Dad’s Army: the Lost Episodes, Gold***

Peaky Blinders, BBC1****

Sanditon, ITV****

HOW would you like your Sunday evenings served, madam: with bare naked laddies, cuddly nostalgia, or machine guns? Those were the dining options as the main channels attempted to lock viewers in for the autumn.

Peaky Blinders made the move from BBC2 as a reward for its Bafta-winning, young audience-grabbing ways, while ITV was offering Sanditon, which sounds like a DIY product but is in fact an unfinished Austen brought to a close by Andrew Davies, the writer who puts the bonking into bonnet and carriage dramas.

But who do you think you are kidding, Mr Scheduler? For a certain vintage of viewer, the main event was Dad’s Army: the Lost Episodes. Three shows, which first aired in 1969, now remade with a different cast but the same David Croft and Jimmy Perry scripts.

The sets were spot on, there was a bona fide Scot, David Hayman, playing Frazer, and the opening titles were intact. But some actors were more successful than others at the imitation game, with Cold Feet’s silky Robert Bathurst moving smoothly into Sergeant Wilson mode, ditto Hayman as Frazer, while Kevin Eldon’s over the top Jonesy veered unwisely into panto.

READ MORE: The Lost Episodes

The script still worked, though. While raising more of a Mona Lisa smile than Laughing Policeman hysteria, there were a couple of choice moments, each springing from the show’s sheer, tin helmeted, silliness.

Silliness is not something one would associate with the Peaky Blinders. Slo-mo walking through gritty urban streets, sex and death - that’s your Peaky Blinders way. Season five opened with the Wall Street Crash. With a chunk of their change gone, it is to be back to basics (again) for the Shelby gang.

Head of the crime family Tommy (Cillian Murphy) has always been given to rare but significant pronouncements made in a low growl. Becoming a Labour MP seems to have loosened those cherubic lips. Last night he wouldn’t shut up, banging on about dark deeds in dimly lit corridors of power. Please God he is not turning into some Brummie Francis Urquhart. Now a more troubled figure, even his children are standing up to him, tiny as they are. More of a cheek, they are doing so in Estuary English.

You can always rely on Arthur to lower the tone. “We’re ******” was his priceless assessment of the crash, while his pronouncement on the Shelby boardroom biscuits - “they’re nice” - was delicious.

READ MORE: Damien Love's pick of the week

Over on ITV it was even older days as young Sussex lass Charlotte (Rose Williams) came to the aid of travellers in need. The passengers, a town planner and his wife, were so grateful for Charlotte’s help they invited her to come with them to the titular seaside town.

Charlotte’s dad was uneasy. Just be careful, he warned. Seaside resorts can be odd places. At home, anyone who had spent a September weekend in Blackpool would have nodded gravely in agreement.

Sure enough, Charlotte was soon seeing some very rum things involving a local toff and a lady in the woods. The camera kept a discreet distance, but whatever the pair were doing it was not playing a round of whist.

After 20 minutes, Davies was done with the titillation and flat out presented three butt naked men heading to the sea for a swim. The move, known in the trade as “doing a Bodyguard”, was not pulled on the female characters, who preserved their modesty in full-body swimwear.

Come episode end, Charlotte was clashing with a tall, dark, handsome, borderline psychopathic type (Theo James, this year’s Darcy) who you just know will have a softer side under all that frowning. Yawn.

READ MORE: Lessons of my long career, by Anne Reid

More promising are the spiky female characters, among them Anne Reid as Lady Denham, whose fortune everyone wants, and the sharp as a Peaky Blinders blade humour. Lady Denham versus Tommy Shelby, sex and sand up against fascism and furs, who could ask for anything more?

Peaky Blinders and Dad's Army continue on Monday night