SUPERHEROES come in strange forms. Take Sergeant Catherine Cawood of Happy Valley (BBC1, Sunday). After a seven-year absence from our screens, a flashback reacquainted us.

“I’m divorced,” said Catherine. “I live with my sister who’s a recovering heroin addict. I’ve two grown-up children, one dead, one who didn’t used to speak to me, and a grandson.”

That, as admirers of Sally Wainwright’s drama know, barely hints at the depths of suffering our Catherine, played by Sarah Lancashire, has known. Behold “Fifty-Something Woman”, battered by life, knackered to her core, but underestimate her at your peril.

The latest to do so were the high heid yins called in when a skeleton with a bullet hole in the skull was found in a reservoir. The pair scoffed at Catherine’s initial observations (“You’ve decided it’s a he, have you? What’s his favourite sandwich?”) only for her to recall in granular detail the victim’s life and criminal times, as drawn from her many years on the beat.

“I’ll leave it to you,” she said, calling her patronising bosses something unpublishable as she walked away. Fifty-Something Woman is back, and this time she’s nearing retirement.

It didn’t take long for Catherine’s kryptonite, the psychopathic Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) to surface and once more worm himself into her life. Wainwright has said this, the third series of the Yorkshire-set drama, is the last. The clock is ticking towards high noon and by eck, it feels like it. The best drama on the box by far.

TV Preview: "The US could have welcomed so many more Jewish refugees so why didn’t it?"

Stonehouse (STV, Monday-Wednesday) had a crime at its centre, being the true story of the crooked MP who faked his own death, but this was an altogether lighter affair. Nobody died, after all, that was the point.

Deftly directed by Jon S Baird, the wonderful Matthew Macfadyen played the Labour rogue with Keeley Hawes as his wife Barbara and Emer Heatley as his lover Sheila.

Macfadyen’s Stonehouse was a blend of Alan Partridge and Roger Moore, a charmer but a plonker too. “You’re the worst spy I have ever come across,” said his Czech handler (Stonehouse always denied the spy claim). The tale was told as a farce but made clear the collateral damage Stonehouse caused, much of it female. There were some lovely touches, such as Stonehouse, facing ruin, finding his childhood journal and dialling the “if found” number, only to hear it was no longer in use. You can’t go home again right enough.

Hairy Bikers Go Local (BBC2, Wednesday) found the duo venturing south of the river Clyde no less. Kudos to both. I once had a coffee in Shawlands. Can’t remember where exactly or with whom, but the fear that I would never find my way home again again haunts me to this day.

Si and Dave were braver. They started off at Julie’s Kopitiam, a small, living room-sized restaurant offering Scots-Malaysian cuisine, and from there to possible suppliers of fish and game.

The mix of cookery programme and travelogue hardly reinvented the wheel but the formula worked, with much of the success due to the hosts seeking out folk as nice as they are. There are no Ramsayesque rants and nonsense with Si and Dave, just tasty, good-looking, achievable food. Plus Dave looks well after his health troubles, so a win all round.

Amanda and Alan’s Italian Job (BBC1, Friday) laid a serious claim to be my winter treat. Amanda Holden has bought a house in the town of Salemi, in Sicily, for one euro under a special regeneration scheme, and has asked Alan Carr to help do it up. It sounds like a spoof, an offshoot from the late and much-lamented Stella Street perhaps, but it’s not.

The place is full of rubble, sodden mattresses and assorted other delights. “This is more than plumping up a few cushions and a lick of paint,” said Alan. We see the pair trying their hand at some tasks, but who are we kidding here? With a project manager and a production team behind them they are hardly your average self-builders. Even so, they are amusing company. For once, the pair seem like genuine pals rather than two celebs thrown together randomly. The finished house will be sold for charity. If that doesn’t seal the deal there’s always the Sicilian sunshine.

Also good for a giggle was Our Flag Means Death (BBC2, Wednesdays). Directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) this kooky – in a good way – comedy is the true-ish story of Stede Bonnet, a 17th century landowner who gave everything up to become the captain of a pirate ship. New Zealand comedy legend Rhys Darby and our own Ewen Bremner play it for very silly laughs and, like a ship’s parrot, succeed. Sorry.