GOT enough drama in

your life? Time was when

you could look forward

to a few decent dramatic

offerings in autumn before

the fancy stuff at Christmas. Now, as

Forrest Gump’s mamma never said, the

schedules are like a giant box of thespian

chocolates, and you never know what

you are going to get. With any luck it will

be a strawberry creme (Bodyguard, The

Cry), rather than a nut cluster (Strangers,

anyone? No, thought not).

Butterfly (ITV, Sunday, 9pm) is shaping

up to be the former. In the first of three

episodes we met the Duffy family: mum

Vicky, dad Stephen, big sister Lily, and

youngest boy Max.

Max was not happy as Max. All things

considered, Max reckoned he would

be much happier as a girl. Mum (Anna

Friel) thought it was just a phase; Nan

(Alison Steadman) referred to Max’s

“funny ways”; grandad thought the lad

was gay; and dad had taken the situation

so badly he had left home.

Tony Marchant’s drama set out its

stall without fuss. We saw that far from

being a phase, Max had been feeling this

way for a long time. We also got some

sense of what it meant, day to day, to feel

you are in the wrong body, the wrong

clothes, the wrong toilets. Sensitively

done so far. Now that Max has decided

he wants to be Maxine the real battles,

and the test for this drama, begin.

Informer (BBC1, Tuesday, 9pm) was a

caramel of the rip-out-your-fillings kind,

as one might expect of a drama about

counter-terrorism police and their paid

snitches. Paddy Considine, who always

looks as though he is walking around

in wet socks, played Gabe, the tough

talking old hand who was lumbered with

an inexperienced but ambitious new

female partner. It was Holly (Bel Powley)

asked, but not the one that cried out

to be answered: why was this steaming

pile of rubbish commissioned? It was

desperately unfunny stuff, the kind of

dreck that would struggle to make the

grade in on daytime TV, yet here it was

on prime time. One suspects the answer

starts and ends with O’Carroll. He who

has a hit show must be indulged and all


Sanity was restored by the drama

There She Goes (BBC4, Tuesday 10pm).

David Tennant and Jessica Hynes played

the parents who spent most of their time

crisis-managing their learning disabled

daughter Rosie while her brother looked

on from the sidelines, wondering if it

would ever be his turn for attention.

Written by Shaun Pye, the father of

a disabled child, the chaos, heartbreak,

joy, and sheer bloody exhaustion on

screen had an essential ring of truth

about it. The scenes looking back to the

time before Rosie was diagnosed were

particularly poignant, with mum and dad

trying to cope, or not, with a life turned

upside down. Superb performances all

round, Tennant especially.

This Country (BBC1, Saturday,

10.30pm) was back for a one-off

special before a new series arrives. The

Cotswolds-set mockumentary about

cousins Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe

was one of the most pleasing comedy

finds of this year, and if you haven’t

come across it yet get thee to the BBC

iPlayer pronto.

Kerry and Kurtan are played by reallife

brother and sister Charlie and Daisy

May Cooper, and the comedy walks that

fine line between love and contempt for

its characters. This jobless pair might

seem as thick as 22 planks, and their

rural existence, revolving around the bus

stop and the village green, offers nothing

in the way of excitement. But look closer

and you see that all human life is here,

wrapped up in plenty of properly daft,

snigger-along comedy.

The second series ended with the

great vacuum cleaner robbery and Kerry

having to decide whether or not to take

the rap for her no-good dad. Now the

village’s saintly vicar (Paul Chahidi) had

to deal with the inevitable emotional

fallout. Twenty-something Kerry

admitted to being a bit of a handful,

riding her bike around the local shop

and being slightly cheeky to a member

of the bowls club. Or as the vicar put

it: “Frankly, she’s behaving like the

antichrist.” Drama queens: they’re