Kevin Myers: 'English repeatedly forget their own failures'
Published 21/07/2011 | 05:00
ATELEVISION programme, of itself, doesn't say much about the country from which it comes: but a programme that is hailed by the media as a flagship drama of the national broadcaster might, it can be argued, offer a fair representation of prevailing cultural standards. That's why 'The Hour', the execrable new series on the BBC, is worth watching, if only for a few minutes, most especially as a companion to the astonishing revelations that, yes, there might well be corrupt officers in the London Metropolitan Police.
'The Hour' is set in the BBC in 1956 and is infused with all the believability of a children's programme. In it, the bright new star of a current-affairs programme refers excitedly to the impact that Martin Luther King and John F Kennedy are making in the US -- though of course, this is years before they actually became national figures. No doubt each might have got a passing mention in the many newspapers in 1956, but not so as to justify excited comment in newsrooms. Only a childishly inane hindsight enables a scriptwriter to have such foresight.
A man is found murdered. The young reporter bribes a policeman to see the body. The lining of the dead man's suit has been sliced open. He reports excitedly to his colleagues; this is MI6's work -- and even more suspiciously, MI6 was refusing to make any public comment on the matter.