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Ben Whishaw in The Hour

18 Aug

British weather is a joke. But in the summer, as the clouds draw over, festivals and fairs get pissed on, and al of a sudden you’re wearing a coat and shivering whilst inside, at least these grumbles are allayed by ‘the silly season’. When giant rats are found in an estate oop north, or when a whale is found halfway up the Thames, or a donkey is parachuted into the air. Silly season is essentially when parliamentary recess happens and every newspaper’s front 20 pages resemble Metro’s page 3.

However, in this disgusting summer, the whole concept of a silly season lasted for about as long as that 31 degree heatwave. What kicked it off was the convergence of evil journalists, evil politicians, evil police officers in the hacking scandal, sending the world into some sort of tailspin, making everything happen reallyfuckingquickly and giving actual purpose to 24 hour news channels’ ‘BREAKING’ tickers. Bar the recent riots, which were a whole new level of WTF, this persistence of stuff just happening all over the place has been eerily echoed by The Hour. The newsroom thriller about the corrupt triumvirate of police, government and journalists, had The Times columnist Giles Coren musing on Twitter: “wow. journalists, police and politicians all interconnected in a terrible naughty mess. who would have thought?”

The programme had been tipped as the ‘British Mad Men’, but the plaudit fell by the wayside; although The Hour’s costumes seem to be spot on, it lacks Mad Men’s glamour and gloss. All for good reason – the BBC’s budget is a mere splash to HBO’s ocean, and postwar Britain was penniless in comparison to postwar America. But at points it feels as if the grubbiness is not down to a purposeful move away from glamour, but down to unintentional faults. There are some serious continuity howlers as the camera angle switches. Look! There’s Dominic West pouring a bottle of wine. And look! It’s disappeared again.

Almost as fleeting as Dominic West’s bottle of wine was my friend Noo’s turn in the first episode. She had a tough task, playing the nervy society girl who dismantled the story’s equilibrium by coming in and mumbling paranoid tales about ‘them’ and ‘they’. But she did very well, and you can see her this Christmas in the BBC’s adaptation of Great Expectations. Let’s hope she gets given a better fringe this time.

But we’re not here to talk about her fringe. We’re here to talk about Ben Whishaw’s lesbian hair. Lots of people have said that his suit looks far too contemporary, that it could’ve fallen out of a Hedi Slimane collection. The same could be said for his hair, which seems to have been scalped from east London’s finest lesbians. It’s all floppy, like what happens when a girl has a crew cut then it grows out and she can’t be bothered to cut it because it’s still pretty low maintenance and besides she’s sleeping with the ex of the girl who cuts her hair for free and why pay anyway? Yeah, that.