HOW do you prefer your fictional police officers? By the book, morally upright, a Vera or a Morse? Or the troubled sort, the one who can’t get their wardrobe shut for all the skeletons crammed in there?

The viewer can tell at first glance what kind of copper Chris Carson is in new drama The Responder (BBC1, Monday-Tuesday, 9pm). You don’t get bags under the eyes like that from nights full of sweet dreams.

Played by Martin Freeman, we first encounter the Scouser at a therapy session, where he is telling the counsellor he desperately wants to talk but doesn’t know how or where to begin. “I’m wrapped up in here,” he says, pointing to his head.

Given the average evening of a “first responder” on his Liverpool beat can range from dealing with fights between neighbours to fatal road smashes, there is no denying the demands of the job. There is more to Chris’s story, though, than one or two bad nights at the office. All Chris wants, he says, is to do some good, to make a difference, but is it too late?

The Responder is written by former police officer Tony Schumaker and comes with a convincing air of authenticity. Particularly in the opening episode, Freeman’s portrait of a city copper on the verge has echoes of Training Day, the 2001 movie with Denzel Washington. Just as that drama was deemed a departure for Washington, a walk on the wilder side, so some may see Freeman’s cop as being a long way from lovely Tim in The Office or Bilbo Baggins.

Yet take a look at some of his recent work, from the spiky comedy Breeders and Alan Bennett’s A Chip in the Sugar, to the crime drama A Confession, and The Responder, on which he is credited as a producer, seems an inevitable next step. Even in lighter fare there was depth and edge to Freeman’s characters, be it Watson and his PTSD in Sherlock, or the maddeningly hesitant suitor of Dawn in The Office (which, can you believe, was two decades ago).

Now, if you have a Downton Abbey shaped hole in your life – and who does not? – may we cordially invite you to partake of The Gilded Age (Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW from Tuesday). Created, executive produced and co-written by Julian Fellowes, the fellow behind Downton, it is a lavishly rendered tale of new money clashing with old in late 19th century New York.

A star turn is provided by Christine Baranski, playing snooty grande dame Agnes van Rhijn) with Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) as her spinster sister, Ada. Living near them on Fifth Avenue are the spectacularly rich Russell family. Their wealth deriving from industry, the Russells have everything money can buy except a position in high society.

The link between the two households is recently orphaned Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson), who has come to New York to live with her aunts Agnes and Ada. With headstrong Marian having new fangled ideas about a more equal society built on merit there are bound to be fireworks ahead.

Upstairs and downstairs there are waspish aunts, gossipy servants, haughty butlers, and ambitious ladies and their maids, much like Downton but with American accents. There is even a dog, with Pumpkin the King Charles taking the place of the late, great Isis as the pooch of the piece.

The costumes and settings are fabulous, particularly the Russells’ new mansion, and it is fascinating to see New York take shape as new money floods in.

If you have managed to beat the Covid times and get on a train lately you might have seen the presenter of Great Coastal Railway Journeys (BBC2, Monday-Friday, 6.30pm) on your travels. Red of trouser, orange of bobble hat, windswept countenance, brings back memories of the 1997 General Election? It’s that man Portillo again, and next week he, and his ever more retina-searing wardrobe, is in Scotland.

His five-part, 300-mile journey along the east coast of Scotland starts in Dunbar and takes him to Edinburgh, Stirling, Kirkcaldy (pronounced correctly), St Andrews, then Aberdeen before finishing at Peterhead. Along the way, as is his custom, he takes in the historical sights in the company of the best experts the researchers can find. If they are not around he gives viewers the benefit of his own opinions.

Portillo visited his grandparents in Kirkcaldy most summers, so he knows the area generally. There is still much for him to discover and experience though, from visiting Bass Rock to climbing Arthur’s Seat for the first time. Edinburgh, he coos, is “one of Britain’s most beautiful and distinguished cities”.Much of the praise is delivered while sporting a plaid suit complete with a tie in a luminous blue and green tartan. Splendid.