For the longest time, a sequel to 2016's award-winning The Night Manager felt like a pipe dream – in the immediate aftermath of the show's broadcast, star Tom Hiddleston even went so far as to say that the story was "complete", a sentiment echoed at the time by his co-star Hugh Laurie.


"It's based on a novel, we've got to the end of the novel and John le Carré has yet to write another novel," said Laurie, also an executive producer on the adaptation. "So in cold practical terms, no, we're done."

There were glimmers of hope, though, in the years that followed – in 2017, the BBC and AMC, along with producer The Ink Factory, released a statement confirming they were "in the early stages of developing a potential second series of The Night Manager" and while the original's director Susanne Bier and writer David Farr were both reported not to be returning, in 2018 we heard news that writers Namsi Khan (True Detective) and Francesca Gardiner (His Dark Materials) would join spy novelist Charles Cumming and British screenwriter Matthew Orton to pen a second season.

But then, for several years, all was quiet and hopes of a follow-up dwindled... until, in early 2023, Deadline reported that the BBC would be teaming with a new partner, Prime Video, for new episodes of The Night Manager, with official confirmation of not one but two more seasons coming again after a substantial wait almost a year later.

The news set social media alight – and it's no wonder given the rapturous reaction that the original series, which saw Hiddleston's amateur spy Jonathan Pine infiltrate the inner circle of arms dealer Richard Roper (Laurie), received in 2016.

More like this

Scoring audiences of over 10 million on BBC One, The Night Manager was billed as a "masterpiece" by Rolling Stone, with the New York Post commending its "breathless suspense" and The Guardian singling out Hiddleston's "perfect" performance. Before long, the awards began rolling in, with nominations and wins across the Emmys, BAFTAs, Golden Globes and more.

Tom Hiddleston smiles as he holds a Golden Globe award, dressed in a black tuxedo with a bow tie.
Tom Hiddleston at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards in 2017. Michael Buckner/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images

There's reason enough to be excited for the sequel, particularly with Farr now reinstated as writer – but there are factors at play that might also have you taking pause.

The long development cycle means it's been eight long years since The Night Manager was a global smash-hit... and that's a long time in television. The wait might mean that anticipation for the new episodes will be at a dizzying high by the time they actually arrive, but it also means that expectations will be similarly enormous.

Can a follow-up almost a decade on hope to recapture the original's success? A large part of why the first season succeeded was its ensemble cast – superb as Hiddleston was as Pine, The Night Manager was by no means a one-man show. Hugh Laurie was chilling as Roper, "the worst man in the world". Tom Hollander delivered a wonderfully offbeat performance as Roper's henchman Corky. Elizabeth Debicki's star-making turn as Roper's mistress Jed Marshall was mesmeric.

It's unclear who of the original cast will be back – bar Hollander, whose character didn't survive, all of the above could theoretically make an appearance. Back in 2018, Debicki certainly seemed game, telling that a sequel was "in the works" and that she was "sworn to secrecy" about any potential involvement. But so far, it appears only Hiddleston has officially signed on the dotted line.

If it hopes to match the explosive chemistry of the first, future seasons of The Night Manager will need either to reunite the original cast or provide a substantial enough alternative – no mean feat when the 2016 series also included the likes of Olivia Colman, David Harewood, Alistair Petrie, Tobias Menzies and Adeel Akhtar in its roster.

Tom Hiddleston, dressed in a navy suit, and Hugh Laurie, dressed in a blue shirt, shake hands in a warmly lit corridor in a scene from The Night Manager
Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Pine and Hugh Laurie as Richard Roper in The Night Manager. AMC

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for any new iteration to overcome, though, is that lack of source material. John le Carré passed away in 2020 and never wrote a sequel to The Night Manager, so any new venture won't have his storytelling or his characters (save Pine) to draw on. Charting a new path for the show without his text as a roadmap is a big risk – and Simon and Stephen Cornwell, le Carré’s sons who run production company The Ink Factory, know that.

"Revisiting the story of Pine [...] means going beyond the events of John le Carré's original work: that is a decision we have not taken lightly," they said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the show's return. "But his compelling characters and the vision David has for their next chapter were irresistible."

Back in 2016, Simon Cornwell went even harder on that point at a Royal Television Society event. "We wouldn't do something that we didn't feel had a fighting chance of being even better than the first one," he insisted. "We might not succeed, but I think if you don't go in with ambition, there's actually no point in doing it."

All the same, a sequel without a source novel, airing so long after the original show, and potentially without several more of the key elements that made the 2016 series sing, will have to work hard to justify its existence. What is the story, set eight years after Pine's clash with Roper, that is worth telling?

There's no reason to suspect just yet that a follow-up to The Night Manager will be an anticlimax, but it's not a guaranteed slam-dunk either – as a sequel, the new episodes will have to vault an incredibly high bar, precisely because the original was so special.

The Night Manager season 1 is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.


Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.