BBC1 spy thriller The Night Manager continues this Sunday 6 March at 9pm on BBC1. Starring the best and brightest of British talent including Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman, the story is an adaptation of the novel by John le Carré. Find out more about the cast and characters below.
Jonathan Pine – Tom Hiddleston
Hotelier, night manager, former soldier, dogsbody to the rich and famous: Jonathan Pine is a complicated man who keeps his secrets hidden beneath a surface sheen of grace and discretion.
Pine has been recruited by intelligence officer Angela Burr to spy on suave British arms dealer Richard Roper. Having ‘saved’ Roper’s son in a staged kidnapping, Pine is close to penetrating Roper’s inner circle. But no everybody believes he’s all that he seems…
Tom Hiddleston has a promising 2016 lined up. Dystopian fantasy High-Rise is soon to be in cinemas, there’s Hank Williams biopic I Saw The Light also set to come, and he’s currently filming for the lead role in King Kong origin story Kong: Skull Island. When you combine the clout of a Shakespearean actor with the fan appeal of a Marvel arch-nemesis, you know you’re onto a good thing.
Even better, however, is that he seems intoxicated by the world of espionage. “A spy must possess an almost unnatural ability to dissimulate, to hide in plain sight, and a capacity for self-effacement and self-invention, which in itself is dangerous,” he says in a piece for Radio Times. What will Hiddleston himself ‘invent’ in The Night Manager?
Richard Roper – Hugh Laurie
Dapper, posh, perfectly poised, and according to those in the know, “The worst man in the world”. Richard Roper’s public persona is that of successful businessman and philanthropist, but behind the scenes the Brit has built up a ruthless arms dealing network. Roper will back any side – as long as the price is right.
Hugh Laurie, like the character he plays, has many faces. Best known for decades in Britain as the bumbling fool in Blackadder or Stephen Fry’s long-time comic collaborator, he reinvented himself in 2004 when he took the part of Dr Gregory House in long-running US medical series House. He’s since been a series regular in political satire Veep, but this is his first British TV role for 13 years.
He’s been desperate to play this part, even going so far as to scout out real-life arms dealers to help research for the role. Unfortunately, the BBC weren’t so keen: “I was advised that not only would that possibly make us legally liable but it may get worse than legally given the kind of world these people operate in,” he revealed. “These are deeply frightening people and you absolutely don’t want to get on the wrong side of them.”
Angela Burr – Olivia Colman
In the original novel, this character was a man, Leonard Burr. But, in author Le Carré’s own words, “Did we really want this in 2015? One white male middle-aged man pitched against another white middle-aged man, and using a third, younger, white middle-aged man as his weapon of choice?”
No we didn’t, so Angela Burr was born, a no-nonsense secret service officer desperate to make Roper pay for his crimes. And Jonathan is going to help her do it.
Olivia Colman is the third key element in this enviable British cast. Like Laurie, the Bafta-winning actress flits easily between drama and comedy, having moved from her breakout role in Peep Show to heavyweight performances in Broadchurch, Accused and film Tyrannosaur. Series three of Boradchurch is set to start filming in May. Fun fact: after she was given the part of Angela, Olivia discovered she was expecting her third child and her pregnancy was written into the script.
Jed Marshal – Elizabeth Debicki
The girlfriend of Richard Roper, Jed believes she has found a safety in her new, enigmatic – and rich – lover. She drinks his champagne, shares his bed and plays with his son. But Jed is no preening socialite; she may pretend all is right with the world, but Jonathan’s appearance forces her to confront the reality of who Roper really is.
Aussie actress Elizabeth Debicki co-starred in Guy Ritchie film The Man From UNCLE in 2013, and before that was involved in Baz Luhrmann’s big screen adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. She’s set to appear in investigative thriller The Tale.
Major Lance Corcoran – Tom Hollander
Corcoran, ‘Corky’ for short, is Roper’s right hand man. All the dodgy papers are signed by him, leaving no paper trail that could lead to Roper himself. He’s also deeply distrustful of anyone who tries to worm their way into Roper’s inner circle – especially Pine.
From co-creating comedy series Rev to appearing in Disney blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean, Tom Hollander can turn his hand to almost anything. In 2014 he played Dylan Thomas in BBC TV movie A Poet in New York, and is set to star in ITV’s upcoming Julian Fellowes drama Doctor Thorne.
Daniel Roper – Noah Jupe
Little Daniel Roper is the apple of his father Richard’s eye. Ever since being saved by Pine at the restaurant, Danny has become besotted with the new member of the group.
