The Little Drummer Girl: Is it based on a true story? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

The Little Drummer Girl: Is it based on a true story? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

The Little Drummer Girl, episode one, will air on Sunday, October 28 at 9pm on BBC One.

The remaining five episodes will air weekly thereafter.

You can stream the show live via BBC iPlayer and catch up with any episodes you missed on the site after the episode has aired on TV.

The TV adaption of The Little Drummer Girl is the work of the Cornwell brothers who were behind the Night Manager and stars BAFTA nominee Florence Pugh, Emmy award winner Alexander Skarsgård and Oscar-nominee Michael Shannon.

Is The Little Drummer Girl based on a true story?

The Little Drummer Girl is a fictional spy thriller.

However, the conflict that sets the scene for the drama is completely true.

The Little Drummer Girl is set in 1979 during the Palestine and Israeli conflict, which continues today.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict began in the mid-20th-century with the main phase taking place between 1964 and 1993.

Despite a long-term peace process, Israeli’s and Palestinians have failed to reach a final peace agreement.

The state of Israel was created in 1948.

Currently, the Israelis occupy the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and have done so for 51 years.


The Israeli’s who are largely Jewish believe that Israel and the occupied territories belong to them and the Palestinians, largely Arabs, should give up all claims of ownership.

There are numerous causes for the conflict but issues include Jewish immigration, sectarian conflict, mutual recognition, security, water rights and control of Jerusalem.

Many attempts have been made to create a two-state solution, with the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside a state of Israel.

The fictional plot follows the story of radical left-winger Charlie (played by Florence Pugh), an English actress and double agent working on behalf of the Israelis to put an end to a Palestinian terrorist who is bombing Jewish targets in Europe.

As the conflict is still ongoing, it is a sensitive topic to address.


Speaking to reporters including in London this month, Executive producer of The Little Drummer Girl Simon Cornwell said: “I think we have really tried and succeeded really in telling the story through character. I hope that what you see on both sides are rounded, real, human beings drawn through the story by their passions and their emotion.

“It is a very complicated landscape it is a complicated landscape today, it was a complicated landscape 40 years ago. when this story was happening.

“We just focused on telling the story through the people and hoping to achieve a level of balance and really opening things up for our audience to think about things and draw their own conclusions ultimately.”

Producer, Laura Hasting Smith explained: “Across the six episodes, by the time you get to the end, you have sort of lived with and had the passions and the predicaments of both the Israeli’s and the Palestinians and it is Charlie that we travel with on this journey.“

Simon added: “We travel very much with Charlie and we travel with Charlie’s emotions as she is torn by the situation she finds herself in and ultimately has to make her own decisions, has to live with decisions that are being made around her. It is a complicated world.”


The Little Drummer Girl is based on the novel of the same name by author John Le Carre.

Simon explained how the novels main character is loosely based on Carre’s sister, Charlotte.

He said: “His sister Charlotte was a young actor at exactly this stage. I wouldn’t cast asteroids on her politics but they were maybe a little radical and woolly at that period. They have become more honed now I would say. She was also and is indeed today a brilliant actor.

“I think the story was to some extent inspired by Charlotte but as with all great fiction, that was the seed of the starting point, not the end point.”

The Little Drummer Girl starts this Sunday, October 28 on BBC1 at 9pm

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