Sunday Feb 17

Baptiste – 9pm, BBC One

Traitors – 9pm, Channel 4

Across two series of The Missing, the fraternal writing team Harry and Jack Williams kept viewers hooked with a combination of regular cliffhangers and frequent twists. But from the first, the best thing about those knotty missing-person mysteries was the recurring character of Julien Baptiste, the retired French detective with the intriguing limp who kept getting pulled back into decades-old cases, beautifully played by Tchéky Karyo. Leading with a head that seems carved from granite, Karyo looks like an old bruiser, yet he has a wonderfully light touch, and it is entirely down to him that Baptiste has become enough of a cult to now warrant his own spin-off series.

When we first met Baptiste, in the original Missing in 2014, the superannuated old sleuth had taken up beekeeping as a hobby, a cheeky nod to the post-detection pursuits of the aging Sherlock Holmes. But those bees just can’t keep him occupied. In 2016, he was back nosing through an even more complicated missing persons case. Now, here he comes again. Who’s minding the hive?

Viewers who have followed Baptiste’s career to date will realise that, to bring him back once more, the Williamses have had to perform some sleight of hand. Last time we saw him, Baptiste was on an operating table, about to submit to the ministrations of brain surgeons hoping to save his life. As we return, it seems that his pesky fatal brain tumour has all cleared up, which is good news not only for him, but also for the Amsterdam police, who suddenly need his help, because there’s just no one else with his experience.

(Baptiste, who has now conducted investigations in France, Germany and Holland, is as good an advert for the UK staying part of a barrier-free Europol as you will ever find. Despite being a French civilian pensioner with a dodgy brain and leg, he can breeze in and out of police investigations across the continent without so much as filling in a form.)

This time, Baptiste is asked to help find a young sex worker who has disappeared from Amsterdam’s red light district. Most anxious to locate the young woman is her uncle, Edward Stratton, played in a state of burned-out fever by the ever-excellent Tom Hollander. As the case leads into increasingly complex, sordid and desperate areas, it soon becomes apparent that nothing here is as straightforward as first appears. The Williamses produce lots of atmosphere, tense set pieces, and unexpected developments. Still, the chance to watch Karyo and Hollander side-by-side and head-to-head is the real draw.

Certainly, I’d rather watch those two discussing whether to phone out for a pizza or a Chinese takeaway than anything in Channel 4’s turgid new period spy drama, Traitors. Set in the aftermath of the Second World War, the plot concerns a smart young posh woman, Feef (Emma Appleton) who, having landed a job in Whitehall, gets recruited by a rogue US intelligence officer to spy on the newly-elected Labour government.

With America entering its red menace period, her handler is paranoid about the Commie threat taking root in the UK. Feef, raised a Tory, shares his concern. Gradually, though, she has her eyes opened to the heart and soul of the Labour movement and the conditions that fuelled it.

It’s a well-meaning stinker, heavy with anachronistic attitudes and behaviour, and loaded with expository dialogue about the political facts and factions of the day. Trying to add life, actors lapse into eye-rolling pantomime, while the director chucks in meaninglessly “interesting” camera angles every opportunity. It looks the part at first, but it’s like a Champagne bottle filled with cold soup.

Monday 18

The Story Of Skinhead With Don Letts

10.30pm, BBC Four

Another showing for this excellent film by the DJ and filmmaker. The skinhead movement is still most strongly associated with the violent racism of the 1970s, when National Front boot boys adopted the uniform. But Letts’s essay begins by looking back to the style’s roots in the cross-cultural fusion that resulted when white working class British youth became entranced by the ska sounds and sharp threads imported from Jamaica with the Windrush generation. Letts follows the complicated story of how skinhead was co-opted, corrupted and championed across the turbulent 1970s, while exploring the fashion, the music (from ska through Oi! to The Specials’ anti-fascist 2 Tone movement), and sub-cultural touchstones like Richard Allen’s novels. Contributors include The Selecter’s Pauline Black, Dexys’s Kevin Rowland and Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey.

Tuesday 19


9pm, BBC One

It all seemed so simple last week. A wee dismembered hand found washed up on the beach, with a decapitated head to follow – just another regular day in the life of Shetland’s DI Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall). But the investigation into a suspected people-trafficking operation begins to mushroom tonight, when members of the Hayes family are found butchered in their home. With Jamie Hayes missing, suspicions soon centre on him, but Perez has his doubts. Meanwhile, he grows increasingly convinced that the fisherman Calum Dunwoody knows far more about events than he admits. Elsewhere, Tosh turns up new information about the owner of the hotel where the missing woman Zezi was being held captive. As dense and twisty as the case becomes, however, Shetland still maintains a sure, steady beat, taking its pace from Henshall’s performance.

Barry Didcock's TV review: Trapped, BBC Four

Wednesday 20

The Brit Awards 2019

8pm, STV

Say what you like about The BRIT Awards Sponsored By Mastercard, they’ll still keep doing it every year. Britain’s exciting answer to rock and roll, Jack Whitehall, returns to host this year’s A-list wingding, coming at you live and pumped full of that special sponsored by Mastercard atmosphere from London’s O2 Arena. Between the ceremonial dishing of the gongs, there will be live, or near as dammit, performances from Calvin Harris with Dua Lipa; Sam Smith and Rag'n'Bone Man; Jess Glynne with H.E.R; George Ezra; Jorja Smith; Little Mix; and The 1975 – not to mention a showstopping start from Hugh Jackman in his Greatest Showman guise. Elsewhere, this year’s Outstanding Contribution To Music Award is being presented to Pink.

Thursday 21

Mark Kermode's Oscar Winners: A Secrets of Cinema Special 9pm, BBC Four

Following the festive special devoted to Christmas movies, Mark Kermode returns with another timely spin off from his Secrets Of Cinema series, this time devoted to the exploring the hidden ways of wining the greatest gong of them all. Casting an eye over the history of the awards, you might reckon that there’s been a huge diversity to the big Oscar films, but Kermode argues that, despite apparent differences, the prize winners have had more in common than might seem to be the case. Certain genres recur, including war movies, social justice message pictures, and the all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza. Within this, Kermode explores how it’s not just the choice of subject that matters, but how it is handled, illustrating his case with examples from the earliest awards winners to the most recent victors.

Friday 22


9pm, BBC Four

The BBC has already made a great documentary series on the art of composing music for movies, in the shape of Neil Brand’s terrific Sound Of Cinema. But, while never going quite as in-depth as Brand (and never straying too far away from the well worn canon), this sumptuous film by Matt Schrader is another treat for fans of the form. Give or take a few omissions, Schrader runs through the recognised greats from King Kong to Jaws, with special attention to masters like Bernard Herrmann, Ennio Morricone and John Williams, and the relationships they forged with particular directors. Composers including Williams, Quincy Jones, Trent Reznor, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman discuss the challenges of the job, and there’s excellent footage of musicians at work on music, including sessions from the Star Wars saga at the Abbey Road studios.

Saturday 23


9pm, BBC Four

As the Icelandic thriller continues, the police are still hunting for Skuli, the young farmer suspected of being involved in a murder, who has fled the isolated town on horseback and headed up into the surrounding mountains. As a search and rescue mission is mounted in the hills, his brother, Torfi, drops a hint that Hammer Of Thor, the far-right organisation both belong to, is planning something big, leaving Andri trying to work out what that might be, before it’s too late. Elsewhere, the town’s mayor is being harassed, but is determined to keep it secret until the big investment deal goes through, a political decision that soon proves to be a mistake. Meanwhile, Andri has troubles of a more personal nature, as his daughter still refuses to talk to him, and has some secrets of her own.