FOR all David Hare’s decades writing for the theatre, film, radio and television, it was not, amazingly, until 2018 that he created his first TV series, Collateral.

The tale of people-smuggling had a mixed reception from audiences. At the centre of the thriller was a Detective Inspector played by Carey Mulligan. Not only did The Great Gatsby star seem impossibly young for such a rank, I seem to recall the character was an ex-Olympic pole vaulter, though we never found out why that was relevant. Perhaps I was asleep when the explanation arrived. It was a Sunday night, after all.

Hare is back in the same slot to try again with Roadkill (BBC1, Sunday, 9pm), and this time the omens look much better. Boasting another first class cast, Roadkill stars Hugh Laurie, above, as scheming Conservative Minister Peter Laurence, with Helen McCrory as a crisp, ruthless Prime Minister.

When we meet Laurence he is emerging triumphant from the law courts, having successfully sued a newspaper for claiming he had exploited his public position for private gain and lied about it.

As Hare has been the first to acknowledge, writing Conservative characters is new territory for him. In Roadkill all are purely fictional, he insists. “Mine is a parallel world to the real one, and there is no secret passage between the two. You will be wasting your time if you think that the purpose of the series is to work out who everyone is ‘meant to be’. In Roadkill, neither Covid nor Brexit consume every politician’s waking hour.”

Courtesy of another excellent performance by Laurie, his character does indeed seem a uniquely awful individual. Scheming, two-faced, disdainful, ruthlessly ambitious (he is said to want to privatise the NHS – boo, hiss), he would be stereotypical if it was not for Laurie giving him depths and edges that hint at so much more to be revealed.

For all that the central character is a man, Roadkill is dominated by women. Laurence is surrounded by them at every turn, from the Prime Minister to his children, his lover, even his government driver. It is quite the tangled web he has already woven in life, and by the end of episode his past deeds are catching up with him.

Shot in London, Roadkill (that’s what Laurence says he would have been had he lost the court case), has an expensive look, and that is before you get to the big name cast. Still to make an appearance is Saskia Reeves, who has only just vacated the Sunday slot with the wonderful Us. She plays Laurence’s wife. Also warming up is Sidse Babett Knudsen, she of Borgen fame.

Among the more junior members of the cast are some notable up and comers, including Scots actor Iain De Caestecker as Laurence’s aide, and the Irish actor Sarah Greene, so good in Dublin Murders and Normal People, as an investigative journalist who has her own beef with Laurence.

With such a fine cast, and so many lines placed in the water in the first episode, Roadkill is shaping up to be another Sunday night hit for the BBC.

You can tell immediately from the title if you are going to be part of the viewing cohort for Secret Life of Doggy Day Care (Channel 5, Tuesday, 7pm).

Walk on by cat lovers, or anyone who thinks a “creche for canines” as narrator Julian Clary puts it, is a sign of a society going to the dogs.

Are these centres a new thing? What did people do in the past with their dogs when the household went out to school and work?

Answers came there none from the viewing of this particular episode; it’s not that kind of show. But if you would like to see what goes on at a puppy party, or find out what it takes to keep a nine stone Newfoundland looking gorgeous, step this way.

In fairness to the programme makers, there were some lessons to take away, the main one being that dogs are social animals, they need a pack like a fish needs water.

Hearteningly, a fair few of the hounds at the featured centres in Warrington and Surrey were rescue dogs.

Some, like three-legged Gobi, a retriever, had bigger problems than others to overcome.

Gobi was not keen on other dogs investigating his stump, and who could blame him? A session with other amputee dogs gave his owners hope he would become more relaxed in time.

Elsewhere, Frank the French bulldog puppy had eyes bigger than his belly and caused carnage at the cake table during the puppy party. “He’s got the appetite of a labrador,” said his human.

Right on cue came Henry, a “very full on” – ie tank on legs – yellow labrador struggling with his weight. He enjoyed the session in the hydrotherapy tank, where ten minutes of walking in water is the equivalent of a 40 minute march. Or at least he did for a while. Poor Henry, keep going lad.