Hugh Laurie’s dream fulfilled by new drama

23 years ago, Hugh Laurie fell in love with thrilling John le Carre spy novel “The Night Manager”, and he has finally managed to turn his dream of getting it on TV into a reality.

Back in 1993, while still playing Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster, he tried to buy the rights for new John Le Carré spy thriller The Night Manager.

But since then, Laurie has become one of the biggest names in television, thanks to his starring role in House.

This week, his dream of being in The Night Manager is finally coming true. After the movie franchise of Paramount Pictures flopped, the £20million series is coming to BBC1.

“I fell in love with the book when I first read it back in 1993. I’ve worshipped le Carré since I was a teenager. I’ve absolutely no skill or instinct for producing, but this was the only time in my life I’ve ever tried to option a book,” Laurie says.

Although he originally saw himself playing younger character, Pine, at 56 years old he has been cast as arms-dealing jet setter, Richard Roper. The role of Pine has been given to Tom Hiddleston.

“I can’t claim any credit for getting the thing off the ground,” Laurie reveals. I just told the producers, Simon and Stephen Cornwell, the author’s sons, that I would be happy to take any job on the production; actor, caterer, anything I could do to make it go – I just wanted to be involved with it.”

Olivia Colman was approached to play the role of Burr who was originally a male character. “It was a bolt out of the blue, because when I went to meet the director, Susanne Bier, I had just found out I was pregnant. Not only did they have to rethink the gender of the character but also incorporate the fact that she is pregnant.”

The Night Manager sees former British soldier Jonathan Pine being recruited by intelligence operative Burr to infiltrate the inner circle of international businessman Richard Roper – a billionaire arms dealer.

While it’s been made contemporary, Hugh reckons le Carré – author of books like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Looking Glass War – was ahead of his time.

The 6-part series starts Sunday, 21 February on BBC1 so check out the trailer here:

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Written by CelebMix