The Hour: Season 1 (2011)


Season 1
The Hour

Critics Consensus

A combination of deft storytelling, engrossing period detail, and compelling performances makes The Hour an addictive watch.



Critic Ratings: 33


Audience Score

User Ratings: 53

Rate And Review

User image


  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this season

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.


    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of this tv season? (optional)

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this season

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.


    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of this tv season? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?


Air date: Aug 17, 2011

In the opener of a series following life in and around a weekly BBC news program in 1956, friends Bel Rowley and Freddie Lyon are given the opportunity of their lives to launch the show, but not without conflicts between them, complications from their new anchor, Hector Madden, and a mystery that throws Freddie into a world of espionage and murder.

View Details
Air date: Aug 24, 2011

"The Hour" begins airing and Hector's delivery is lacking, but things come together when a crisis over the Suez Canal involving England and Egypt gives the team a chance to shine as bold journalists. Meanwhile, Freddie discovers a piece to the Ruthie mystery.

View Details
Air date: Aug 31, 2011

Hector, Bel and Freddie travel to Marnie's family home in the country, where Freddie discovers a secret about Adam's relationship with Ruth, while the relationship between Hector and Bel turns more intimate.

View Details
Air date: Sep 7, 2011

Freddie's birthday arrives, but his mind is on the "brightstone" mystery, which prompts him to visit Kish's wife and also neglect the show. Meanwhile, the team covers the Suez crisis, Bel covers for the absent Freddie, and Hector comes into his own, proving that he can be a confident anchor

View Details
Air date: Sep 14, 2011

The government tries to censor "The Hour" when rioting breaks out in London over the Suez Canal crisis, and Bel must decide whether ignoring McCain's demands are worth the risk of cancellation.

View Details
Air date: Sep 21, 2011

In the first-season finale, "The Hour" prepares to defy censorship with a controversial report on the Suez Canal crisis; and Freddie finally discovers the identity of the mole in the BBC.

View Details

Tv Season Info

The first season of this late-1950s drama takes is set in the world of British television broadcasting. Reporters Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) and Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw) are given the opportunities of their careers when they are hired to work on a new, news magazine show. Professional ambitions and personal passions run high behind the scenes. As Bel is drawn closer to the show's charismatic co-presenter Hector Madden (Dominic West), and Freddie's risky sleuthing earns him some dangerous enemies.


Ben Whishaw
as Freddie Lyon
Romola Garai
as Bel Rowley
Dominic West
as Hector Madden
Anton Lesser
as Clarence Fendley
Julian Rhind-Tutt
as Angus McCain
Anna Chancellor
as Lix Storm
Joshua McGuire
as Isaac Wengrow
Oona Chaplin
as Marnie Madden
Burn Gorman
as Thomas Kish
Ken Bones
as Wallace Sherwin
Andrew Scott
as Adam Le Ray
Lisa Greenwood
as Sissy Cooper
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Hour Season 1

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (20)

A totally OK hourlong drama... The Hour comes billed as "an edge-of-your-seat spy thriller," which isn't right. It's cozier and slower and airier than that, more of an arm-of-your-sofa spy thriller.

Jan 17, 2019 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The Hour is alternately ferocious and tender, and refreshingly clear-eyed about the interactions between gender and class.

Jan 17, 2019 | Full Review…

If you're a fan of high-quality, deliberately paced period drama, you need to check out The Hour.

Aug 17, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It offers amusement and a tad of suspense, but little to ponder over the long run.

Aug 17, 2011 | Full Review…

Viewers craving a satisfying gourmet meal rather than another summertime "reality" Moon Pie are urged to make The Hour a Wednesday night ritual for the next six weeks.

Aug 17, 2011 | Rating: A | Full Review…
Top Critic

A seriously engaging historical drama.

Jan 17, 2019 | Full Review…

Strangely, it is the day-to-day newsroom politics that is currently proving enthralling on The Hour rather than the conspiracy and unsolved murders lurking in the background.

Jan 17, 2019 | Full Review…

Instead of just offering a soap opera for 50s nostalgics, The Hour gives us an interesting balance between relationships and danger. The conspiracy angle is ever-present, but it's not overpowering.

Jan 17, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Spot-on period details and glamorous styling... It does many things exceptionally well, delivering complex characters, a well-paced story, and, of course, the aforementioned art direction.

Jan 17, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The series' inclination to melodrama sometimes overshadows its historical context.

Aug 17, 2011 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…

Ben Whishaw is great as bitter, passionate hack Freddie, as is Romola Garai as Bel, an ambitious woman seemingly decades ahead of her own time. Both are upstaged, however, by the towering presence of Dominic West.

Jan 17, 2019 | Full Review…

What it did well it did very well... But my, how it longed to be Important Television -- and whatever else it was, it wasn't quite that.

Jan 17, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Hour: Season 1

News & Features