Gripping spy drama The Night Manager has been named the TV show of 2016 by Radio Times critics and writers from across the magazine and website.
The show stars Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Pine, a former British soldier turned luxury hotel manager who is recruited into the British intelligence services by Angela Burr (Olivia Colman), to infiltrate the inner-circle of the murky world of billionaire crook Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie). He is soon deeply entwined in a new and dangerous world of arms deals and deadly criminal activity overseen by Roper’s chief of staff Corkie (Tom Hollander) whilst trying to control his feelings for Roper’s beautiful girlfriend Jed, played by Elizabeth Debecki.
The glossy co-production between the BBC and American cable network AMC based on a 1993 John le Carré novel kept viewers on the edge of their seats during a six-part run on BBC1 in February and March, commanding audiences of nearly ten million per episode and proving that event TV is still very much alive and well. It was described by David Butcher Radio Times Deputy TV Editor, as “the year’s silkiest, sexiest thriller”, setting “the yardstick” for le Carré adaptations.
The third series of Jed Mercurio’s cop corruption drama Line of Duty was voted into second place and has been rewarded with a promotion to BBC1 for its fourth series due to air in 2017. The second series of Sally Wainwright’s dark police thriller Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire and James Norton, completes the all British drama top three.
Written by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag was the only comedy in the Top 10, in fourth place. The six-part series debuted on BBC3 before receiving a run on BBC2. Andrew Davies’ adaptation of War and Peace, also starring James Norton with Paul Dano and Lily James, was fifth in the poll.
Other dramas in the Top 10 were Netflix’s lavish The Crown (7), the second series of BBC1’s The Missing (6) and Channel 4’s National Treasure (9).
Sir David Attenborough’s epic six-part natural history series Planet Earth II took 8th place, while the last series of the BBC’s version of The Great British Bake Off, whose final was the most watched programme of the year, completed the Top 10.