The Halcyon

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The Halcyon
Series title against a sitting women over a London scene during the Blitz
Created byCharlotte Jones
Written byCharlotte Jones
Jack Lothian
Martha Hillier
Sarah Dollard
Directed byStephen Woolfenden
Rob Evans
Justin Hardy
Philip John
Composer(s)Samuel Sim
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes8
Executive producer(s)Sharon Hughff
Jack Lothian
Andy Harries
Producer(s)Chris Croucher
Production location(s)London, England
Editor(s)Crispin Green
Dominic Strevens
Paul Endacott
Running time47–48 minutes
Production company(s)Left Bank Pictures
Original networkITV
Picture format2:1
Audio formatStereo
Original release2 January (2017-01-02) – 20 February 2017 (2017-02-20)

The Halcyon is a British television period drama broadcast on ITV which began airing on 2 January 2017. It was created and written by Charlotte Jones. Left Bank Pictures is the production company of the series which is set in 1940 and focuses on a five-star hotel at the centre of London Society and a world at war. The series was first announced on 3 December 2015, before the official cast was announced on 4 April 2016, with Steven Mackintosh and Olivia Williams playing major roles. The series was cancelled after one series.[1]


The Halcyon was first announced on 3 December 2015.[2] It was commissioned by ITV's Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.[2] The show was produced by Chris Croucher, created by Charlotte Jones, executive produced by Sharon Hughff, Jack Lothian and Andy Harries. The lead series writer is Jack Lothian.[3][4] Left Bank Pictures were the production company of the series.[5]

The series focused on examining World War II London from 'a new perspective',[6] and was set in 1940 at a five-star hotel "at the centre of London Society and a world at war",[7] aiming to show London life "through the prism of war and the impact it has on families, politics, relationships and work across every social strata."[8] The first episode was broadcast on 2 January 2017,[9] and the series concluded on 20 February 2017.[10]

Croucher called The Halcyon "a similar beast" to Downton Abbey, although Left Bank Pictures founder and managing director Marigo Kehoe explained that the show had been in development "for a long time", and the development of the show came at a time when "new ideas were needed".[5] Producer Chris Croucher added that "Downton has a serenity to it, but the modern world is arriving in The Halcyon", as well as revealing The Halcyon's dialogue "is more punchy" and that the show "has more energy".[11] Radio Times wrote that The Halcyon has a "little bit of Downton Abbey and a little bit of Mr Selfridge in the mix".[9]

A cover of the song "Marvellous Party" performed by UK soul singer Beverley Knight was released as part of the series' soundtrack.[12]


The cast consists of about twenty main characters.[4][5] The cast was officially announced on 4 April 2016, with the news that Olivia Williams and Steven Mackintosh would star in The Halcyon.[13][14] Williams commented on her character, stating that Lady Hamilton is "a trope, but wonderful to play" before adding that her character is also "an inherited aristocrat with a sharp wit who is racist, classist, homophobic...Everything you'd want her to be, to be truly hateful!".[11] Mackintosh revealed his character as "interesting",[11] and that "on first impressions, you might think the surface is all there is". Tointon said of her casting that "it's a lovely compliment".[11] She also stated The Halcyon cast will be a "sexier Downton".[15]

Regular main cast[edit]

Guest stars[edit]

Supporting cast[edit]


