutiae that surrounds him. Randall is determined to reinvigorate The Hour, but he has other motives for returning to London – namely, Lix. The former lovers share something very special, something that Randall wants to find again.
LIX STORM (Anna Chancellor)is still heading up the foreign desk, fighting for airtime for international stories while Freddie spars with her over domestic affairs. A new side to Lix is revealed when Randall arrives at The Hour. These two are former lovers – and as the series unfolds, the emotional and complex history they share is revealed. Lix finds, like Bel, that she is struggling with her idea of herself, forced to confront her own dogged sense of independence.
MARNIE MADDEN (Oona Chaplin) auditions for a new role on an ITV cookery program and lands the job. Fanny Craddock meets Julia Childs. Sublimating her desire for a family that has not so far happened, Marnie throws herself into her new career - which unbalances her relationship with Hector. However, when scandal threatens to destroy their marriage and both their careers, Marnie finds a renewed strength of character.
ANGUS MCCAIN (Julian Rhind-Tutt) is now Head of Press for Macmillan, protecting the recently elected Prime Minister and the closed circle of his cabinet. However, McCain is also implicated in the scandal at Hector’s drinking club and must use all his powers to prevent the truth from becoming public.
KIKI DELAINE (Hannah Tointon) is the young, beautiful, talented singer and ‘star attraction’ at El Paradis, the Soho Club run by the charming (but dangerous) Raphael Cilenti. It’s at El Paradisthat she meets Hector, who falls for her feminine charms and it’s this relationship that sets off a chain of events that includes corruption on a massive scale, putting Kikiand her friend at the Club, Rosa Maria (Hannah John-Kamen) in danger.