On the Hour was Chris Morris' radio-based forerunner to the TV spoof news programme The Day Today, which in turn lead to the controversial ratings winner "Brass Eye", a spoof current affairs documentary programme.
Chris Morris has been one of the BBC's and therefore Britain's most successful political satirists. His writing style blends simple spoof scriptwriting with moments of total surrealism that have ensured he has retained a loyal alternative culture following in spite of the largely serious political points that drive his work forward. Brass Eye's episode on paedophilia which treated that supposedly untouchable subject with his usual acerbic wit and silliness caused outcries in certain wings of the press in the week following the broadcast on the every-edgy Channel 4, probably much to the satrist's delight.
On the Hour and Chris Morris's other programmes send up the way the media presents events as
much as the politicians who are at the heart of the events, with self-satisfied, glib and cocky presenters clearly wanting to appear both powerful and trendy, abandoning on the way any attempt at balanced reporting to achieving personal glory. Listening to his news broadcasters pompously dismiss one or another individual or group of people with childish name calling using Morris's special brand of a made-up, grandiose compound words which are a memorable and once again surreal feature of his writing, you can easily imagine them making wild, "dynamic" gestures to the mike like the characters in the TV series that Morris would go on to produce years down the line.
Chris Morris's radio programmes come from his fine eye for political and newscasting filler, fluff and blunder. His interviewers always ask those questions you always wanted "real" newspeople to use and since his programmes have been with out laughter tracks, it's a wonderfully fun game trying to work out just "serious" each segment is mean to be.
Top comedy, and On the Hour, along with Morris's other radio project, Blue Jam, was the beginning of the career of a superb comedian - and a great actor with a wonderful sense for comic timing.