pick of the week

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

The Hour

Satur­day, 9.30pm, BBC UKTV

For one glo­ri­ous mo­ment I thought this was the new se­ries three of this won­der­ful show based around an edgy BBC cur­rent af­fairs pro­gram, The Hour, set in Lon­don in 1956. But alas, it’s a re­peat of the sec­ond — and, sob, the last — se­ries. Why is it that some­thing as clever as this gets canned, even when view­ers scream for more? ‘‘ We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through,’’ the BBC said last year. Now we’ll never know what hap­pened to Fred­die (Ben Whishaw), the head­strong but lov­able jour­nal­ist and co- pre­sen­ter. The cast in­cludes Do­minic West as Hec­tor Mad­den, the charis­matic pre­sen­ter and in­cor­ri­gi­ble pants man; Oona Chap­lin as Marnie, his wife; and Ro­mola Garai as Bel Row­ley, the show’s pro­ducer and Hec­tor’s main love in­ter­est. The script tack­les re­port­ing events such as the Suez Cri­sis, com­mu­nist spies and cor­rupt politi­cians in­ter­twined with an emerg­ing form of in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism that pits the staff against man­age­ment. There’s also a good dose of hu­mour. The Hour was nom­i­nated for heaps of awards and won two. It was a hit in the US. ‘‘[ It is] as if it were a space con­tain­ing choco­late, gold, a book you’ve al­ways wanted to read, your favourite mu­sic, and the love of your life who de­sires you un­ceas­ingly,’’ Nancy Franklin wrote in The New Yorker. I’ll drink to that.

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