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

The Daily Telegraph - Review - - COVER STORY -

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

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