Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Hour, series 2, episode 1

It's back! I really enjoyed the first series of The Hour, and was pleased to see it was returning.

Despite the team having seemingly burned their bridges at the end of the first series, Bel and Hector are still in place as producer and presenter of The Hour. Freddie, it appears, carried most of the blame for what happened. However, while most of this episode was concerned with putting the characters in place, and in setting up organised crime as the focus for the news team's investigation (when they're not being distracted by their rivals from ITV), what really struck me about it was how stylised it was. This was really clear in the glaringly cold aqua corridors around the office of The Hour; in them Bel's bright red suit shone out like a beacon while the reflected light from the walls gave most other characters in the corridors an almost cross-processed look. The actual offices of The Hour were warmer, more normal, more human. Far more conspiring, conniving and backbiting went on in the corridors, needless to say. The nightclub scenes were warm in colour, all sparkle, with light glinting off cut-glass champagne coupes and the dancers' spangly bodices, all temptation and surface glamour.

The most obviously stylised clothing and settings, though, were around Marnie. I'd been very impressed with Oona Chaplin's acting as Hector's very posh wife in the first series; Marnie was a subtly drawn character of an outwardly slightly foolish woman who was actually quite a determined lady doing her best to conform to the standards of the day, and who had more than enough to put up with given Hector's philandering. In the new series, Marnie is not holding things together quite as well. We see her in her pretty pastel dresses, still very 1950s with their wide skirts, in her pastel, doll's house, kitchen. When she goes to lunch with Hector, she's in a suit of sugared-almond lilac. Marnie is dated in her look, and still trapped in her 1950s domesticated world, baking incredible cakes and puddings no-one will eat because she has no children and Hector is out with other women. (Mr Robot did turn to me and say, "If I went out knobbing showgirls, would you make me all those cakes?" He knew very well what the answer to that was going to be!)

I'd quite like to see Marnie burn her bra and embrace feminism and the 1960s. I don't think she's a stupid character. What's more likely to happen is that she'll have some sort of mental health problem, because women in dramas aren't allowed to be triumphant. But it'd be nice to see her ditching Hector and finding her own happiness, rather than trying to do what everyone else tells her should make her happy.

If you missed the first episode, you can catch up with The Hour on iPlayer.

3 comments :

  1. I think it's 1957 at the moment in The Hour as Bel mentioned the death of Dior. I'm intrigued to see where they go with Marnie, I'm not sure if they're heading for a birth of modern feminism get rid of the piggish man story or a breakdown with empty nest syndrome at the moment!

    Still want that red suit though.

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    1. Yes, you are right. For some reason I'd got it in my head that it was early 60s, despite the music.

      Maybe we'll have a few more series before Marnie burns her bra, but I'm still hoping she'll kick Hector's womanising arse to the kerb...

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  2. I love this show. Just started watching Season 1. Looking forward to Season 2.

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