After a splashy world premiere in Berlin last Thursday, event series The Night Manager kicked off in the UK last night. This is the adaptation of the 1993 John Le Carré bestseller that’s produced by The Ink Factory, BBC One and AMC. The debut on BBC One at 9 PM scored 6.14M viewers in the overnights for a 26.2 share. That’s about on par with the start of another recent epic BBC drama, War And Peace, which drew 6.3M back in January.
The Night Manager won its slot, but was not the most-watched primetime program on Sunday. That honor went to Call The Midwife, also on BBC One, in the hour-earlier slot with 7.7M viewers and a 30.8 share, The Guardian notes.
The six-part Night Manager has been met with stunning reviews and awards buzz and should see a big jump in the consolidated figures. The spy series stars Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander and Elizabeth Debicki, who all came to Berlin last week along with director Susanne Bier in her series helming debut, and Le Carré.
The first television adaptation of a Le Carré novel in more than 20 years follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston), who is recruited by intelligence operative Burr (Colman) to navigate an unholy alliance between the intelligence community and the secret arms trade. To infiltrate the inner circle of lethal arms dealer Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie), Pine must himself become a criminal.
Kicking off as part of the Berlin Film Festival’s Drama Series Days sidebar was a “statement,” exec producer Simon Cornwell told me ahead of the screening on Thursday. The lush locations and production values on the roughly $30M series indeed made it a compelling cinematic presentation.
Stateside viewers will have to wait until April 19 to see the first episode on AMC. International rollout in some AMC markets begins today.
The mini is exec produced by Stephen and Simon Cornwell and Stephen Garrett and adapted by David Farr.