I've managed somehow never to be drawn into the long-running hit TV spy show Spooks. I say 'somehow', but in fact what happened is that I missed the first couple of series, and then felt disinclined to try to catch up. So when the film released last year based on the show, rather clumsily titled Spooks: the Greater Good turned up on the schedules, I decided to watch it to see what the fuss is about.
It's often the case that, when a popular TV show is adapted for the big screen, things go awry. This is especially disappointing for those who have long been fans of the series. I wondered if the fact I'd not seen the series would be a disadvantage or, alternatively, give me the chance to assess it without preconceptions. As things turned out, I'd say it wasn't really a disadvantage not to have seen the series on TV. Did I enjoy the film? Yes, certainly.
It begins in a blaze of action as terrorist Qasim is helped to escape from custody by armed terrorists in a shoot-out. Has a mole assisted Qasim? Peter Firth, playing top spy Sir Harry Pearce, thinks so. He's the fall-guy for the disaster, and he responds by faking his own suicide. What is he up to? Among those wanting to find out are the Director General of the Secret Service, played by Tim McInnerny, and his deputy, Geraldine, played with icy calm by Jennifer Ehle. Suffice to say that I thought McInnerny's performance was a hundred times better than it was in Houdini & Doyle.
Among those who become embroiled in Pearce's cunning plans is the brilliant Tuppence Middleton, once again demonstrating her versatility as an actor. The plot complications come thick and fast, and this is not a story that has quite the relentless grip of The Night Manager,because there is less space for characterisation. But it's an enjoyable action thriller. I'd be interested to know how fans of the TV show rate it.