Having had its cultural clothes stolen by BBC4, BBC2 is trying to shake off an identity crisis and prove it’s the home of classy drama. A new fast-cutting promotion includes a tantalising shot of Ben Whishaw from The Hour, a new six-part series written by Abi Morgan. Her credits include previous TV dramas (Sex Traffic), film (Birdsong) and theatre (an Afghanistan-themed play at the Tricycle Theatre).
The Hour is set in the mid-1950s, the era in which the BBC launched its most celebrated current affairs shows: Panorama and Tonight. Morgan takes the launch of a news programme as her canvas, into which she places Whishaw as a radical journalist. His boss is played by Romola Garai (shades of Grace Wyndham Goldie) and the presenter is played by Prospect’s favourite actor from The Wire, Dominic West (shades of Richard Dimbleby). The Hour also has a dream support cast with Tim Pigott-Smith, Juliet Stevenson, Anna Chancellor and Julian Rhind-Tutt. Let’s hope Morgan has not over-egged the pudding by throwing in a murder subplot. Now, repeat after me: “BBC2 is the home of classy drama.”