Your next favourite British TV show: The Night Manager

know you all still love Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. I get that Broadchurch was fun and intense (series one anyway…) and I understand that those cute little accents just get you every time in Downton Abbey.

But I assure you – The Night Manager is about to become your new favourite British TV show. And yes, we do spell that with a ‘U’.

Let me introduce you.

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The Night Manager is based on John Le Carre’s novel, and the author and his sons were closely involved in the adaptation. (He wrote Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, amongst many others) Depending on who you believe, it cost £3m an episode – and it was money well spent.

Three stories that at first seem disparate are brought together, and if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to look away.

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Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston) is the night manager of the title, working in a hotel in Cairo, and, like all good night managers, catering to his guests’ every whim, despite it being very late at night/early in the morning. He’s also seeing a very beautiful (and important) lady named Sophie, and that might annoy some people.

Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) is working for the security services in the UK, except she’s got a rubbish office and no real staff to speak of. She wants to take down international arms dealers. She’s also vvv pregnant. It’s clear that whilst we know she’s good, a lot of other people regard her as a pain in the backside, and would like her to go away.

Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie) is, by coincidence, an international arms dealer. He’s living the life of bloody riley, is Roper, with a range of stunning houses, an entourage of sycophants (like Tom Hollander, who plays henchman Corky) and a beautiful girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki) But of course, there’s always a loose cannon… we just don’t know who it might be. And nor does Roper.

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There’ll be no plot spoilers here – you have to watch it for yourself – but of course, Pine, Roper and Burr’s worlds will intertwine. The British government (well, bits of it, because of course corruption is rife here) doesn’t like arms dealers, and Jonathan Pine will soon have cause not to like them very much either.

How he becomes a part of Roper’s world – and then tries to destroy it from the inside – is deft and clever and taut and beautiful, and you will miss it when it’s gone.

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WHY YOU WILL LIKE IT

* Such a great cast. Look at them though. Others I haven’t mentioned include David Harewood, Katharine Kelly and Aure Atika. And there are no weak links, everyone is a wonderful actor.
* It looks incredible. It’s beautifully shot, in beautiful locations.
* The plot is just plausible enough, and there’s enough tension to sustain you through six episodes.
* OK I wasn’t going to do this, but OK let’s – I wasn’t a Hiddleston fan before, but I totally am now. Yes there is nudity, but more than that, there are green eyes and the look that says “oh come on now”.

WHY YOU WON’T LIKE IT

* It’s not that violent, but there IS violence, so if you aren’t a fan, then this might not be for you.
* The plot, whilst plausible, is ever-so-slightly ludicrous at times.
* The BBC is, of course, planning a second series (because if something is a success, you can’t just call it a success, you have to mess with it) and knowing about that made me a bit twitchy.

The show has its US premiere in LA this week, and will then be on AMC from 19th April, if my sources are correct. I highly recommend you watch it.

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About gnidrah

Television, books, music, sports, cooking. I only get paid for one of them.
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22 Responses to Your next favourite British TV show: The Night Manager

  1. summerestherson says:

    GIRL I AM WAAAAY AHEAD OF YOU. I’ve been looking forward to this for ages based solely on Hiddles presence and especially once I found out there’s Hiddlesbutt invovled! But now I’m doubly looking forward to it because of Olivia Colman (luv u Liv!) and the fact that it is actually good! Huzzah!

  2. hotspur says:

    I have been seeing billboards for this show. I thought it was a movie. Thanks for straightening me out, gnid.

    John LeCarre has written a hundred books. I had to read fifty of them for a college course (SEMINAR: THE COLD WAR AND ITS INFLUENCE ON WESTERN GOVERNANCE AS VIEWED THROUGH THE PRISM OF JOHN LE CARRE NOVELS), and that course was basically this poli-sci professor’s daydream of not teaching a real class but instead spending 16 weeks talking about his favorite spy novels. Except in the end, he required a 30-page paper and I chose the theme (paraphrasing) “This class is ridiculous and we shouldn’t be expected to write a paper.” I came in at 28 pages, wrote a note saying “We both know I could make it 30 by adjusting the margins,” and got a C-minus, which annoyed the hell out of me, because I was right.

