'The Little Drummer Girl' rakes in 5 million views on its premiere

Taking up the slots of 'Bodyguard' and 'The Cry', is proving to be quite challenging for BBC's adaptation of John Le Carre's 1983 novel 'The Little Drummer Girl'.


                            'The Little Drummer Girl' rakes in 5 million views on its premiere

Florence Pugh already had a huge responsibility on her shoulders when the BBC adaptation of John Le Carre's 1983 novel 'The Little Drummer Girl' aired on October 28. The show, which holds the same title as the book, follows the young aspiring actress Charlie (played by Pugh) who becomes a matter of interest to the Mossad agents, Marty Kurtz (played by Michael Shannon) and Becker (played by Alexander Skarsgard) when Marty, who is intolerant about the Arab-Israel conflict, is determined to capture a terrorist. 

While the show was expected to have brought in a large number of viewers for BBC, the premiere on Sunday opened with over five million viewers. The show, in spite of the brilliant visual storytelling and the impeccable performance by the actors, could not manage to score as high as BBC's former Le Carre adaptation, 'The Night Manager' (starring Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston) which opened in February 2016 with 6.1 million overnight viewers. In fact, it can be said that the show might find it difficult to cope with its predecessor 'Bodyguard' whose slot in the night has now been allotted to 'The Little Drummer Girl'.

'The Little Drummer Girl' could not match up with its predecessor, 'The Night Manager'. (IMDb)
'The Little Drummer Girl' could not match up to its predecessor, 'The Night Manager'. (IMDb)

Jed Mercurio's political thriller, 'Bodyguard', which followed a soldier suffering from PTSD, David Budd (played by Richard Madden, 'Game of Thrones') takes over as the Home Secretary's bodyguard only to find himself being set up by the insiders of the Security Force, drew an audience of almost 10.4 million viewers making it the biggest watched drama on BBC since the 'Doctor Who' Christmas special of 2008 which was watched by over 11.7 million people. However, the audience seems to prefer a different taste time and again, and when 'The Cry' premiered on September 30 at the same time slot, with its first episode, the show was viewed by almost 5.7 million people. 

'Bodyguard' drew an audience of almost 10.4 million viewers. (IMDb)
'Bodyguard' drew an audience of almost 10.4 million viewers. (IMDb)

This puts 'The Little Drummer Girl' pretty much behind the shows which have brought BBC back on its track. However, it can be expected that with 'Bodyguard's' aura gradually wearing off, and 'The Cry' leaving out the spot for the show to take over, the focus might finally shift to this periodical thriller which comes from the South Korean director Park Chan-wook. While all three have been dealing with the same genre, 'The Little Drummer Girl' stands apart for its periodical setting but at the same time, a lot like 'Bodyguard' it gravitates towards the subject of terrorist activities. 

The show stands apart due to its periodical setting. (IMDb)
The show stands apart due to its periodical setting. (IMDb)

 

'The Little Drummer Girl' co-writer Michael Lesslie has argued, "Because there’s so much TV out there when I see a series that will run forever I’m really not sure if I want to commit to it. I think audiences are getting hungry for resolution rather than open-ended stories, so the finite story of a mini-series is such a relief." Also, with the audiences' increasing want for fresh faces and new stories, Piers Wenger, controller of drama commissioning across the BBC, said, "Younger viewers want diverse voices, not the same old shows. BBC1 felt the right place for a mainstream show telling a family story with warmth and wit. It’s the scale and breadth of audience that big single broadcasters have versus so many niche players with small, select audiences." Going by Wenger's words if BBC1 truly is a place to put up diverse shows, then 'The Little Drummer Girl' will soon be able to recover its viewership.