THE German Masters took place a week later this year – meaning the tournament clashed full on with the start of the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival (or Berlinale), one of the more prestigious world cinematic gatherings.

So it was perhaps not altogether surprising, though still unexpected, to virtually walk in to Colin Firth milking it on the red carpet at the nearby eight-screen IMAX complex off the Potsdamerplatz,  just 15 minutes’ walk from the Tempodrom on the eve of the event.

Firth was in town as part of a whistlestop European tour to promote knockabout spy flick Kingsman: The Secret Service, in which he plays a veteran secret agent.

The actor, now 54 but who still makes ladies of a certain age swoon for his wet-blouse antics in the BBC television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice 20 years ago, hammed up the quintessential English gent like an old pro for the adoring German public both outside and then inside when introducing a debut screening of the film in the country.

Firth then slipped out of a side door where a convoy of black limousines were waiting to whisk him away, along with a few die-hard photographers camped out in the light snow and some selfie-seekers who were left disappointed after the star declined all such invitations.

He then sped off just before anyone could ask if he was hanging around for the Xiao Guodong/Liam Highfield clash the following day.