    Some of the books were good though. I plan to reread The Spy Who Came In From The Cold some day. John Le Carre was, it seems, a real spy before he became a spy novelist, so he knows whereof he speaks.

    • gnidrah says:

      It basically is a movie. The director has an Oscar. They’ve tried to adapt it for film before, but every time they couldn’t work out what to leave out to make it two or two-and-a-half hours long, so they decided, let’s give it the six hours it demands. (co-pro means they have the budget, also)

      I’m glad I didn’t do that paper. But reminds me of when a friend of mine did his entire GCSE Design & Technology exam (that’s age 16) in yellow highlighter pen, to ‘highlight’ his distain for the course, and still managed to get a grade D.

    • old man fatima says:

      I love Le Carre so much, and if that course had been offered at my university I would have taken it for credit, and then audited it every consecutive year just so I could talk about it more. I would have handed in a 40 page paper, whittled down to 30 with razor thin margins and the font .25 smaller than requested and NO filler words. I’m so jealous of this course.

      • hotspur says:

        As I recall, it came with a slight undercurrent of resentment? “Those lit profs who worship arty writers like Joyce and Faulkner are snooty and mean, and they’re not better than me!” But when I look back on college, the Le Carre books are some of the ones I remember most vividly, and the prof did a good job of highlighting certain themes that I still think about. Ah, 20-year-old me, you had no idea how cush you had it! Your only job was to read spy novels, and you had to go ‘n be a bitter rebel about it.

    • Oooo, I would’ve liked that course if only because I liked taking wacky English course and reading books (but was somehow not an English major). My fav class in college was Post-War Jewish-American lit. Roth/Bellow/Doctorow/Chabon/Ginsburg, it was so random and wonderful.

      • hotspur says:

        Jewish America is where the Post-War lit action was! Roth and Bellow and Doctorow! Didn’t know Doctorow was Jewish but sure! No Mailer?? Not sure how Chabon made the cut because his first book came out in like 1990, so, come on, that’s a stretch, but he’s great too!

        • The prof was more focused on the clear line of influence from early Jewish-American writers to present time. I think Post-War wasn’t as accurate for him, since we actually started with pre-war authors who were part of the immigration waves after the pogroms. We did a few Holocaust stories (Maus!) but most of the course had to do with what it’s like to be Jewish-American, aka a minority that is predominantly upper-class but still very much outsider while also discussing the difference between Jewish as a heritage and Jewish as a religion. Chabon was towards the end of the class, just a “fun” read that looked at Modern Jewish writers. Anyways, it was fun and fascinating and my prof looked like Michael Douglas circa “Wonder Boys.”

      • gnidrah says:

        That sounds like a great class!

  3. gnidrah says:

    Actually, the main comment on this post is, I FINALLY WROTE A POST EVERYONE. I had to get into work 45 minutes early in order to have time to do it, but I wrote it!

  4. martinmegz says:

    Thank you for this! This sounds right up my alley. I’d heard the title and the actors but in my head I was picturing something else. I also thought I’d missed my chance to watch it so now I’m excited.

    • gnidrah says:

      If any of you want to include it in your TV round-ups when it’s on, I’d be happy to join in!

  5. Sota says:

    Ugh these photos make me want to watch it for sure. Partly for the attractive men, and partly because of the flowy grecian gowns on that lady. I loveeee a flowy grecian gown. And I wish I was tall enough to look as effortless and flowy in it.

    • gnidrah says:

      She’s very good, she will get loads of work off the back of this. She was in the Baz Luhrmann Great Gatsby, with a very dark bobbed haircut too, I totally didn’t recognise her!

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