Little Drummer Girl viewers slam ‘confusing’ BBC adaptation

‘Does anyone understand what’s going on?’ The Little Drummer Girl viewers slam ‘confusing’ BBC adaptation – but fans claim it’s simply a ‘grown up drama’ that requires attention

  • BBC John le Carré adaptation Little Drummer Girl continues to divide viewers
  • Some switched off the second episode last night, branding it ‘turgid’ and ‘dull’ 
  • But its defenders claim it simply requires a little more attention to be enjoyed 

It was tipped as this year’s answer to The Night Manager, but it appears The Little Drummer Girl is failing to grip viewers in the same way as its widely-loved predecessor.

The second episode of the BBC’s new John le Carré adaptation, which aired last night, left some viewers switching off as they struggled to get to grips with the espionage thriller’s ‘turgid’ and ‘confusing’ plot. 

But others were quick to defend the slow-burn drama, claiming it is simply a show that requires ‘more attention’ in order to grasp the story.

Divisive: The second episode of The Little Drummer Girl left some viewers switching off as they struggled to get to grips with the espionage thriller’s ‘turgid’ and ‘confusing’ plot. Pictured, Becker (Alexander Skarsgard) and Charlie (Florence Pugh) in last night’s episode

Slow burner, or ‘boring’? Viewers were divided over the John le Carré adaptation, with some switching off when they failed to understand the plots. Others said it ‘makes you pay attention’

The show – from the team behind The Night Manager – kicked off last week in Germany in 1979 when a bomb goes off in the diplomatic quarter of Bonn, with senior Israeli intelligence agent Martin Kurtz (Michael Shannon) flying in to investigate.


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A series of similarly deadly attacks targeting prominent Jewish figures across Europe have been carried out in recent weeks, and Kurtz believes there is a Palestinian revolutionary at the heart of this pattern.

Kurtz sets in motion a brilliant and elaborate plan to catch the kingpin, Khalil (Charif Ghattas), enlisting the help of passionate young British actress Charlie, played by Florence Pugh.

Unanswered questions: The second episode shed some light on the mysteries thrown up by the show’s opener. Pictured l-r: Martin Kurtz (Michael Shannon), Litvak (Michael Moshonov) and Charlie (Florence Pugh) in a scene from last night’s episode

Complicated: The majority of viewers appeared to be alienated by the show, with one asking whether anyone understands the plot. Others branded the storyline ‘obtuse’ and ‘turgid’

As a upcoming young actress she is treading the boards of pub theatres and struggling to land a breakthrough part, and drifts from one bad relationship to another, unable to find her purpose in life.

When an anonymous benefactor sends Charlie and her theatre troupe on a rehearsal jaunt to Greece, she feels renewed vigour. 

But a working holiday soon becomes a journey of discovery when she encounters a man named ‘ (Alexander Skarsgård) on the beach and embarks on a whirlwind romance when he whisks her on a date to neighbouring Athens. 

Praise: Other viewers were quick to praise the adaptation, saying it is ‘excellent’ viewing 

In last night’s episode it emerges ‘Peter’ is in fact Israeli secret service agent Gadi Becker, who has been brought out of retirement by Kurtz to infiltrate a militia cell by posing as Salim Al-Khadar, or ‘Michel’, the brother of kingpin Khalil.

Skarsgård’s character has to slide smoothly into the role of Michel, wearing his clothes, adopting his mannerisms – and his love of womanising. 

Charlie is brought into play the role of his girlfriend, believing the real ‘Michel’ is being missing but in reality he is being held by Kurtz.

The episode also picks apart the backstory Charlie had provided, revealing she is also adept at keeping secrets.  

Whirlwind: The show – from the team behind The Night Manager – kicked off last week by introducing the characters of Charlie (Florence Pugh) and Becker (Alexander Skarsgard)

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