The late '70s/early '80s BBC productions of Le Carre's great espionage diptych of Tinker Tailor/Smiley's People are really without peer, amongst dramatized spy stories. Alec Guinness is at the height of his powers as Smiley and the tales unfold with the implacable force of Greek tragedy. They capture the dismal art of espionage with with a clear, harsh eye. Absolutely everything in Smiley's world is dingy and cold and depressing; much as one would assume it to be in reality. Consider how tatty and threadbare the Circus looks. Perfect. Every scene seems like it was expunged of anything warm or happy or glamorous. And that's as it should be. I haven't seen the new Tinker movie yet (not released in the US until next month), and I'm sure it's quite good. But it cannot be better than the original. Not possible. The caveat with these DVDs, though, is technical. I assume the shows were shot on 16mm. A crime that it wasn't done on 35mm. And these are dark, grainy, ugly transfers. I hope some day the BBC will remaster them and release something better looking. Still, I'm delighted to find these great shows at such a great price here at Amazon UK.