There are two BBC programs on television that I do not miss. (I record them, just in case I can’t watch them.) One is Downton Abbey, which is terrific – and a pretty obviously unmissable.

The other is on BBC America, and it is called The Hour. I saw series one when I was living in the UK, and it was good. They’ve just aired series two in the US, and the last program left me in tears. If you haven’t watched it (as they say on BBC News) look away now.

The last episode is gripping and terrifying. The journalists of The Hour have discovered both a vice scandal and more importantly a related government insider-dealing scandal, which the higher ups are trying to cover up by letting the vice scandal run. Freddie (the co-host) is negotiating with one of the prostitutes at the center of both scandals, and convinces her to be interviewed on their program. They arrange a clandestine meet at a cinema, after she has gathered up her things to flee London. They meet, but she is followed, and Freddie stays behind to cause a diversion while Kiki goes ahead to the studio. During the build-up to the interview, Freddie is beaten to a pulp, and while the show airs, and Kiki is interviewed (by the person she had falsely accused of beating her), Freddie is beaten by the kingpin of the nightclub (with the show on the tele in the background). Before she goes on, Kiki informs Bel that Freddie was in danger, and they despatch the police to apprehend the kingpin. They arrest him, but not before he has dumped Freddie near death on the grass in front of the BBC (presumably White City, since there is no grass in front of Broadcasting House). He’s still barely alive, but it doesn’t look good as the final fade comes.

Can there be a series 3 without Freddie? No. The last thing that he and Bel did was profess their love for each other (which everyone knew but them, apparently). Him dying seems logical. However, their work relationship is the bedrock of the show, complicated by various overlapping love triangles. Now they have all been resolved, so where is the conflict? It’s over. If Freddie lives, he and Bel live happily ever after (with some inevitable work issues). If he dies, there is no show. Madden and Marni are back together. Bel is broken. The scandal (presumably an alternate universe parallel to the Profumo affair) runs its course. Freddie is the heart and soul of The Hour.

No, The Hour is over. Freddie will lie in the limbo between life and death forever. If they do come back for a series 3, then it will struggle to maintain the same level of drama.

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