SUNDAY night dramas have distinguished themselves with fine acting, weighty stories, and the odd bare rear (as opposed to Sir David Attenborough’s forthcoming Dynasties, which promises the lovelier prospect of bear rears).

There is one area, however, where they have been lacking: big screen stars. The BBC has not yet attracted a Hollywood actor of the calibre of Amy Adams (Sharp Objects), say, or Brian Cox (Succession). That changed this week with the arrival of The Little Drummer Girl (BBC1, Sunday, 9pm), the latest John le Carre adaptation to grace the small screen, though I am not sure yet whether it’s a good thing.

The big cheese in question is Oscar-nominated Michael Shannon, who plays Mossad agent Martin Kurtz. Called in after a terrorist atrocity in West Germany in 1979, Kurtz duly sets about finding the culprits. Although she does not yet know it, young English actress Charlie Ross (Florence Pugh) Is part of his plans. For now, Charlie only knows that she has met a handsome, mysterious stranger called Gadi (Alexander Skarsgard) who is keen to introduce her to some friends of his.

Drummer Girl is as lavishly shot as The Night Manager, with oodles of exotic locations besides the standard European cities. Then there is Shannon, who was hard to get used to as the larger than life Kurtz. Perhaps it is because he usually plays men of few words, or maybe he really is chewing the scenery. It may just be a case of settling in with the character. I’ll keep you posted.

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, the duo behind Inside No 9 (Sunday, 10pm, BBC2) were back with a live special, which is usually the kind of thing a soap opera does when ratings are flagging. You could see why a live show appealed to this pair of comedy anarchists. It offers so much potential in the way of things going wrong. Sure enough, we had no sooner started on the strange tale of Elsie’s missing mobile than the sound quit ten minutes in. A technical hitch, said the nice lady announcer. Or was it?

The boys, and co-star Stephanie Cole (“Told you we should have got Pam Ferris”) had a ball, weaving in all sorts of material to mess with viewers’ minds. They even managed to include an interview they did a few days before on The One Show. Did they appear on the programme purely for that purpose? One would hate to think they were not taking the BBC’s premier light entertainment/current affairs show with the respect it deserves. [Pause for snigger] It was sort of caper that could have come across as horribly pretentious and irritating, but as Shearsmith and Pemberton have shown so often before, a couple of northerners can get away with anything as long as it is funny.

If Inside No 9 was the week’s most original show, Dark Heart (STV, Wednesday/Thursday, 9pm) was the least distinctive. We were back in the land of the maverick detective, yawn, this one remarkable in that he’s a beardy liberal type given to lecturing his troops on the right of everyone to have a crime against them fully investigated, even if they are child abusers Tom Riley struggled to give his character DI Will Wagstaffe heft. The name Will did not help, nor did his youth. As for the drama as a whole, there had better be more to it than yet another serial killer on the loose. That would be double yawn with sprinkles of tedium on top.

One could never accuse chef Gino D’Acampo of having a dark heart. His entire MO seems to be spreading sunshine and cheer, whether you want them or not. Gino’s Italian Coastal Escape (STV, Thursday, 8.30pm) was the first of eight half hour shows combining cooking and travelogue, starting with Venice and Burano. Unlike those poor visitors to a deluged Venice this week, Gino did not have to wade through several feet of water. He was even able to set up a cooking stand on a canal bank, away from the tourist hordes. It was a lot of effort just to demonstrate how to make cicchetti, dinky little snacks, and crab linguine. Still, Gino has a book to flog and it was grand to see Venice again.

The best man won The Great British Bake Off: The Final (Channel 4, Tuesday, 8pm), though it was a close run thing. Ruby was sparky, Kim-Joy was, well, a joy, but Rahul, the shy PhD student, was an absolute sweetie. He nearly did not make it. First, his piping bag burst. Then there was the disastrous decision to put buttercream on a doughnut. Yuk. Then, slap bang in the middle of the showstopper challenge, a storage jar exploded due to the heat in the tent. It was enough to rattle a member of the SAS. Fortunately, Sandi Toksvig was on hand to dispense a kiss on Rahul’s forehead and that did the trick. Now two series in at Channel 4 after its controversial move from the BBC, the final had an audience of more than 7.5 million - only the Paralympics Opening Ceremony in 2012 has drawn more viewers. Put that in your doughnut, Auntie.