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Keep that tie swinging, it's edgy sexuality

By Jane Graham

Published 06/08/2011

BBC 2's 50s-set TV news drama The Hour has generally been warmly received. But there has been some niggly criticism regarding the unliklihood of Ben Whishaw's BBC journo sporting something as uncouth as an undone top shirt button and a loosened tie.

The pedants might have a point but, in artistic terms, this symbol of rebellion works beautifully. As it has done since, in fact, the 1950s, when Frank Sinatra's lazily loose tie'n'top button combo set him apart from fusty old crooners.

For me growing up in a swingtime Sinatra-crazed household, Frank's unfastened top button represented coolness and an edgy sexuality. Twenty years later it made Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon the grooviest film star. Thirty years later, it nailed The Wire's delectably maverick Jimmy McNulty as the most lust-worthy TV character in the history of the box. So keep swinging Ben, you're doing fine.

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