'McMafia' is returning for a second series.

James Norton

James Norton

The BBC have confirmed the hard-hitting drama - which saw James Norton's hedge fund manager alter-ego Alex Godman find himself unable to resist the lures of corruption after delving into the world of organised crime - will be back after becoming one of the most popular shows on BBC iPlayer of all time.

Hossein Amini and James Watkins, who created and wrote the programme, said: "We are so thrilled with how 'McMafia' has resonated with audiences across the world, and are delighted to be given the opportunity to cast more light on the shady intersections of transnational criminals and their enablers in finance, law, intelligence agencies and even in governments."

'McMafia' - which was based on the best-selling book of the same name by Misha Glenny - is the fourth most popular show on iPlayer of all time, and the first episode was the most-watched content on the catch-up service this year.

The series - which also starred Faye Marsay, David Strathairn, Juliet Rylance and Aleksey Serebryakov - averaged 7.1 million viewers after kicking off on New Year's Day.

Hossein, James and Misha will executive produce alongside Nick Marston, Dixie Linder, Ben Hall, Robyn Slovo, and Elizabeth Kilgarriff, and Paul Ritchie will return as producer.

Since appearing in the show, James has been heavily linked with being the next actor to take on the role of James Bond when Daniel Craig finally hangs up his tuxedo.

But the 'Happy Valley' star has played down speculation linking him with the part.

He said: "I did say to James Watkins, the director, are you just baiting me and stoking the rumour fire with scenes like that?

"When it's reported in the press, people assume that I've co-ordinated the scene, but I promise you I didn't. The truth is that it's total speculation.

"It's really humbling and flattering, but to have my name [talked up for Bond] next to the likes of Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender is just mad. If you're thinking of putting a bet on me, keep your money in your pocket."