Journalism has become a popular subject on stage and on screen. Is a new play an elegy for the profession?by Emma Hogan / October 12, 2012 / Leave a comment
As Aaron Sorkin knows, dramatising journalism can be hard to pull off. For every exciting aspect of a newsroom—the breaking stories, spitfire expletives and race to deadline—there are the everyday realities of office work, or the sense that fictional news can never live up to the real thing.
In the past year, several shows have competed to present the most accurate, or potentially the most toe-curling, depiction of Fleet Street and its televised equivalents. Sorkin’s The Newsroom, set on a fictional primetime cable news channel, has not been well received. The New Yorker’s TV critic declared that the series “gets so bad so quickly that I found my jaw dropping.” She was not alone.
The Hour has fared better on both sides of the Atlantic: nominated for a Golden Globe, it is the first BBC2 drama to be recommissioned for 11 years. The show looks at a current affairs programme in the 1950s and the intrigue surrounding it. But its success may comes not as much from the profession it depicts as from the glamour of the era—with its double-breasted suits and fanned skirts—that it manages to evoke.