The Hour - Freddie character spot

Client: BBC Two
Agency: Red Bee Media
Producer: Emma Robinson
Art Direction and Lead animator: Simon McKenzie
Additional Animation: Laurence Honderick

The Hour is a drama series launched in 2011 by the BBC. Starring  Ben Whishaw, Dominic West (Jimmy McNulty!) and Romola Garai. It is a highly successful espionage thriller set in Cold War-era England.

We were called to produce a campaign to launch the premiere of the show. Four promos were produced, one launch and a promo each for the three main characters.

The music score; Horace Silver: Señor Blues, was chosen early which gave the promos a tempo and mood. Influences from the work of Saul Bass, Piet Mondrian and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy (from the Bauhaus school) were drawn.

A preference for solid primary and secondary colours was taken, namely red, blue, orange and yellow.  These colours also led the grading of the rotoscoped show footage. A typeface was created and all textures were hand painted. The naive, hand made shapes and lo-fi animation style, beds the promos into the 1950’s era which also influenced the shows art direction.


After I gave you that lamp, we ate at that terrible Chinese. It’s an angle-poise because you press your face too close to the page when you read and there’s never enough light. You won’t wear glasses because you say your nose is too small and with glasses you’d look like a mole which you don’t… wouldn’t. They’d suit you. You’d look just as fairly beautiful as you are. It’s yellow because you said no one wants a yellow lamp. So I thought if I got it for you in yellow then no one would steal it from your desk. I do give these things quite a lot of consideration, you see. The devil is in the detail.