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TV Interview

Hannah Tointon 'The Hour' Q&A: 'I play the Primark Marilyn Monroe'

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The Hour: Kiki Delaine (HANNAH TOINTON)

© BBC / Kudos

BBC Two's stylish drama The Hour return this week. As series two begins, it's 1957 and the threat of a nuclear attack looms large over Britain. But charismatic newscaster Hector (Dominic West) finds himself in trouble of a different sort when his time spent gallivanting with showgirls at a seedy gentleman's club leads to trouble...

Digital Spy visited the set while The Hour 2 was still shooting and spoke to new cast addition Hannah Tointon (The Inbetweeners, Switch) about her role as glamorous dancer Kiki, described by the 24-year-old actress as "the Primark version of Marilyn Monroe"!

Was it daunting at all joining a show like The Hour in its second series?
"Absolutely. It's such an amazing cast, I think I was very daunted - I was quite scared actually, but they're all so welcoming!"

What can you tell us about your character Kiki?
"She's the showgirl. She's been brought up in this world - she doesn't really have any family and I think she's just in this horrible world. She's basically a prostitute but it's so undercover and weird - she sort of has this lifestyle that she's almost... kept."

By the owner of the club?
"Yes, she's one of his favourite girls and I think she likes that. I think she does want to get out of it as the series goes on, but at first she's loving the whole spotlight. She thinks she's the bee's knees, basically. But then it all starts to fall apart a little bit."

The Hour: Hector Madden (DOMINIC WEST), Kiki Delaine (HANNAH TOINTON)

© BBC / Kudos



Does she dream of being a star in the beginning?
"Yes, I think so, absolutely. I think she looks up to Marilyn Monroe - she's basically just the Primark version of Marilyn Monroe! She's got the confidence - she just thinks she's amazing. So that's really fun because I haven't really played a part like that before.

"She loves the glamour but doesn't want the horrible bits behind it. At first, she probably loved the performing and loved the showbiz side - that all these famous men come to the club and she's got the attention. I think that bit she loves, but I don't think she likes sleeping with all these men."

When do things start to change for Kiki?
"She gets beaten up and at first you don't know who did it. But she's one of those girls where, whatever happens, she'll pick herself up and she will get out there. She just finds any good thing in a bad thing."

People might recognise you from your role on The Inbetweeners - do you prefer comedy or drama?
"To be honest, I am somebody that as long as I have a character, it doesn't really matter if it's comedy or drama - I think timing is important in either. But for me, it's all about having a character to work on. I guess I find it all quite similar really."

The Hour: Angus McCain (JULIAN RHIND-TUTT), Hector Madden (DOMINIC WEST), Kiki Delaine (HANNAH TOINTON), Cilenti (VINCENT RIOTTA)

© BBC / Kudos



The Hour obviously has a period setting - did you do any research into the time?
"Well, I've watched a lot of '50s films and My Week With Marilyn came out the week I was starting this. I've got weird pants that sort of give me hips and apparently Michelle Williams used them in that film as well.

"So yeah, I watched that and I sort of took inspiration - I've always loved those sort of films anyway. I just love Marilyn Monroe and that era."

We think of that period as being very glamorous, but this storyline shows the dark side...
"That's what I really love about it, because the first two episodes are very glamorous and you think it's all very lovely but then you see the seediness and that it's really quite gritty."

Did researching the period help you to identify with Kiki?
"As soon as I read the character, I just knew what sort of character she was. You can get that not even from research - I'm quite a people watcher and you take on elements of people you've met before. You're in situations all the time where you meet people and they have a certain element where you think, 'Oh - that's her'."

Are there any elements of you in Kiki?
"God, I hope not. She uses her sexuality to get what she wants and I hope I'm not like that as a person. I really hope not!"

The Hour series two begins this Wednesday (November 14) at 9pm on BBC Two.

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