Not your average family business
Jake Kerridge asks John le Carré’s sons why they have cornered the market in screen versions of his novels
John le Carré celebrated his 87th birthday earlier this month, and two of his sons have given him quite a gift: a beautifully made television adaptation of one of his best novels, The Little Drummer Girl (1983). Starting on BBC One tomorrow, it manages to capture the intelligence, subtlety and excitement of the original story. That certainly puts the garden centre vouchers that most of us buy for our parents’ birthdays to shame.
In 2010, Simon and Stephen Cornwell, the two eldest sons of David Cornwell (the man better known to the world as John le Carré) founded the Ink Factory, a production company that has become renowned for its adaptations of le Carré’s novels – the films A Most Wanted Man and Our Kind of Traitor, and the all-conquering television series The Night Manager.
The Cornwell brothers have every reason to be grateful to their father for providing such rich source material, but he should be grateful to them too; they have helped to make him hip. The Night Manager was the first le Carré TV series since the Eighties and it got