'Pace' is a taken for granted quality in TV drama, invisible, unseen, rarely commented on, but it wasn't until I watched 'Mr Palfrey of Westminster' that I realised how formulaic modern TV drama had become. You know what I'm referring to of course; robbery/incident, opening credits/catchy theme, slow diagnostic twists and turns before final chase/arrest scene.'Palfrey' however, belonged to a time when dramas simply unfolded through dialogue. I remember watching it in the eighties and I'll admit there are one or two anachronisms synonymous with that era. Yet because Palfrey was filmed on crisp, sharp video it has aged remarkably better than contemporary productions like Bergerac or Miss Marple. Every word Alec McCowen utters sounds like it was precision engineered at Oxford, meanwhile his linguistic dexterity is neatly matched by the chess-game plots of secret service traitors and underhand cold war intrigue. The most annoying aspect is that there are only 11 episodes (if you include the 2 supplementary tele-plays). 'Palfrey' has the feel of a good audio book rather than a TV drama but if you liked Smiley you'll love this. Clive Wood makes a superb sidekick and McCowen is first class throughout. A really interesting and careful study which at times is 'quietly brilliant'. There ought to have been many more-shame on Thames Television!