Make it your mission not to miss a top TV transfer at Royston’s Picture Palace

Spooks - The Greater Good

Spooks - The Greater Good - Credit: Archant

When the big screen version of TV spy drama Spooks made its big screen bow only a few weeks ago, it’s fair to say that the reception was muted.

Spooks - The Greater Good

Spooks - The Greater Good - Credit: Archant

The new Avengers superhero blockbuster was still packing in the punters, it was released in the same week as the attention-hogging Mad Max reboot, so the underwhelmed world wasn’t beating a path to the box office and demanding tickets to catch a much more low-key drama about deceit, double crosses and dashing young spies.

And that was a bit unfair, because as far as the history of TV transfers to cinema goes, Spooks is an honourable exception to the rubbish rule.

Most Brit transfers, with sitcoms the worst offenders, have been overstretched efforts which pad out what would have been a diverting half hour with unwanted extras, usually involving sending our heroes on holiday somewhere.

They were made quickly and cheaply, and looked like it.

But when Spooks was on the small screen, it always had a cinema sensibility – it was slick ensemble drama where even the baddies dressed well and looked gorgeous.

Spooks earned a reputation for flawed heroes, gritty storylines and taut direction over 10 series on the BBC, but we haven’t had any fresh adventures since 2011.

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The big screen version, showing at Royston’s Picture Palace on Friday and Saturday night with both performances starting at 7.30pm, features some familiar faces from the TV original – such as Peter Firth and Tim McInnerny – while original director Bharat Nalluri calls the shots and the words are provided by series veterans Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent.

But the spotlight falls on Kit ‘Game of Thrones hunk’ Harrington and Tuppence ‘The Imitation Game’ Middleton in a typically tangled tale. The characters are satisfyingly conflicted, the story zips along, and the cast is on good form, well-used for, as the title says, the greater good. You can reserve tickets online at

On the multiplex front, this week’s new releases include another slick TV transfer, but this one comes from the other side of the Atlantic and plays it more for laughs. Entourage, about a Hollywood hopeful and his fairly charmless bunch of hangers-on, ropes in stars galore for cameos but is hard to like.

More intriguing is Mr Holmes, which sees Ian McKellen playing the celebrated but long-retired detective dusting himself down to tackle a postwar puzzler.