Peter Capaldi, Hannah Tointon and Tom Burke join all-star cast in second series of The Hour

Date: 07.12.2011     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.00
Category: BBC Two; BBC HD; Drama
Our highly competitive, sharp-witted and passionate news trio will be joined by a host of new characters in BBC Two’s first original British returning drama series since The Cops.

Written and created by the award-winning Abi Morgan and produced by Kudos Film and TV, the second six-part series of The Hour will see the return of Bel (Romola Garai), Hector (Dominic West) and Freddie (Ben Whishaw) alongside beloved Lix (Anna Chancellor), scheming McCain (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and newly assertive Marnie Madden (Oona Chaplin), in this highly acclaimed 1950s newsroom drama, which averaged viewing figures of 2.2 million on BBC Two earlier this year.

Series two rejoins The Hour team a year on in 1957 where we are introduced to new characters played by Peter Capaldi (The Thick Of It, The Nativity) Hannah Tointon (The Inbetweeners) and Tom Burke (State of Play).

The six new episodes will see the team still striving to broadcast the stories they believe in as they grapple with the looming spectre of the Cold War and changing social mores.

The series will chart political intrigue and corruption against the highly charged backdrop of a country in the grip of unsettling and rapid change. With the space race and nuclear power, Britain seems on the threshold of a new era of modernisation, 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.

Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) is still single and determined not to get involved with another married man. Clarence is in prison and she must now report to Randall Brown (Peter Capaldi) the eccentric new Head of News. Whilst juggling the sparky relationships around her, she finds out that Hector is being lured to ITV. She fights for her programme and finds herself taking on her adversary, Bill Kendall (Tom Burke), a producer whose magnetic charm she can’t help but find irresistible.

Hector Madden (Dominic West) has risen to the status of a national celebrity, all whilst maintaining his lifestyle as a happily married man and face of The Hour. He is unsettled by Marnie’s (Oona Chaplin) desire to establish her own career and finds himself drawn to the late night clubs of Soho where he befriends Kiki (Hannah Tointon), a club hostess. No longer happy at The Hour under Randall’s new regime, he is tempted by offers from ITV, but when a night at the club goes badly wrong, scandal threatens and Hector must try to stop a news story that could destroy his marriage and his career.

Freddie Lyons (Ben Whishaw), who was fired after ‘The Lord Elms’ live interview, makes an unexpected return to The Hour. Having been away for several months travelling around the world, he returns as co-host of The Hour, to both Bel and Hector’s surprise. He has however not lost his passion to investigate and as he becomes embroiled with exposing a cover-up, it becomes clear that the ghosts of the past will not let Freddie go.

Lix (Anna Chancellor) is still heading up the foreign desk, fighting for airtime for international stories, but a new side to her is revealed when Randall arrives at The Hour. Meanwhile, McCain (Julian Rhind-Tutt) is now Head of Press for Macmillan, protecting the recently elected Prime Minister and the closed circle of his cabinet.

The Hour was re-commissioned by Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning. The executive producers are Jane Featherstone, Derek Wax and Abi Morgan for Kudos Film and Television and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

The producer is Ruth Kenley-Letts (The Nativity) and the directors are Sandra Goldbacher (Ep 1+2), Catherine Morshead (Ep 3+4) and Jamie Payne (Ep 5+6). Abi Morgan has written episodes 1, 2, 5 + 6 and Nicole Taylor has written episode 3 and George Kay episode 4.

The Hour is a Kudos/BBC America Co-production.

Filming started this week in the London area for three months for transmission next year.

Series two of The Hour continues BBC Two’s commitment to original British Drama in 2012.

RM