Abi Morgan's newsroom drama returns to BBC Two
Dominic West plays Hector Madden
How is Hector doing as the front man of The Hour nine months on?
He’s doing really well, he’s in the news show with no competition from any other channels or anything else, and so he’s quite a celebrity. I can’t quite remember what the viewing figures were in those days but they’ve been watched by millions of people and they really were big celebrities these guys. So he’s doing well and he’s really enjoying it, he’s living it up! It’s all wine, women, clubs… and celebrity sex!
What is Hector’s relationship now like with Bel?
With Bel they’ve - in that nine months - gone from being lovers to being what I think is mutually respecting colleagues. I think she respects him because he’s a good front man and he obviously respects her for being a good producer. He’s late all the time and that exasperates her, he’s quite dangerous in that way, but I think she’s prepared to tolerate that. So they have a sort of easy detachment now. We talked a lot about it but we didn’t think there was any need for any residual jealously or romance, or embarrassment or difficulty.
How is Hector’s new celebrity lifestyle affecting home life with Marnie?
Well it couldn’t be worse really, it’s about as bad as it gets for Marnie, and that starts her off on a whole new journey for herself. She’s not going to be the supporting wife anymore and she’s had it with his infidelities and the embarrassment he causes her. So it’s great for their marriage as she gets to get out of the yoke she’s put herself under.
Marnie auditions to become the face of a new cooking show, how does Hector feel about that?
I think he feels very uncomfortable about that and that she’s treading on his toes. That’s his job and he feels she’s trying to muscle in there and is conceivably making a much better job of it than he is. I think he feels that competition very keenly and would possibly rather she was still at home baking. Although I think as it develops, the marriage gets much stronger and Hector rediscovers his attraction for his wife because she is doing her own thing and not being the doormat.
The new Head of News, Randall Brown, arrives and shakes things up at The Hour. Can you talk us through how that changes things for Hector?
I suppose it’s just been him and Bel running the show, or Bel running the show and Hector being able to do what the hell he likes…and then this guy who is a veteran broadcaster and reporter of considerable authority and gravity comes along and rather rains on his parade I think, and insists that he toes the line a bit more and is not impressed by any of his unprofessionalism or his hedonistic life style. I think he cramps his style a lot, so at the start of the series we see Hector about to have the screws applied to his freewheeling celebrity lifestyle.
How does Hector react to Freddie’s return?
Well Randall brings back Freddie, which is great for the viewers, but not great for Hector, as he now has Freddie as a co-presenter. We in fact didn’t do too much filming together, which I was really looking forward to doing much more because it’s great fun doing that with Ben, but that certainly once again for Hector clips his wings a bit and put’s his nose out of joint!
What is your favourite thing about playing Hector?
I suppose in a way Hector is a voice of politically incorrect levity and I enjoyed doing that a lot. Playing off Romola and Ben whose characters are obviously a bit younger and perhaps a bit more serious, I think it’s fun being the lighter slightly irreverent character.
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