The Little Drummer Girl: The BBC mini-series worth talking about this autumn

If you loved hit BBC drama The Night Manager, you’ll be thrilled with what the broadcasting service has in store for viewers this autumn. Yet another John le Carré classic tale is being adapted into a six-part series and this time, it’s not only got a stellar cast but a gripping plot to get your teeth stuck into as we approach the festive season.

The Little Drummer Girl, produced by The Ink Factory in partnership with BBC One and AMC, is the latest adaptation gaining traction ahead of its release. It’ll mark the TV debut of film maker Park Chan-wook (the man behind visionary flicks like Old Boy, The Handmaiden and Stoker), and judging by the first look teasers, it won’t disappoint. But what can we expect?

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming mini-series…

The Little Drummer Girl
BBC Pictures

The cast

Much of the hype surrounding The Little Drummer Girl is down to its impressive cast fronted by Emmy and Golden Globe winner Alexander Skarsgård. The Swedish actor, best known for his roles in Big Little Lies, True Blood and 2016’s The Legend of Tarzan, plays Becker, young protagonist Charlie’s holiday fling who turns out to be an Israeli intelligence officer. Charlie herself is played by rising English actress Florence Pugh, who viewers will recognise from The Falling, Lady Macbeth and critically-acclaimed ITV drama Marcella.

The Little Drummer Girl
BBC Pictures

Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon (most recently seen in The Shape of Water, Man of Steel, Nocturnal Animal) is also in the cast as Israeli spymaster Kurz, while Game of Thrones star Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) plays the role of Picton, alongside Michael Moshonov as Litvak, Charif Ghattas as Khalil, Amir Khoury as Michel, Katharina Schüttler as Helga, and Simona Brown as Rachel.

The plot

Published a decade before The Night Manager in 1983, John le Carré’s The Little Drummer Girl is the tale of an everyday person being sucked into the shadowy world of espionage.

The Little Drummer Girl
BBC Pictures

As described in the show’s official press release: ‘Brilliant young actress Charlie (Pugh) strikes up an acquaintance with an intriguing stranger while on holiday in Greece, but it rapidly becomes apparent that his intentions are far from romantic. The man is Becker (Skarsgård), an Israeli intelligence officer, who entangles her in a complex and high stakes plot orchestrated by Spymaster, Kurtz (Shannon). Set in the late 1970s yet sharply contemporary, The Little Drummer Girl weaves a dynamic and exciting story of espionage and international intrigue; of love and betrayal.’

This isn’t the first time the novel has recieved an on-screen adaptation. Back in 1984, a year after it was published, The Little Drummer Girl was released as a film.

When will it air?

No air date has been confirmed for The Little Drummer Girl but we can expect it to hit our TV screens on BBC One sometime between September and December.