The Halcyon had several potential filming locations including Liverpool, Manchester and Dublin,[5] however the team reached a decision to shoot the series on a studio space in London with West London Film Studios.[5][18] The exterior of the set was provided by 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields in Central London, the former Land Registry Building now owned by The London School of Economics,[18] while further outdoor scenes were shot at Spa Fields.[18] Further locations include Serle Street and Portugal Street, two areas around Lincoln's Inn Fields.[18] The hotel's basement was filmed at the House of Detention in Clerkenwell's Sans Walk.[18] The Chatham Historic Dockyard in Kent was used in episodes 5 and 6 for scenes depicting bombed London streets.[19]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [20]
1"Episode 1"Stephen WoolfendenJack Lothian and Charlotte Jones2 January 2017 (2017-01-02)7.28
May 1940:- At the Halcyon hotel in London discreet manager Richard Garland turns a blind eye when the promiscuous owner Lord Hamilton smuggles in his flighty mistress Charity Lambert to sit in on a secret meeting of the appeasement party. When his wife Lady Hamilton arrives unexpectedly Richard and his receptionist daughter Emma, assisted by housekeeper Lilian and porter Feldman, act quickly to prevent her from catching the couple together. Emma is mutually attracted to RAF pilot Freddie, the Hamiltons' elder son who turns up with researcher brother Toby but Betsey, the out-spoken dance band singer, warns Emma that Freddie is out of her league. At a party for Freddie his father's indiscretions are common knowledge with the staff and Lady Hamilton despite the pair putting up a united front. They are all observed by American journalist Joe O'Hara, whose plan to expose Hamilton's political stance in a broadcast home leads to disaster.
2"Episode 2"Stephen WoolfendenJack Lothian and Charlotte Jones9 January 2017 (2017-01-09)6.16
3"Episode 3"Rob EvansJack Lothian16 January 2017 (2017-01-16)6.05
4"Episode 4"Rob EvansJack Lothian and Martha Hillier23 January 2017 (2017-01-23)5.92
5"Episode 5"Justin HardyJack Lothian and Charlotte Jones30 January 2017 (2017-01-30)5.69
6"Episode 6"Justin HardySarah Dollard6 February 2017 (2017-02-06)5.55
7"Episode 7"Philip JohnMartha Hillier and Jack Lothian13 February 2017 (2017-02-13)5.74
8"Episode 8"Philip JohnJack Lothian20 February 2017 (2017-02-20)5.63


  1. ^ "The Sun". Digital Spy. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "ITV commissions major eight part drama series The Halcyon". ITV Press Centre. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  3. ^ "ITV announce "Downton Abbey" replacement The Halcyon". The Version. 4 April 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b "The Halcyon" (PDF). ITV Press Centre. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e Szalai, Georg (10 March 2016). "'The Halcyon' Set Visit: Hotel Period Drama Looks to Make Splash at MIPCOM". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  6. ^ Harp, Justin (3 December 2015). "ITV may have found its next Mr Selfridge with a new drama set at a glamorous '40s hotel". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  7. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (3 December 2015). "ITV Checks into Period Hotel Drama 'The Halcyon' From Left Bank Pictures". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  8. ^ "The Halcyon—Synopsis". ITV. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  9. ^ a b Bley Griffiths, Eleanor (22 December 2016). "What time is The Halcyon on TV?". Radio Times. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Series 1 – Episode 8". Radio Times. 9 February 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d Tate, Gabriel (12 December 2016). "Welcome to the new Downton Abbey: meet the stars of ITV's wartime drama The Halcyon". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2016.(subscription required)
  12. ^ "Beverley Knight – Marvellous Party (From The Halcyon)". YouTube. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  13. ^ Hunt, Debs (4 April 2016). "Steven Mackintosh, Olivia Williams star in new ITV drama, The Halcyon". Inside Media Track. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Steven Mackintosh and Olivia Williams star in major new drama series The Halcyon". ITV. 4 April 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  15. ^ Bley Griffiths, Eleanor (22 December 2016). "Kara Tointon reveals "nerve-wracking" nude scene in new ITV drama The Halcyon". Radio Times. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Series 1 – Episode 1". Radio Times. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Series 1 – Episode 2". Radio Times. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d e Daniels, Nia (20 December 2016). "London locations for ITV's The Halcyon". The Knowledge Online. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  19. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office The Halcyon Article".
  20. ^ "Weekly top 30 programmes". BARB. Retrieved 21 December 2016.

External links[edit]