EXCLUSIVE: John Le Carré spy drama The Night Manager is moving closer towards a second series after signing up-and-coming British writer Matthew Orton to pen The Ink Factory-produced series.

I hear that Orton, who has penned a number of feature films for MGM and Fox, is writing new episodes of the BBC and AMC co-production. It comes after The Ink Factory co-founder Simon Cornwell, son of Le Carré author David Cornwell, said earlier this year that the producers were keen to tackle a sequel. “There’s no book and there’s never been a Le Carré story that has been extended beyond the confines of the novel. It would be interesting to try that,” he told an audience at the Royal Television Society.

The Night Manager director Susanne Bier also said in March that a follow-up was “slowly being developed” but that the creators were taking their time to make sure series two “lives up” to the first series. The finale of the first series, which was written by David Farr, secured more than nine million viewers on the BBC when it aired in March 2016.

The first series featured Tom Hiddleston as enigmatic Jonathan Pine, who goes undercover to expose billionaire arms dealer Richard Roper, played by Hugh Laurie. Hiddleston also said he would consider appearing in a second series.

Orton (pictured, right), who is repped by WME, Grandview and The Agency in the UK, most recently wrote the script for MGM drama Operation Finale. The Chris Weitz-directed movie, which features Melanie Laurent, Nick Kroll, Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac tells the story of the successful hunt and capture of notorious Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in the 1960s.

He also penned a movie for Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox based on the epic Battle of Britain, one of the most decisive battles in World War II history that saw the courageous British underdogs overcome Nazi titans. He is also writing Reason Of State, a political thriller set in 10 Downing Street for Suburbicon producer Black Bear Pictures.

Orion won a BBC young writers’ competition in 2012 for his TV script Primed, and his debut feature screenplay Clean was optioned by Michael Kuhn’s Qwerty Films in 2014. He has worked closely with Bridge of Spies writer Matt Charman, who has been his mentor since 2015 via UK feature scheme Guiding Lights.