Press opens this week with a bizarre moment of non-news that once again makes those at The Herald look a little off. A phone call comes in from one of their journalists overseas, Chris Cartwright (David Schofield), who is supposed to be chasing down a story of some rebels. The phone call certainly sounds threatening, until Amina and Holly get a good earful and realize it's "Standard Arabic," which is a nice way of saying "a television program." Their reporter passed out drunk and butt-dialed them.
It's a strange way to start a week that seems to be about #MeToo. Considering the landscape in which Press debuted last year on BBC One, it was inevitable that the series would get around to diving into a story about a powerful man sleeping with his underlings. It starts when Holly gets a tip-off about Joshua West, who apparently likes his women young and finds them by offering an apprenticeship scheme.
Technically the girls are above age, which is a relief. The girl who comes forward, Rachel Gilmour (Emma Paetz), says she was 18 when it took place. But otherwise, it's your standard-issue woman coerced by a man in power. And there are others too, including the one he did it to just before Rachel. She's not willing to go on the record, seeing it as a learning experience that helped her be harder in the world and get further.
For a minute, it looks like Ed, who is Holly's current flatmate, might try and steal this story out from under her when he finds a few of her notes at breakfast. But Allen and West are poker buddies, and therefore, Allen's not going to want to be bothered with chasing any story against him down. Instead, they want him to head out to Warwick for a story about a tragically dead child. He's not the only one either. While The Herald may be chasing #MeToo, they're also chasing the same tragic story of a dead child, causing Leona and Ed to run into each other as they track down the same witness. The sparks are almost instant, even as they practically wrestle over their targeted interview.
But then the Cartwright thing turns out to have a purpose. The story he filed claims he did meet with the rebels... right when Amina and Holly were listening to him snore. His response: "Everything in that piece was said to me by someone I met." Amina's face drains, especially when he keeps talking, and says that he's written articles that have incited revolutions, that have made "real impact." It turns out he's been a fabulist for quite some time. As Amina puts it, "Thirty-five years...and anything you've written could be..." Yeah. That's not a discovery any paper wants to make.
Especially when that paper is about to go live with their Joshua West story, and what's weird is West's team, when asked for comment, don't respond. They don't even put out a hold, a denial, or anything, just radio silence, which for a journalistic enterprise, is unnerving as all get out. The moment they decide to go with the story anyway, it's just a matter of time before it blows up in their faces. It turns out, the silence is because West got an injunction on The Herald from running it. He's gone so far as to pull over the distribution lorries, and they're all dragged out of bed in the middle of the night to meet with a judge in the church basement to make their case if the paper should roll or not. The judge finds for West, and the papers are pulped, losing The Herald $2 million in the blink of an eye.
Up until now, Allen's been more interested in having lunch with the Prime Minister, to cash in those chips he earned from last week's takedown of the leader of the Steelworkers union. What he wants is a photoshoot, including the PM's children, who have been off-limits to the press. What he gets in return is something viewers have been waiting for since the premiere: He brings up The Herald's poking about into Resonance. If The Post hears about it, they are to ignore it, with extreme prejudice. This being the first Allen's heard about it, he's curious as hell, since the PM is so worried about it he practically brought it up unprompted. But Allen will do as the PM wants if it gets him the photoshoot.
Not only does Allen get the photoshoot, but when he hears The Herald got pulped, he's suddenly all over the West story. Ed apparently writes up what he's gleaned from Holly's notes, which they have up by the second edition, front page. Now Amina's facing The Herald's board, expected to hand in her resignation for failing to do her one job, which is keeping the paper printed. And The Post (who didn't bother go to West for comment) has the scoop.
Moving to The Post seems like a better and better proposition every day if Holly wants to stay employed.