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TCA 2012: 'The Hour' promises to bring glamour to the newsroom

August 01, 2012|By Joy Press
  • Romola Garai and Dominic West talk about season 2 of "The Hour" at TCA.
Romola Garai and Dominic West talk about season 2 of "The Hour"… (Frederick M. Brown )

"The Newsroom" isn't the only drama about a news team on television: BBC America's "The Hour" will return for Season 2 this fall, with its Cold War intrigue giving way to a touch more glamour and seediness.

Stars Dominic West and Romolai Garai joined creator Abi Morgan at the Television Critics Press Assn. on Wednesday to talk about the new season of the miniseries. Ben Whishaw (who stars in the new movie "Cloud Atlas") was absent, as was new co-star Peter Capaldi ( "The Thick of It" and "In the Loop"). Capaldi joins the cast as a new head of news looming over the pioneering late 1950s newscast anchored by West's debonair character, who finds himself increasingly famous but also in increasing trouble this time around.

"I go from being the toast of the town to being in jail," West noted.

This season, Morgan said, is very much about a changing Britain, focusing partly on "the birth of [modern] celebrity...the coming of glamour and Hollywood aspiration."

Garai pointed out that West (best known as McNulty of "The Wire") seemed to enjoy shooting the main scenes of his character surrounded by scantily clad dancing girls in smoke-filled clubs, while her character spent much of her screen time fuming and disapproving. But she remains a formidable character who, Morgan said, is very much in keeping with the historical reality of a period when a huge number of women were making their way in the workplace for the first time.

Garai (who also stars in "Crimson Petal and the White," airing on Encore in September) said she's rarely recognized on the street because, as a veteran of costume dramas, "I'm often wearing enormous hats!" Whereas West says he gets recognized regularly -- but for his role on "The Wire."

Asked whether doing such high-quality shows has helped his career, West quips, "I'm not working at the moment.... You can do too much quality."

Morgan says she's hoping to keep the series going long enough to get to the early '60s, when Margaret Thatcher came into the public eye; after all, Morgan wrote the Thatcher biopic. "I'm racing toward it," she said.

And what does Morgan think of the contemporary parallel? No controversy there. She says she loves Aaron Sorkin and "I'm really enjoying 'The Newsroom.'"

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