Masterchef: the Professionals (Monday 6pm, BBC2)
It’s taken this competition a while to turn the heat up, with Gregg Wallace missing the acid-tongued presence of his culinary buddy, John Torode. After a cold first week, however, last week saw Michelle Roux Jr (who has held two Michelin stars since 1991, as Gregg tells us Every. Single. Episode) has now got what Masterchef is about. He has become the master of the wide-eyed look of horror as a hopeful makes a dreadful gaffe on his hawk-like wanders around the Masterchef kitchen. Masterchef has got it’s mojo back!
The Children (Monday 9pm, ITV1)
I hope the audience sticks around for this better-than-average thriller, as when ITV manages to serve up a decent drama for a change, we should cherish it while we can (as I bemoaned last week on the subject of the enjoyable Lost in Austen). Lucy Gannon layers her plot in flashbacks as the events leading up to the death of little Emily are depicted, creating suspects galore - pretty much every character in the piece has good motive. A great cast, a great script, a great drama. More please, ITV - and how often do we get to say that?
The Dark Side of Fame with Piers Morgan (Monday 10.35pm, BBC1)
Much as I detest Piers Morgan, there’s something incredibly watchable about this series that puts a noted celebrity under the spotlight so they can talk about all the horrible things that have happened to them - and usually reported by Morgan back in his days as a tabloid editor. Tonight, Pamela Anderson is no holds barred in her honesty. Strangely fascinating.
Mutual Friends (Tuesday 9pm, BBC1)
I think the problem with Mutual Friends, however enjoyable it may be, is that it’s settled into a very samey tempo. You know exactly what’s going to happen in each episode, and that the situation isn’t going to develop much further by the final episode. That was fine for two episodes, but by the third it’s time for some layering and texture in the ongoing stories of these characters. Thank God for Marc Warren and Alexander Armstrong, who are admirable as Martin and Patrick, particularly Armstrong who can do these kind of roles in his sleep.
Call the Cops (Tuesday 10pm, BBC4)
Last in the series of this excellent exercise in nostalgia that has looked at the creation of some of the best and most influential police drama series. They’ve saved perhaps the best until last with The Sweeney, the fags, bags and slags investigations of the Flying Squad, led by Regan and Carter. The series made starts out of John Thaw and Dennis Waterman, and it’s arguable that without The Sweeney we may not have had Minder and Inspector Morse in the guises we know them. The usual collection of clips and talking head recollections are all present and correct. Get yer trousers on, yer nicked!
A For Andromeda (Tuesday 10.30pm, BBC4)
Another chance to see the edgy remake of the 1961 sci-fi thriller. Tom Hardy and the ethereally wonderful Kelly Reilly star.
Torchwood - Lost Souls (Wednesday, 2.15pm, Radio 4)
Step away from the TV for a second and tune to Radio 4, where this specially commissioned radio episode of the Doctor Who spin-off forms part of the network’s Big Bang Day to tie in with the switching on off the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Torchwood TV writer Joseph Lidster takes Captain Jack, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones out of their Cardiff setting and plonks them in the middle of CERN where scientists are starting to hear ghostly voices. Freema Agyeman also stars as Martha Jones in this effectively spooky and claustrophobic thriller. Later this week, TV Today will bring you an interview with writer Joseph Lidster.
The Restaurant (Wednesday 8pm, BBC2)
The Apprentice meets Masterchef in a second run of the entertaining reality series that tasks Raymond Blanc with whittling down nine couples to one, with the prize to manage a restaurant for the feted chef.
A Number (Wednesday 9pm, BBC2)
A good adaptation of Caryl Churchill’s labyrinthine and challenging play, first performed at the Royal Court back in 2002. Rhys Ifans once more displays there’s more to his fish and chip paper shenanigans in the tabloids by taking on multiple roles as variations of the cloned son of the darkly secretive Salter (Tom Wilkinson). It’s sometimes hard to keep up with the various strands that Churchill just about manages to weave together, but it’s undeniably brilliant as Salter’s deceptions are slowly revealed when faced with the many facets of his dead son Bernard in clone form.
Lost in Austen (Wednesday 9pm, ITV1)
The enjoyably fizzy comedy drama continues as our heroine Amanda Price tries to keep the plot of Pride and Prejudice on track when she finds herself stuck in the middle of Jane Austen’s classic novel. Much of the success of Lost in Austen (and it is successful, believe me) is down to the casting of Jemima Rooper as Amanda, an actress strong enough to keep everything together, because if you stop to think too hard about the concept, it would fall to pieces very quickly. But things zip along with cheerful abandon, as Amanda tries to persuade Mr Bingley that really, she isn’t the one for him, and has he thought about the winsome Jane Bennet? Don’t think about it, just enjoy!
Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Thursday 10pm, ITV2)
For those who might have been disappointed that Billie Piper didn’t show a bit more flesh in her recent return to Doctor Who, rest easy, as tonight she returns to her other famous role - that of Belle de Jour, the titular diary scribbling call girl. Perhaps not as risqué as it thinks it is, there’s no denying Piper’s talent in making somebody who should be utterly despicable a likeable figure, and thankfully the sex takes more of a back seat to plot (sort of) in this second run. Tonight Belle deals with a client who turns out to be an MP, and also reluctantly mentors a wannabe call girl.
Grey’s Anatomy (Thursday 10pm, Living)
Sticking with digital this evening, the fourth series of Grey’s Anatomy makes its UK debut. The perceived wisdom is that this fourth season saw the hospital drama not quite jump the shark, but perhaps take a dry run at the ramp. With a couple of central actors gone (Isaiah Washington following some behind the scenes controversy and Kate Walsh to spin-off series Private Practice), there’s a certain amount of jockeying for position going on between the regulars, and things take time to settle down.