Child actor Noah Jupe has already made appearances in ITV’s Downton Abbey and Sky Atlantic’s Penny Dreadful, and it can’t have been a bad acting education having Hugh Laurie as your on-screen Dad.
Sandy Langbourne – Alistair Petrie
Sandy is one of Roper’s trusted inner circle, but family trouble threatens to overshadow his usefulness to the enterprise. Is he a weak link?
Cranford and Emma actor Alistair Petrie recently featured in Sherlock series three episode The Sign of Three. He’s set to appear in BBC1 drama Undercover.
Caroline Langbourne – Natasha Little
Caroline Langbourne finds herself, like Jed, involved in Roper’s dealings through her other half. With her husband Sandy making eyes at their nanny, she could be encouraged to be indiscreet…
Natasha Little is currently appearing in BBC3 drama Thirteen, but she is best known for her Bafta-nominated role as Becky Sharp in BBC period adaptation Vanity Fair. She also played Liz Cromwell, wife of Thomas Cromwell, in 2015’s Wolf Hall.
Juan Apostol – Antonio de la Torre
Spanish lawyer Apostol (‘Apo’ for short) is a vital connection in Roper’s latest and greatest deal.
Actor Antonio de la Torre featured in multi award-winning Spanish thriller Marshland in 2014, and UK filmgoers might also have seen him in Pedro Almodóvar’s border-crossing hit I’m So Excited!
Joel Steadman – David Harewood
US agent Joel Steadman, Chief Officer at the US Directorate of Defence Trade Controls, is Angela Burr’s key ally in the Pine operation, codenamed ‘Limpet’. But how long can the pair keep their bosses out of the loop?
British actor David Harewood has made a habit of passing off as an American spy, having memorably played CIA director David Estes in Homeland. He’s also currently part of the core cast in US superhero series Supergirl.
Geoffrey Dromgoole – Tobias Menzies
Geoffrey Dromgoole is The Establishment, cut from the same cloth as Pine’s nemesis Richard Roper. The British intelligence director has the power to squeeze Roper – or, alternatively, let him slip through the net. Either way, politics is murder.
Game of Thrones star Tobias Menzies is well used to this spying game, having appeared in Bond movie Casino Royale as M’s assistant Villiers. As well as Game Of Thrones, Menzies also has a recurring role in Amazon series Outlander.
Raymond Galt – Jonathan Aris
One of Dromgoole’s underlings, Galt doesn’t appear to take Angela Burr’s intelligence network seriously – but behind the scenes, he is taking a very serious interest indeed.
From sleuth to spy, Jonathan Aris is best known for playing forensic scientist-turned conspiracy theorist Philip Anderson in Sherlock. He also recently appeared in BBC2’s Cold War spy thriller The Game.
Harry Palfrey – Neil Morrissey
Another of Dromgoole’s dubious supporters, Harry Palfrey is the only character in the novel of The Night Manager to make an appearance in another of Le Carré’s books. He also appears in The Russia House.
Neil Morrissey has come a long way since Men Behaving Badly, from voicing Bob in Bob the Builder to appearing as a corrupt cop in BBC police thriller Line of Duty. His most recent TV appearance came this Christmas, where he played Russell Howard’s Dad in A Gert Lush Christmas Special.
Rex Mayhew – Douglas Hodge
Whitehall bureaucrat Rex Mayhew has an in with the highest levels of British Intelligence, but he’s not quite one of the big boys. He sends Angela Burr information when he thinks it might help her case, but the real strings of power are in others’ hands.
Five-times Olivier-nominated actor and director Douglas Hodge doesn’t just play the stage: he has a regular role as Bartholomew Rusk in Sky Atlantic drama Penny Dreadful, and featured opposite Sherlock star Andrew Scott in ITV drama The Town.
Rob Singhal – Adeel Akhtar
Rob Singhal is one of Angela’s colleagues, stuck in a freezing office in Victoria with few resources and little patience for the operation.
Adeel Akhtar is best-known for C4 dystopian drama Utopia and Chris Morris terror satire Four Lions. He recently featured in BBC1 drama adaptation Capital and BBC1 crime thriller River.
Sophie Alekan – Aure Atika
The mistress of Egyptian player Freddie Hamid, Sophie picks out hotelier Jonathan Pine as a potential ally in the murky political waters of the Arab Spring. She hands him precious documents for safekeeping. It cost her her life…
Aure Atika is a French actress best known to UK audiences for her part as Queen Isabella in Channel 4 historical epic World Without End, and 2005 French indie film The Beat That My Heart Skipped.