BBC’s “The Hour” Pegs What’s Changed About America
I want to remind you again: This had a profound impact on me over the weekend. I’m watching this British TV show about the BBC’s early days, TV’s early days, called The Hour. Many of you may have heard of it. It’s somewhat popular. It’s about, I guess, the forerunner to 60 Minutes; how this television show works and all the people involved and how they go about pursuing news and the usual stuff. But one of the lead male characters in the hiatus between the close of the first season and the episode premiere of season two. In the episode premiere of season two the guy comes back, he’s been on sabbatical. He traveled the world. He got married in Paris, whole bunch of stuff, but he also spent time in America.
He’s having a conversation with his main male competitor at this network, and he says (paraphrasing), “I was in America, and I really liked what I saw in America. I was a nobody in a country filled with people who think they can all be somebody, and that was infectious. So I’ve come back here to my home in Britain, I’ve come back to the BBC, and I want some of that. I want to be somebody.” This guy was being made in this series to play second fiddle. He was the writer. He was the real journalist. He was the real reporter that made this on-air presenter a star. The on-air presenter couldn’t put two sentences together if they weren’t written for him, like Obama. So this guy who’s been the underling, but really the force of the show, says America affected me, I was in a country filled with nobodies who think they can be somebody someday. And it was infectious, and I want that. In 1956 is when this show was set.