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Paul Whitelaw: Watch out for Inside Man – Hannibal Lecter without the cannibalism.

David Tennant in Inside Man.
David Tennant in Inside Man.

Inside Man – Monday, BBC One, 9pm

Written by Steven Moffat of Doctor Who and Sherlock renown, this arresting new thriller is typically dark and audacious. Your charismatic co-stars are Stanley Tucci and David Tennant. Tucci plays an erudite American death row inmate whose criminology background is frequently called upon by guilty establishment figures and curious journalists. Imagine Hannibal Lecter without the cannibalism. Meanwhile, way over yonder in a picture postcard English village, Tennant turns on the charm as an apparently groovy vicar. Moffat – an often dazzlingly bright and witty writer who revels in devising puzzles – has a whole lot of fun playing around with tropes he’s fully aware of. The set-up is irresistible, it’s queasy, odd and unpredictable. Hopefully it all pays off.

Bad Chefs – Monday, ITV2, 9pm

Preview copies weren’t available for this new series, but it sounds like a passable way to while away some time. Apologies in advance if that’s not the case. It’s a reality show in which – so it says here – some ‘takeaway addicts’ are forced to ditch their apps and do some cooking from scratch. Now, I know what you’re (probably) thinking. That sounds potentially patronising. This is an ITV2 show after all. But let’s give it the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it will somehow turn out to be an uplifting show in which people, during this horrific cost of living crisis, discover how to cook decent, healthy meals on a reduced budget. Onward and upwards, eh?

Celebrity I Literally Just Told You – Monday, Channel 4, 10pm

Celebrity I Literally Just Told You kicks off its new season with a football special.

A throwaway nugget of mildly diverting escapism, this Jimmy Carr-fronted gameshow revolves around a simple yet effective premise: the answers to every question are seeded by Carr’s links and whatever occurs during the various rounds (an industrious panel of backroom researchers type up questions as the show unfolds). Which means, in that time-honoured TV quiz tradition, you can play along at home. Just pay close attention to everything that’s said. The latest series kicks off with a charity fundraising sport-themed episode starring footballers John Barnes and Sue Smith, broadcaster and gymnast Gabby Logan, and football manager Harry Redknapp. Carr is in his element here, it’s the slick, vaguely Monkhouse-esque vehicle he’s always coveted.

Make Me Prime Minister – Tuesday, Channel 4, 9:15pm

Alastair Campbell and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi preside over proceedings in Make Me Prime Minister.

Good grief. This Apprentice-style reality series is so woefully misjudged, it may trigger an actual revolution. The premise: twelve contestants, under the watchful gaze of celebrity politicos Alastair Campbell and Sayeeda Warsi, attempt to prove how much better they’d be than the Prime Ministers we’ve endured during the last 40–odd years. Two of those PMs – Blair and Cameron – occasionally crop up to issue advice. Now, I concede that perhaps I’m a laughably old-fashioned bore with deeply held convictions, but politics isn’t supposed to be entertaining. It’s not a game, the decisions these people make have a devastating impact on millions of lives. I urge you to watch it, though. You’ll be astonished and angered. It’s jaw-dropping.

Nine Perfect Strangers – Wednesday, Channel 4, 10pm

Regine Hall as Masha in Nine Perfect Strangers.

An adaptation of the New York Times best seller by Australian author Liane Moriarty, this eight-part drama follows various guests as they don’t quite get what they bargained for while spending ten days at a rural health and wellness resort. Nothing is what it appears to be. Sinister motives are at work. I couldn’t track down any preview copies, folks, but this does sound rather intriguing. A peculiar mystery with offbeat shades of The Twilight Zone. Right up my street in theory. Yours too, should your tastes align with mine. Originally released via Hulu, that occasionally worthwhile American subscription streaming service, it’s their most popular show to date.

Taskmaster – Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm

Greg Davies returns as Taskmaster host.

Glory be! Greg Davies and Alex Lowe have returned for another series of this absolutely charming load of old nonsense. You presumably know the score by now: a bunch of comedians have to complete a series of maddening, pointless tasks, most of which require a bit of ingenuity, cheating and chutzpah. Our contestants this time around are Dara Ó Briain, Fern Brady, John Kearns, Munya Chawawa and Sarah Millican. The opening round involves a fiendish display of hip-touching, hand-finding and milk-lifting. Taskmaster works for one fundamental reason: it seeks only to entertain. It has no truck with cruelty or cynicism. Davies is an ostensibly acerbic MC, but his insults are always delivered with a twinkle.

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared – Friday, Channel 4, 11:05pm

Yellow Guy, Red Guy And Duck in Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared.

The brainchild of graphic designers Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared originated as a web series produced between 2011 and 2016. This is the belated TV adaptation. It exploits one of my least favourite comedy conceits: children’s television programmes of the 1970s and 1980s repurposed as supposedly unsettling oddities for adults. Imagine a twisted version of those shows you loved as a kid! It’s such a lazy, one-note gag. Sloan and Pelling’s wacky/deadpan fantasia is mired in the heavy-handed whimsy of The Mighty Boosh. The people behind Button Moon et al didn’t create those strange little worlds by mistake. What’s the point of satirising something that was deliberately eccentric in the first place?