The Hour

As we at The Hornet watched – and very much enjoyed – episode two of The Hour on Tuesday night (the BBC’s new 1950s-set newsroom drama), we couldn’t help but have a nagging feeling that we were on familiar territory.

And we remembered why last night with a trawl through the chaotic library here at Hornet HQ.

Looking for our battered old copy of The Englishman’s Suit by Sir Hardy Aimes, we came across this gloriously trashy paperback from 1958:

We hasten to add that the fine folks at The Beeb have NOT pinched their story. Far from it. The Hour is already shaping up to be a classy affair. The One Eyed Monster, on the other hand, although set in the same milieu (50’s TV) is a different kettle of fish…

The lurid title helps: The One Eyed Monster. Stop sniggering at the back, thank you. The cover blurb is a classic of its kind, too:

“A biting novel that takes as its theme the tremendous power of television – strips the gloss from the little silver screen and adds the third dimension to its glittering image… Here is the feverish world behind the cameras – brought brilliantly into focus by a writer who knows television inside out.”

***

Episode two of The Hour was every bit as good as the opener, with fine plot twists, well-observed historical detail, great costumes and an intriguing cliffhanger. One quibble, though: Freddie Lyons’s leather jacket. Okay, we understand that he’s a rebellious sort, but Brando duds is gilding the lily a little, no? That aside, great stuff. We’ll have more to say on Freddie Lyons’s suit next time. Until then, episode three is tomorrow (Tuesday) BBC2 9.00p.m.

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