WHEN the TV adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy appeared in 1979 it was judged unsurpassable in its field. Alec Guinness as George Smiley? Only a fool would try to match that.

Then came the 2011 film with Gary Oldman, and spy tale traditionalists wobbled. Ditto BBC1’s The Night Manager five years later, with Tom Hiddleston’s BTM as its USP. I hear good things about Slow Horses (Disney+), which I’m saving till the sad day I finish the novels.

In short, the competition in spy dramas is intense. Given this, ITVX, the new streaming service that replaces ITV Hub, was taking a chance having A Spy Among Friends as its curtain raiser. From a minute in, however, it was clear everything was going to be all right on the opening night.

Set in the world of posh chaps who swear in a devilishly attractive fashion, A Spy Among Friends starred Damian Lewis as Nicholas Elliott, sent to Beirut to sort out the problem of his old pal and fellow MI6 agent Kim Philby (Guy Pearce). When Philby defected to Russia there were questions to be answered back in London, and MI5’s Lily Thomas (Anna Maxwell Martin) was the steely Durham rose doing the asking.

The cast was superb and the script by Alexander Cary (Homeland) from the book by Ben Macintyre, top drawer. “I’m not a traitor,” said an affronted Philby to his Russian handler. “I’ve been loyal to Marxism and to the Soviet Union my entire adult life.” It was the movie quality production, though, that lingered longest. From post-war Beirut to grim old London, you could almost smell the money spent.

I cannot have been alone in approaching My Dead Body (Channel 4, Monday) with trepidation. The body in question was that of Toni Crews, who died of cancer at age 30. Toni was a daughter, a mother, a sister, a friend – and the first person in the UK to agree to a public dissection, in her case before 1000 medical students, and now viewers.

It was essential to her dignity, and the film’s standing, that her life was as much in focus as her death, and so it turned out. Toni’s voice was recreated with AI and her words taken from her diary and social media posts.

In charge of the dissection was Professor Claire Smith, head of anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. The sights and sounds of the procedure were at times hard to bear, but the tone set by Smith and her team throughout was respectful and caring.

As Tori had intended, the donation of her body to science will help millions worldwide gain a better understanding of the disease. This was history-making television, but first and last it was the story of a truly admirable young woman.

Agatha Christie: Lucy Worsley on the Mystery Queen (BBC2, Friday) arrived at its third and final part (all available on iPlayer). While the story of Christie’s later life, dealing with fame and finding happiness, was as moreish as the rest, the high point of the series remains the second part, dealing with the novelist’s disappearance. Worsley’s theory, that it was adversity that made Christie a great writer, was hardly novel but it was delivered with the historian’s trademark perceptiveness. The scene at Christie’s graveside was Worsley at her heart on sleeve best. It might seem sometimes as though she is on the telly more often than the average weather presenter, but I’ve yet to see her deliver a duff film, so carry on dear.

If you thought the bickering estate agents in Selling Sunset (Netflix) were breathtakingly shallow, wait till you meet the city’s primo celebrity hair stylists in Blowing LA (Channel 5, Thursday, full series available to stream on Paramount+).

Glossing quickly over the title, this was the reality TV take on Ted Gibson, self-dubbed most famous hairdresser in the world (never heard of him), Kim Vo, “the best blonder in the business”, their partners, staff, and clients.

There were no cheap and cheery salons here called Curl Up and Dye or A Trim Up North (Coronation Street). This was Hollywood, a world in which you can pay $2,400 (plus tip) for a haircut, where stylists are “hair therapists”, receptionists are “client co-ordinators”, and everyone loves each other – until they fall out in spectacular fashion.

It is fall of the Roman empire stuff, but there’s fun to be had now that the introductions have been made and everyone can get on with being annoyed at each other for the most trivial of reasons. Don’t worry if you can feel your brain cells dying while you watch. Like hair, they grow back. Don’t they?