We’ve been enjoying the new series of The Hour on the BBC for the last few weeks. The gripping 50s-based drama reaches its dramatic conclusion tonight, It’s got everything you’d need to make it a TV hit – intrigue, romance, sex and jealousy. By the sounds of that it could be set at any time, but what makes this particular programme such a success is the fact that it’s set in austere times in the 1950s. The war had only just ended, rationing was still in force and the world was on the brink of Cold War.
Historians often refer to the 50s as the decade when everything changed for the better: the decade when Britain finally became a modern and prosperous nation. If you’re watching the same programme as we are, then you’d never guess it. Everything is dark, grim, grey and altogether miserable. It’s taken the best part of two whole series before we even got our first glimpse of a chesterfield sofa, and even then the only places they seemed to be in evidence was either in the pub or in the corridors of Whitehall.
Thankfully things have changed for the better. Now anybody with taste and a little disposable income can get their hands on Britain’s most iconic piece of furniture. Yes you’ll still see lots of chesterfield sofas and chesterfield-inspired furniture in pubs and restaurants, and we know for a fact that Whitehall and the House of Commons are littered with them, but you too can have one. You too can have a leather chesterfield sofa as the centrepiece of your living room. You don’t need to be a member of a gentlemen’s club any more – this is the 21st century after all.
So keep your eyes peeled tonight when the Hour concludes and see if you can spot one of these classic pieces. Maybe we might be in for a surprise: maybe we might actually see one of these beauties in a 50s living room. Somehow we doubt it. Still, look on the bright side: we might be in the midst of one of the worst recessions this country has known, but at least we don’t still have rationing. What’s more, you can get your hands on a chesterfield sofa whenever you fancy it today. Life is good after all.