Russell Tovey joins The Night Manager: is this the most impressive British TV cast list ever?

Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, David Harewood, Katherine Kelly, Neil Morrissey – everybody wants a piece of John Le Carré's BBC1 adaptation

This is getting ridiculous: Russell Tovey will join BBC1 spy drama The Night Manager, becoming just the latest name on one of the most impressive British cast lists ever assembled.


The Being Human and Banished star joins Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman in the BBC mini series based on the novel by John Le Carré.

Other names just confirmed are Alistair Petrie (star of cult Channel 4 drama Utopia) and the Tony Award-winning Douglas Hodge, currently guest starring in Sky Atlantic’s Penny Dreadful.

The lure of the first Le Carré TV adaptation in over 20 years is just too strong for the Brits. Just in case you were losing track, other stars confirmed include Tom Hollander (Rev), David Harewood (Homeland), Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), Neil Morrissey (Line of Duty) Adeel Akhtar (also Utopia) and Jonathan Aris (Sherlock). Plus, Wolf Hall’s Hannah Steele and Natasha Little (Breathless).

And who’s in charge of this constellation of British stars? Oscar-winning Danish director Susanne Bier. 

Filming has actually already begun on the BBC adaptation, not that that’s stopped the casting directors in their bid to throw even more names into the mix.

Laurie and Hiddleston have both tweeted pictures from the Matterhorn in Switzerland, perhaps the only mountain in Europe dramatic enough to match this roster of talent.

The story focuses around ex-British solder Jonathan Pine, recruited by intelligence officer Burr (Colman) to infiltrate the inner circle of well-connected arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie).

When you look at it in context, the actor interest makes sense: Alec Guinness’s performance in the BBC’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979) and Smiley’s People (1982) remains the definitive George Smiley, despite Gary Oldman’s bespectacled brilliance in the recent film version of Tinker Tailor.


Other Le Carré adaptations have featured the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ralph Fiennes, Richard Burton and Patrick Stewart, making The Night Manager just the latest shift worker in the Le Carré star selection.