Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The night manager's pass, 2016

Should one rave about a new BBC serial after just one episode? I feel like doing so after catching the first episode of new Sunday night 6-part thriller THE NIGHT MANAGER, an updated version of a 1993 John Le Carre novel. Event television: great cast, great story, brilliantly directed and one can hear and understand every word - unlike in that other BBC highly regarded series HAPPY VALLEY * where the actors mumbling on location cannot have been recorded properly? 
A night manager of a European hotel is recruited by intelligence agents to infiltrate an international arms dealer's network.

Directed by Susanne Bier, this grabs one from the first moment. Tom Hiddleston is Jonathan Pine, the ex-army man now working as the night manager of a classy Cairo hotel, when he has his first encounter with the world of mega-rich Roper (Hugh Laurie), who is an arms dealer on the side ..... Tom Hollander plays his nasty henchman, Olivia Colman is the M16 operative on their trail, Russell Tovey pops up as an embassy man reluctant to get involved, and the large cast includes Douglas Hodge, Katharine Kelly, Neil Morrisey, David Harewood and more. After event get out of hand in Cairo and the death of the woman Pine was trying to help (after copying those documents which incriminate Roper) the action suddenly shifts to Switzerland 4 years later Pine is now the new night manager, and Roper and his cohorts arrive by helicopter and Pine has to provide the service they expect ..... We will be looking forward to more of this.

* Speaking of HAPPY VALLEY - sometimes an actor can astound one. We hardly noticed Kevin Doyle in DOWNTON ABBEY as mousey Mr Molesley, but he is riveting here as the Police detective who murders his difficult mistress - fabulous Amelia Bullmore, another Sally Wainwright regular. Doyle was also fantastic in SCOTT & BAILEY as that serial killer, over several episodes. Wainwright creates great moments for actors, like Joe Duttine (CORONATION STREET's resident window-cleaner) who has a great scene in SCOTT & BAILEY when he is revealed as a paedophile killer, and those great episodes with equally marvellous Nicola Walker. Of course Walker and HAPPY VALLEY's Sarah Lancashire were both stalwarts of Wainwright's terrific series LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX..). 

Busy boy Russell Tovey also stars in THE PASS, which he played on the stage here a year or two ago, and is now the opening night film of the new LGBT film festival at the BFI here next month. This should be an intriguing drama too .... mixing in the world of gays and football and sportsmen keeping secrets ....  Directed by Ben A. Williams and scripted by John Donnelly.
Nineteen-year-old Jason and Ade have been in the Academy of a famous London football club since they were eight years old. It's the night before their first-ever game for the first team - a Champions League match - and they're in a hotel room in Romania. They should be sleeping, but they're over-excited. They skip, fight, mock each other, prepare their kit, watch a teammate's sex tape. And then, out of nowhere, one of them kisses the other. The impact of this 'pass' reverberates through the next ten years of their lives - a decade of fame and failure, secrets and lies, in a sporting world where image is everything.


  1. I have to agree with you about THE NIGHT MANAGER. One episode in and I am hooked.

  2. Oh, and THE PASS looks a lot more than passable too.