Robbie Coltrane’s absorbing portrayal of semi-retired light entertainment stalwart Paul Finchley brings out all the questions we have to ask of ourselves when any popular star is held to account - is it fair for his life to be exposed in this way? just because he had affairs, does that make him more likely to be guilty of abuse? Should we doubt his innocence because he sleeps with prostitutes?
Tonight’s third episode finds his defiantly loyal wife Marie (Julie Walters) meet with one of his accusers, an encounter that pricks her conscience, while Paul Finchley and his team must decide whether to play dirty with one of of his key complainants.
Viewers will have to wait until next week to discover his guilt or otherwise. Last week saw a very ambiguous scene play out in flashback, as his daughter Dee eavesdrops on his chat with the babysitter who would go on to be one of his accusers, and then pretends to be asleep when her father comes in to apologise for his wrong-doings.
There are certainly things we haven’t learned yet, but certainly Jack Thorne’s drama doesn’t shy from peeling away the layers of ambiguity, anxiety and the fear of not knowing that must accompany every historic case of this sort that continue to be investigated under the long shadow of Savile.
‘National Treasure’ continues tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm.
The Fall (BBC Two)
The third and final series finds Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson pitted against serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan). With Spector captured and injured in the final scene of the second series, it’ll be interesting to see what writer Allan Cubitt does in this final run to round things off in a satisfying conclusion to a memorable trilogy.
Our Loved Boy (BBC One)
The story of Damilola Taylor and the aftermath of his senseless death, as told through the eyes of his grieving family in this feature-length drama. Their quest for justice sits alongside their personal battles with a cast led by Babou Ceesay and Wunmi Mosaku, in a story told with the support of Damilola’s tireless father Richard Taylor OBE.
The Missing Series 2 (BBC One)
Writing brothers Harry and Jack Williams (who also wrote ‘One of Us’) are back on more familiar ground of the trauma surrounding a missing child. No James Nesbitt in this one, instead we have David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes as a couple whose lives are overturned when their missing daughter returns after 11 years. The thing we’re most looking forward to? The return of Tcheky Karyo reprising his role of the compassionate detective Julien Baptiste.
Close To The Enemy (BBC Two)
‘One Day’s Jim Sturgess leads the cast in this six-part series set in a bomb-damaged London hotel in the aftermath of World War II. Sturgess’s Captain Callum Ferguson is an intelligence officer whose job is to persuade a captured German scientist to lend his skills to the RAF’s task of developing the jet engine. All is not as it seems.
Max Irons and Sam Neill star in this four-part mini-series, re-telling the story of Howard after and his discovery of the tomb of the most fascinating of Egyptian pharaohs. With Irons as Carter, Sam Neill plays his supportive patron Lord Carnarvon, who defies all doubt to keep Carter’s dreams of discovery alive.
David Tennant and Olivia Colman return for the final series of this haunting series, joined once again by Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan as grieving parents Beth and Mark Latimer.
Following the mistakes of the second series, writer Chris Chibnall instead focuses on a brand new case, with detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller investigating a sexual assault, while the close Dorset community must once again deal with the unwelcome attention foisted on them.
The Halcyon (ITV)
The title refers to a five-star hotel in the centre of 1940 London society at a time of falling bombs and heightened emotions and fears. Steven Mackintosh and Olivia Williams lead a cast that also includes Kara Tointon and Alex Jennings.
Arguably the jewel in ITV’s winter schedule, this is an eight-part series exploring what happens when the murder of a mother in a school playground proves to be far less clear-cut than at first appeared. Neil Stuke, Indira Varma and Robert Glenister star.
Tina and Bobby (ITV)
The lady who can currently do no wrong, Michelle Keegan, stars as the wife of the revered England football captain, as they became the most recognisable couple of their generation. As the country got swept up in World Cup euphoria and by the Moores in particular, this most normal of couples must face some huge challenges. Alongside Michelle is Lorne MacFadyen as Bobby - Patsy Kensit and David Bamber also appear.
National Treasure (Channel 4)
Robbie Coltrane gives an ironically compelling turn as a huge entertainment star caught up in an historic sex allegation. As the police work their way through his complex life, those closest to the ‘national treasure’ must deal with the effects of secrets uncovered and loyalties tested. Julie Walters, Andrea Riseborough co-star.
Humans (Channel 4)
After the surprise phenomenon of Series 1, Gemma Chan and co return for a second series of compassionate sci-fi, exploring what happens when robots become loveable.
The Young Pope (Sky Atlantic)
Following a rapturous reception to its debut episode at the Venice Film Festival, Jude Law brings his troubled Pope Pius XIII to screen. The first American pope in contemporary times, the pontiff is a man of a great power who nevertheless fears losing those closest to him, and even being abandoned by his God. Alongside Jude, Diane Keaton, Ludivine Sagnier and James Cromwell star.