1) It made me fall in love with Sam Neill.
2) It made me fall in love with Shoshtakovich.
Probably due to not owning a VHS player in 1983, I only had one shot at soaking this all in at the time it was aired.
Imagine then, my immense chuffed-ness at discovering all 13 episodes were to be released in wondrous DVD box setted glory!
From its supremely evocative music - (persons of a certain age might remember Terry Wogan announcing Shoshtakovich on his radio show as the theme from 'Reilly - Ace of Mince Pies' tsk!) - through to the calibre of the cast, everything about 'Reilly' was and is, quality drama.
The costumes are works of art in themselves, and the London locations do a marvellous job doubling for pre-Perestroika Russia.
Even before 1985's much-praised 'Edge of Darkness' Troy Kennedy Martin showed flashes of brilliance in his adaption of Robin Bruce Lokhart's book for TV.
Kennedy Martin keeps his script taut and sharp and as such, we are not bogged down with the myriad convolutions of counter espionage.
In 'Anna'(episode 3) we even get to see a little of what drives Reilly. His explanation to his half-sister of a loveless relationship with his Father, and the disappointment of discovering his illigitemacy - fleshes the bones of this most elusive character.
Sam Neill's portrayal of Sidney Reilly is pretty near perfect. (Biased? Moi..) A soft spoken, consummate con-man - even the rare flash of rage is controlled, which makes his Reilly all the more memorable for being so minimalist.
It's also a treat to see Peter Egan before his incarnation as 'Ever Decreasing Circles' perfect Paul.
If you liked 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' 'Cambridge Spies' or even 'Another Country' - do yourself a favour...
Sit back, put these DVD's on and Ace them Reilly style.
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