Monday, 5 February 2018


[Favourite of the Month] Aired between January and February 2017 on ITV, The Halcyon is a 8 x 60-minute lavish drama created by Charlotte Jones.

Set in a five star London hotel in 1940, The Halcyon arrives in France this thursday on pubcaster France 3 as The Halcyon: Un palace dans la tourmente.

The bottom line: Mr Selfridge and Downton Abbey meet Hotel Babylon, with a bit of Foyle's War and Grand Hotel.

Produced by Left Bank Pictures (The Crown), The Halcyon is an attempt by ITV to recapture the flame of their period drama megahit Downton Abbey. This drama will not illustrate the definition of "Originality" in a dictionary but it's gripping, well-acted and thoroughly produced. The Halcyon shouts class at all levels right from the pre-credit party of the premiere (which literally starts with a bang). Then cue to a Bondian title sequence with an uber cool song, between Portishead and 007. The amazing Steven Mackintosh and the fabulous Olivia Williams lead a competent ensemble cast in a world of glamour, intrigue and romance. Mackintosh plays Richard Garland, the subtle and effective hotel manager (a man with some secrets). Williams plays Lady Priscilla Hamilton, the intelligent, heartbroken wife of the Halcyon owner, soon confronted to a life-changing situation.

A secret meeting at the hotel raises the interest of American journalist Joe O'Hara (Matt "Constantine" Ryan, channeling James Bond). One of the participants is Charity Lambert (Charity Wakefield), a young woman with connections to the Nazi regime. Further cast includes Annabelle Apsion (Lillian Hobbs), Mark Benton (Dennis Feldman), Jamie Blackley (Freddie Hamilton), Edward Bluemel (Toby Hamilton), Hermione Corfield (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) as Richard's daughter Emma Garland, Sope Dirisu (Sonny Sullivan), Kevin Eldon, Alex Jennings, Akshay Kumar, Nico Rogner, Kara Tointon (singer Betsey Day), Liz White, etc. Even the legendary Nick Brimble, a name which means a lot when you're a drama buff. Written by Charlotte Jones, Jack Lothian, Martha Hillier and Sarah Dollard. Directed by Stephen Woolfenden, Rob Evans, Justin Hardy and Philip John.

Produced by Chris Croucher (Downton Abbey). Exec produced by Sharon Hughff, Jack Lothian and Andy Harries. Cinematography by Jean-Philippe Gossart, Toby Moore and Adam Gillham. Title sequence by Alex Maclean. Music composed by Samuel Sim (Maigret). Hourglass, the title song composed by Sim, is performed by Tracy Kashi. The beautiful end title is called Out Of The Sun. Production designed by Matt Gant. Costumes designed by Anna Marie Scott Robbins. Unfortunately ITV chose not to renew The Halcyon. The French dubbing, directed by Déborah Perret for Dubbing Brothers, is rather good. French dialogues by Olivier Delebarre & Margaux Lamy. Amongst an excellent vocal cast, Patrick Osmond does a great work as the French voice of Steven Mackintosh. The Halcyon is distributed by Sony Pictures Television. (French Press Pack) (ITV Press Pack)  (Dubbing)

See also: (Alex Maclean)

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