The Cleaner ‐ Friday, BBC One, 9:30pm
Greg Davies stars in this new sitcom about a crime scene cleaner with no emotional investment in the carnage he’s tasked with scrubbing. But then he meets a blood‐spattered murderer played by Helena Bonham Carter, who fascinates him strangely. Adapted by Davies from a critically acclaimed German series called Der Tatortreiniger, this ‐ as if you hadn’t already guessed ‐ is a black comedy farce. And it’s ideally suited to Davies’ disgruntled, bewildered, buffoonish middle‐aged man persona. Episode one is a tad self‐conscious in its efforts to establish an offbeat ‘anything goes’ tone, but it’s still quite amusing. Davies is a naturally funny farceur and the premise is intriguing. There could be something here.
The Scotts ‐ Monday, BBC One, 10:35pm
Written by and starring Iain Connell and Robert Florence of Burnistoun renown, this likeable sitcom charts the internecine dysfunction of an extended Scottish family and their best pals. Brothers Vincent and Henry are relatively normal, at least when compared to the absurdist characters Connell and Florence created for their sketch show. The Scotts is set in the real world or thereabouts. But don’t worry (if indeed you were), this isn’t an embarrassing bid for ‘mature artistic growth’ from the Burnistoun boys. It’s still very silly and acerbic, but it does have a bit of heart underneath all the ‘slaggings’ and cheerful crudity. Episode one revolves around failed attempts at familial bonding. You might recognise some of its anguish.
Wonders of Scotland with David Hayman ‐ Tuesday, STV, 7:30pm
The Scottish actor David Hayman was born and bred in Glasgow, but his roaming heart lies in the Highlands. This series is yet another celebrity‐fronted travelogue, of course it is, but it’s elevated somewhat by Hayman’s seasoned gifts as an orator. His presentation style is borderline poetic and the man’s genuine passion for the project is never in doubt. Sure, Tam Weir did all of this years ago; that woolly‐hatted, dram‐thirsty bard was the Alan Whicker of Scotland’s highlands and islands. But Hayman is a worthy successor. His warm bath of a programme also illustrates how television has changed. Everyone Weir met looked terrified. Hayman’s interviewees are only too happy to banter on camera.
A House Through Time ‐ Tuesday, BBC Two, 9pm
The latest series of this expansive British history lesson is based in a three‐storey Victorian house in the suburbs of Leeds. As always, host David Olusoga examines the lives of those who have resided there over the years to compile a fascinating sociohistorical document. The very first resident was a progressive lawyer who devoted his career to protecting poor and vulnerable people. Among his successors were a ruthless factory owner, a traumatised soldier and a widowed war bride. Olusoga is an astute and rigorous historian. Although practiced in the art of sculpting richly detailed, colourful essays, he has no interest in sensationalism. A House Through Time is a humane endeavour; its yellowed chapters are thoughtful and revealing.
Death on the Common: My Mother’s Murder ‐ Tuesday, Channel 4, 10pm
When Alex Hanscombe was just two‐years‐old, he witnessed the murder of his mother, Rachel Nickell. Everyone who’s ever read about that awful case has wondered about the fate and wellbeing of Alex. Now, for the first time in public, he discusses what he’s been through. Preview copies weren’t available at the time of writing, but one assumes that Alex’s involvement in this programme speaks for itself. The synopsis suggests that it’s a sensitively‐handled endeavour. I hope so anyway, for the family’s sake. Alex and his father, Andre, reflect upon their lives in the everlasting wake of Rachel’s murder, while meeting up with some of the police officers and child psychiatrists who dealt with Alex at that time.
Our Lives: For Peat’s Sake ‐ Wednesday, BBC One, 7:30pm
A documentary with that punning title was inevitably going to be made one day, but I’m glad this one stole the honour. It’s a charming excursion to the Isle of Lewis, in which the 80‐year‐old peat digger Domhnull Iain ‐ a delightful gent who could make the four‐minute‐warning sound like a source of comfort ‐ guides us through his daily activities. We also meet Margaret, who left her old life behind to accompany the reluctantly retirement‐bound Domhnull on this stunningly remote and tranquil terrain, plus a local radio DJ/farmer who provides the perfect country and western soundtrack. Like most of the epistles from this series, it’s a little window of calm.
Grenfell: The Untold Story ‐ Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm
The Grenfell Tower fire was an appalling tragedy, a stark, shameful symbol of social inequality and neglect. This documentary honours its legacy via previously unseen footage collated by Grenfell’s artist in residence, Constantine Gras. Just a few years prior to the disaster, Gras embarked upon a project of vital importance. He chronicled the struggles of deeply concerned residents, all of whom were locked in an exasperating battle with the local authorities. The building was clearly unsafe, it was in dire need of refurbishment; but nothing was done. 72 people died when Grenfell Tower caught fire. The programme features contributions from some of those who survived. Their voices must be heard. This must never be forgotten.