BBC Two orders second series of The Hour

Dominic WestBBC Two has ordered a second series of its 1950s based drama The Hour starring Dominic West, Anna Chancellor, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw.

BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow confirmed The Hour had been re-commissioned at the Media Guardian Edinburgh Television Festival. The six-part drama concluded its run on BBC Two on Tuesday evening with 1.6 million viewers which is somewhat less than the 3 million viewers who tuned in for its opening episode.

The Hour has met with mixed reviews in some quarters and writer Abi Morgan has admitted to making some mistakes – especially in the way the characters speak such as using modern phrases. The drama was set in a 1950s BBC newsroom during the Suez Canal crisis and the uprisings in Hungary against Soviet control. The series covered the journalists attempts to cover the story while constantly meeting opposition from the government while producer Bel (Romola Garai ) embarked on a taboo affair with anchor Hector (Dominic West) and Freddie (Ben Whishaw) was drawn into a deadly conspiracy.

Below is the BBC press release:

Controller of BBC Two Janice Hadlow confirms that Bel (Romola Garai) Hector (Dominic West) and Freddie (Ben Whishaw) will return to BBC Two next year for a second six-part series of The Hour. Written and created by the award-winning Abi Morgan and produced by Kudos Film and Television, this is the first home grown returning drama series on BBC Two since The Cops.  The second series will be set ten months on and will shine a spotlight on the relationships between news and celebrity in Fifties London. Behind the scenes of the topical news programme, our highly competitive, sharp-witted and passionate news trio will continue to thrill as a group of outsiders working together.

“I’m delighted that Abi Morgan and the team will be bringing back The Hour for a second series. It has been a hugely impactful, much talked about programme, and the potential for plot development is Anna Chancellorvery exciting.” – Janice Hadlow

“The Hour recommission clearly signals BBC Two’s resurgence as it marks the channels first original British returning drama series since The Cops. A second series really allows the team to build on the characters and their relationships against the exciting backdrop of their workplace.” – Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning,

“In series two of The Hour we are going to find out what happens next in the lives of our news team, as they engage with a new year full of old flames, new loves, thrilling stories and plenty of scandal. Taking us even deeper into our characters’ lives and engaging the viewers with its energy, wit and story, we’re chuffed to bits to be able to keep the world alive.” – Jane Featherstone, Creative Director and Executive Producer, Kudos Film and Television

The Hour launched in July and averaged audience figures of 2.1 million across the series.  Re-commissioned by Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, The Hour will return for 6x60minute series in 2012. Executive producers are Jane Featherstone, Derek Wax and Abi Morgan for Kudos Film and Television and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

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Read ATV Today’s reviews of The Hour here >>