Endeavour – 8pm, STV

Maltese: The Mafia Detective – 10pm, Channel 4

Maybe one day we’ll stop watching the detectives, but there’s no sign of it happening any time soon, and tonight the unending tide of crime shows tosses another two onto the shore, one after the other.

The first is a familiar face, although he’s had a couple of faces: Inspector Morse, or, as he is known in the brown-tinged period prequel that has now reached its fifth series, Endeavour, who, as we return to the Oxford of the 1960s, has only just reached the rank of Detective Sergeant.

Rolling out in highly watchable two-hour episodes that smother over you like warm duvets, Endeavour is exemplary snoozy Sunday night TV, although I still find it hard to accept it as having much to do with Old Morse. Partly, of course, it’s because Shaun Evans, who plays the youngish copper with a nicely consumed-but-hesitant air, is never going to look, grump or burn anything like John Thaw.

Mostly, though, it’s that, despite the shared Oxford setting, with its steady supply of snooty academics, the whole atmosphere, mood and pacing of Endeavour is sedate in a quite different, more humdrum way to the original Morse – a realisation that was hammered home anew in recent weeks, when I had bad flu, and holed up on the sofa watching marathons of the melancholy old Morse episodes that sulkily haunt the ITV Player.

Some of them are psychedelically soporific, which I mean in a good, satisfying way. By the time I’d reached the end of one, called “Service Of All The Dead” – the kind of wildly baroque pomp title Endeavour shies away from in favour of blunt one-word declarations – I was convinced that Morse was actually the maddest, most surrealistically avant-garde British TV show ever broadcast in prime time, not so much real ale as magic mushrooms. Although maybe it was just too many visits to the cough bottle.

You don’t get much of that stuff in Endeavour. What you do get, though, is the excellent interplay between Evans and Roger Allam as Endeavour’s mentor-partner, DI Thursday. It’s this that carries tonight’s episode in which, as you might have guessed, a series of grisly murders is unfolding, which leads to the cloistered heart of academia, passing horrendous students en route.

If you still have a taste for more crime afterwards, head directly to Channel 4 for Maltese: The Mafia Detective, a terrible title that hides a promising new series. Imported from Italy, it’s another period piece, set in the washed-out, increasingly blood-spattered Sicily of the mid-1970s. Dario Maltese (Kim Rossi Stuart), a Roman detective who grew up on the island, returns for the marriage of a childhood friend. A foreseeable tragic violent murder or two later, and he transfers to the place, to wage war against the Mafia gangs ruling the rotten roost.

Significantly, the show was created by two writers from Gomorrah, the Italian crime saga that’s currently one of the best things being made anywhere on the planet, although Maltese doesn’t have that same grim shimmer. In essence, it’s more old-fashioned: the revenge plot, and good period recreation stir moustachioed sense memories of actual 1970s Italian crime movies. But Maltese doesn’t have the comic-book scripting of the old Euro-pulps. While there are traditional, predictable elements, there are kinks, and it begins to pull interesting colours from characters, while pulling you in. As with most Walter Presents imports, only the first episode will be on Channel 4, with the rest of the eight-part series available on All 4 after it goes out.


The X-Files

9pm, Channel 5

After the rare hits and regular misses of the rebooted X-Files that appeared in 2016, some fans might not be holding out too much hope for this new 10-part run – but, at the same time, how could any fan resist, or give up wanting to believe it could really work again? Such faith, however, might be severely tested by the opening episode of Season 11, which picks up where the mighty cliffhanger that closed things last time left us dangling: Mulder has fallen prey to a deadly virus, Scully is seeing UFOs in the sky. How the show’s creator, Chris Carter, chooses to get out of that feels a bit of a cheat, to say the least, and, as he chews away on the drama’s long inner mythology, things begin to get very tangled indeed. However, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny remain great together, the paranoid mood in the FBI feels more justified than ever, and, as things proceed, there are a couple of good, “old X-Files” style episodes ahead.


Inside No 9

10pm, BBC Two

By the terms of this exceptionally strong series, last week’s programme was the closest Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton have come to treading water. But with tonight’s final episode they’re back in the best, dank, delicious form, slamming the door on Number 9 with a flourish. The set up is ghoulish to begin with: a hoarder has died in his crammed council flat, and a small three-person team of clear-up contractors (Pemberton, Shearsmith and Weruche Opia) have arrived to asses the place and begin sorting through the junk. As they begin going through the dead man’s mouldering piles of possessions, however, they discover a curious message from beyond the grave, and a warning…With a glimpse of Nigel Planer as the departed flat owner, it’s a clever, knowing riff on the old Monkey’s Paw tale, given dank, daft and poignant little twists. Devoted fans will be delighted to see Shearsmith and Pemberton finally give a starring role to their most frequent hidden co-star, the one with the big ears.



9pm, Sky Atlantic

They’re all trying to do different things, of course, but it has to be said that if you stand pretty much any crime series currently being made in the UK alongside any single episode of this grim but mesmerising Italian series – a symphony in corruption, rot, violence and countless wasted lives – the British shows just look…silly by comparison. As tonight’s double bill begins, we learn the fate of Ciro, “The Immortal.” Over a year has passed since he executed Don Pietro and went on the run, and fate has landed him in Bulgaria, where he has wound up working as the right-hand man to a local gangster, with a bleak, horrendous line in various forms of human trafficking. But, while the landscape has changed, the same old dynamics are in play, as Ciro comes increasingly into conflict with the boss’s son. Later, back in Italy, Genny awaits the arrival of his secret cocaine shipment, but the father-in-law he has been cheating is waiting, too, and ready to take vengeance.


Hugh Masekela: Welcome To South Africa

8pm, BBC Four

To mark his death in January at the age of 78, a repeat for this tribute to/ profile of the legendary musician and anti-apartheid activist, first shown back in 2010. Around footage of performances filmed during his 70th birthday concert at London’s Barbican, the inspirational Masekela looks back on his long and courageous career – from the influences that first moved him to pick up a trumpet as a child in the 1950s, through to his exile during apartheid in the 1960s and the years in New York that saw him and his former wife, the great singer Miriam Makeba, become the first African artists to find stardom in the west, via their blend of jazz and their homegrown mbaqanga sound. Masekela also speaks about his triumphant return to his country in 1990 following Nelson Mandela’s release, when, rather than rest as an elder statesman, he launched himself into yet another series of new projects. In conclusion, he speaks about his hopes for and vision of the future for his country.


Rock'n'Roll Guns For Hire: The Story Of The Sidemen

10pm, BBC Four

A repeat for this documentary, dedicated to the shadowy musicians who allow the stars to shine, presented by the estimable Noo Yoik guitar slinger Earl Slick, best known for playing with David Bowie. Director Francis Whately gathers together some fantastic voices including (despite the title) the magnificent Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, aka Wendy & Lisa, the guitar-piano team who were vital to Prince’s breakthrough band, The Revolution. The pair, who made significant contributions to Prince’s music, speak frankly, yet without bitterness about their ambivalence about being supporting players, and the blurred lines over who exactly did exactly what in making a song the finished article. Another notable contributor is the great Stax guitarist Steve Cropper. A legend among music fans, the wider public might have never heard his name, despite the fact he co-wrote little trifles including “Dock Of The Bay” and “In The Midnight Hour.” A real highlight is when Cropper and the 80-year old Eddie Floyd reunite to play their most famous composition, “Knock On Wood.”