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THEY are the three stars of the hit new BBC drama The Night Manager that will be watched by millions on Sunday night.

But appearing in the John le Carre adaptation is not their only connection, with Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hollander and Hugh Laurie all former pupils of Dragon School in North Oxford.

And the trio all took their first steps into the world of acting at the independent school, which also offered Emma Watson her first taste of drama.

The school's headmaster John Baugh said the outstanding performances were inspiring current pupils.

He said: "At the Dragon we firmly believe that children are naturally creative; and that children remain creative if they are encouraged and nurtured.

"To see three of our former pupils, all from different decades, working together on undoubtedly one of the most compelling dramas of the year, is inspiring for our current and former pupils.

"All three performances are outstanding and we celebrate their success."

The youngest of the three, Tom Hiddleston, left the prep school in 1994 before going to Eton and then studying at Cambridge.

He rose to fame in 2011 with his portrayal of Loki in Marvel film Thor, and has recently been linked with being the next James Bond.

Mr Hiddleston has always spoken highly of the North Oxford school and told Run Riot magazine: "I had a fantastic time at The Dragon.

"It was an absolute riot, I don't remember 'learning' anything, and yet I learned everything.

"It's an amazing place. It sounds cliché but I started acting by doing impersonations, and trying to make people laugh."

According to the school, Tom Hollander played the leading lady in Pirates of Penzance in his final year at the independent school in 1980, which according to the school's website may have helped him pick up an award years later.

It read: "Years later he was cast in Pirates of the Caribbean. The leading lady however, was played by Keira Knightley.

"He did however win the part of Celia in Cheek by Jowl’s iconic all male production of As You Like It, whom he elected to play as a lesbian.

"His Dragon School training proved invaluable and he won an Ian Charleston Award."

The senior member of Old Dragon cohort Oxford-born Hugh Laurie OBE, who left the school aged 13 in 1972, needs no introduction.

Laurie began his career in comedy teaming up with Stephen Fry and rose to fame in Blackadder.

He has since received two Golden Globe Awards for his role in US TV drama House.

The fourth episode of the six-part The Night Manager series will air on BBC 1 at 9pm Sunday night.