The Hour

British Actors You Should Know: Peter Capaldi

We figured: You get cast to play the Doctor, you get bumped up our British Actors You Should Know List. It seemed fair.

After much speculation and trepidation on the part of Doctor Who fans worldwide, the announcement has been made that Scottish actor Peter Capaldi will take on the 12th regeneration of the Doctor. I, for one, am quite chuffed about this choice as I have been an admirer of Mr. Capaldi’s work for some time.

Also, I’m interested to see how Steven Moffat and company will handle the necessary changes as they transition from Matt Smith, the youngest actor to play the Time Lord, to Capaldi who, at 55 years of age, ties with First Doctor William Hartnell for oldest actor to inhabit the part. Come to that, how will his companion Clara take the news?

Anyhow, it’s very exciting times indeed.

Now, if at this point you’re saying “Who is this Capaldi chap?” I’m willing to bet you’ve seen at least one of his wonderful performances over the past 30 years. But if you actually don’t know Peter Capaldi, whether you’re Whovian or not, I’m here to say he really is a British actor you should know and here are some reasons why.

British Actors You Should Know: Ben Whishaw

Welcome to the second installment in our series on some of our favorite British actors and actresses. You all totally thought I was going to do a Benedict Cumberbatch one first, didn’t you? Don’t worry. We’ll get there. You know it.

British television is often full of what one might term “Hey, It’s That Guy!” actors and actresses – performers you’ve seen probably a dozen times, but maybe aren’t quite sure who they are or where you’ve seen them before. While actor Ben Whishaw’s professional star is rising rapidly, thanks to a couple of recent very high-profile roles (thanks lots, James Bond!), he probably falls under that category for a many of you. But he shouldn’t, because he is the real deal.

Frequently referred to as one of the best British actors of his generation by various members of the press, Whishaw has been nominated for multiple awards for his various performances on stage and screen, and is generally just amazing.

Why? Read on.

The Hour’s Time is Officially Up: Newsroom Drama Canceled by the BBC

Upsetting news for fans of the BBC’s 1950s drama The Hour – we won’t be going back to the newsroom for a third series. The Radio Times has confirmed that the award-winning period piece starring Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw as the staff of a fictional BBC current affairs program has been axed by BBC2 and will officially join the ranks of great shows left unfinished. (Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth from everyone who saw the Series 2 finale. Seriously, that’s unfair.)

“We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through,” the BBC said in a statement. The Hour was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries last year and its second series received a fair amount of critical acclaim. Sadly, the drama’s ratings weren’t particularly strong, especially as compared to its first series totals, and it struggled to find an audience last winter.

This news is especially disappointing given the fact that Series 2 ended on a cliffhanger and left a number of significant plot points unresolved. While The Hour’s news team successfully broke the organized crime story that served as Series 2’s central mystery, we’re going to be left forever wondering whether Whishaw’s Freddie survived a brutal beating at the hands of gangsters, what exactly was meant to happen with West’s Hector and his wife’s marriage and whether Freddie and Garai’s Bel Rowley ever worked out all their relationship issues or not (the show’s centerpiece will they/won’t they romance had finally managed to confess their feelings in the series’ final episode). Seriously, the last shot of Series 2 was gutwrenching – Freddie’s broken body lying in front of the BBC offices while he struggled to say Bel’s name – and it’s even more so now that this will serve as the final image for the show, too.

Obviously, I’m quite heartbroken at this news, as I quite loved The Hour’s smart writing, fantastic cast and commitment to presenting viewers with intelligent television (that you actually had to pay attention to). Given the way the last episode of Series 2 concluded, it would seem that there was no way that those involved in producing the drama expected that they wouldn’t get a third series (you don’t leave a major character in jeopardy like that if you don’t think you’ll get to tell people what happened afterward).

Apparently thousands of fans have already started a petition to convince the BBC to resuscitate the show. You can sign it here – in all honesty, it’s unlikely that any petition like this would do anything to move the needle once the network’s decision has been made, but if you’re a fan of The Hour it might make you feel a bit better. (Over 7,000 people have already signed it – so clearly those of us who are in mourning for the show are not alone!)

How about you all - will you miss The Hour?

Watch the First Episode of The Hour Series 2 Online Before It Premieres!

Series 2 of The Hour officially kicks off on BBC America starting November 28 (it’s already airing in the UK, but we’ll only be a couple of weeks behind, woohoo!). However, there’s no reason to wait that long if you’re really dying to see where the story of Hector, Bel and Freddie goes in the new season. (Or just really like Ben Whishaw in suits. I won’t judge.)

BBC America has made the full first episode of Series 2 available online prior to its official broadcast start date, so you can settle down this weekend and dig right in.

Get Your First Look at Series 2 of The Hour, Premiering on BBC America November 28

The Hour, the series that many called Britain’s answer to Mad Men last year, is back for a second series this month. If you’ve never seen The Hour, well, it’s sort of what would happen if you crossed Mad Men with HBO’s The Newsroom and also you were given the extra bonus present of Ben Whishaw in snazzy 1950s suits as the icing on top. (Yes, newly swoony geek girls everywhere, this is your new Q from the latest Bond film, Skyfall. He’s also quite a good actor. Enjoy.)

Series 1 ran here in America in the summer of 2011 and was one of my surprise favorite dramas last year –extremely well-acted, very suspenseful, and the sort of intelligent television that respects it viewers enough to assume that they’re going to keep up with it.

The news drama returns to BBC Two tomorrow night in the UK, but we won’t have to wait very long to see Series 2 for ourselves here in the States, as The Hour will premiere as part of BBC America’s Dramaville block on November 28, so we’ve only got a couple of weeks to wait! Huzzah!

Click through for all the latest on the return of this fabulous – two trailers, some cast interviews, and a quick way to catch yourself up on Series 1 in 90 seconds.