TALK OF THE TRADE : Film-makers raid the back catalogues

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Does Polygram's intention to make big-screen versions of The Prisoner, The Saint and The Persuaders, now that it has acquired the International Television Corporation, herald some dramatic new trend in film-making, towards the retrospective and s afe? Not really, although there is a growth in nostalgia surrounding early classics such as The Prisoner, which represented UK television drama in its optimistic and naive infancy.

There is nothing new in film-makers adapting trusted TV formats: the Dr Who spinoff film, Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD was made in 1966, (and repeated for the zillionth time on Sunday afternoon), while feature-length versions were also wrung out of TheSweeney, Man About the House, Bless This House and so on.

In the US, Hollywood has always plundered TV classics. ITC tailored its Sixties and Seventies programmes along American lines, despite fierce warnings from the then-regulator, the Independent Broadcasting Authority. This very feature now makes them more appealing to film-makers than most other