Finest Hour

The Hour (Series One) is a 2011 BBC drama series about a pioneering BBC current affairs programme, launched in June 1956, at the time of the Hungarian Revolution and the Suez Crisis. Part espionage thriller, it centres on the love triangle between a journalist, a producer, and an anchorman.

Not only is it superbly written and casted, and one of the best BBC dramas I’ve watched in recent times, it’s also choc full of typewriter sightings.


As good as the cast undoubtedly were, I did get the feeling that leading man Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw) and leading lady Bel Rowley (Romola Garai) were a little too modern for the era they found themselves in.


Similarly, while many of the typewriters were exactly what was expected …


… unexpected sightings like the (1975 ) Olivetti Lettera 25 that belonged to news editor, Lix Storm (Anna Chancellor) stuck out like a sore thumb …


As did Bel’s Lettera 32, but to a lesser extent (1964 ).


And there was I thinking Bel was a “Royal” gal …


Speaking of Royals, Isaac Wengrow (Joshua McGuire, below) kept tabs on MI6 agent and part-time assassin Thomas Kish (Burn Gorman), from behind the cover of a very Fifties-looking Royal standard …


Either that or he was enviously eying up Kish’s Adler Universal (1956 ) which only the most “eagle” eyed of typewriter nerds could have spotted …


The Royal standard with the enormous wingspan, on the other hand, was hard to miss …


Why they kept the Adler tucked away in the smallest cubicle, and assigned it to a part-time Arabic translator (undercover agent) is beyond me.


Still, mustn’t quibble. After-all, handsome Hector Madden (Dominic West)’s Hermes 3000 with the customary missing platen knob was almost contemporaneous (1958 ) …


And a teleprinter, which got moved around a bit despite its obvious lack of portability, certainly looked the part …


Not that any of this detracted from my enjoyment of what was an excellent series.

Series creator and principal writer Abi Morgan (born 1968) is a British playwright and screenwriter known for her works for television, such as Sex Traffic and The Hour, and the films Brick Lane, The Iron Lady, Shame and Suffragette.

For The Hour she deservedly won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special (2013).


The Hour was cancelled after the second series was transmitted – its ratings being one quarter lower than the first.

I blame that Lettera 25.


“I’m a BAFTA nominated actress and this is the typewriter they give me.”

4 thoughts on “Finest Hour

  1. It was good, as good as the first, but it introduced a shady nightclub owner whom I thought would be a minor character, but season 2 incorporated him into the story to a larger extent.
    The writing was still sharp, though. Definitely deserved a wider audience.


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