Best on the Box highlights for Sunday, January 12th and all the good stuff is on at 8pm so some recording, or +1, may be involved tonight…
ONE TO WATCH: VERA, ITV, STV and UTV at 8pm
Following the success of series nine, award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn returns as DCI Vera Stanhope in the longest running, British made, female-led detective series on ITV.
The tenth series will see the return of Kenny Doughty as Detective Sergeant Aiden Healy, who over the years has proved himself to be a strong and reliable partner to DCI Stanhope. Completing Vera’s team is Jon Morrison who plays DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones who plays DC Mark Edwards, Ibinabo Jack who plays DC Jacqueline Williams and Paul Kaye who returns as Pathologist Dr. Malcolm Donahue.
The four self-contained crime stories are inspired by the best-selling novels and characters created by acclaimed crime writer Ann Cleeves, who received the Diamond Dagger Award at the Crime Writers’ Association in 2017 for a lifetime achievement for sustained excellence.
In this evenings first episode Vera has to unravel the circumstances of self-styled entrepreneur Freddie Gill’s (Jonathan Spencer) death when his body is found by bailiffs attempting to repossess his house. Freddie is estranged from his wife and son – Jade (Charlotte Pyke) and Riley Gill (Josh Barrow) – who are now living back at her family’s beloved pub with her formidable mother Tina Tripp (Marian McLoughlin), volatile brother Lee
(Brian Lonsdale) and taciturn uncle Darren (Barry Aird).
Matters are further complicated when Vera finds out Jade’s father Arthur, having recently succumbed to terminal illness, had secretly been keeping ties with Freddie despite him having been ejected from the family. Vera soon discovers Freddie’s professional life is just as turbulent when she learns the used-car sales company he runs with business partner and lifelong friend Nasir Ali, is failing and it is targeted by an arson attack.
Vera must uncover whether the motive behind Freddie’s death comes from the trouble at the heart of his family, his desperate financial crises or his glances with organised crime.
CALL THE MIDWIFE, BBC ONE at 8pm
Leading up to Mother’s Day, the team must survive Lent and are forced to give up more than just cigarettes and sugar: A thief has been pinching their milk as well.
With some covert spying, Fred (Cliff Parisi) and Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) are able to catch the thief: Glamorous, shop-soiled Tina (Georgia Henshaw), a young woman with chipped nail varnish and layered make-up. She pleads with Sisters Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and Monica Joan, explaining that she’s been stealing milk for her pregnancy.
At the antenatal and baby clinic, Miss Higgins (Georgie Glen) proudly shows off her plant from SGT Woolf (Trevor Cooper), their gentle romance is blooming. However, their harmony is abruptly thrown into jeopardy and Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett) proves herself to be a good friend to both of them.
THE NEW POPE, SKY ATLANTIC at 10pm
Rich, ravishing and gloriously enigmatic; Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino begins his second series set in the world of the modern papacy in his successor to The Young Pope.
Following on from the events of that series, Pius XIII, played by Jude Law, is in a coma, and a new Pope must be found, with Sir John Braddox (John Malkovitch) the most likely candidate.
The Sky Italia/HBO/Canal+ co-production also sees Sharon Stone and Marilyn Manson also join the cast.
GEORGE CLARKE’S OLD HOUSE NEW HOME, CHANNEL 4 at 8pm
George gets to celebrate one of his favourite periods of British architecture when he helps out at an arts and crafts Edwardian terrace house in Addiscombe, south London.
Cookie and Sophia bought their home six months ago. The house was built in 1910 and needed some serious TLC, but was full to the brim with amazing original features, from fireplaces to balustrades and stained-glass windows.
This renovation is a labour of love as the couple set about painstakingly restoring the features by themselves. George visits the wallpaper library of his all-time design hero William Morris, and tries his hand at block printing.
THE SPEED SHOP, BBC TWO at 8pm
This brand-new format follows custom motorcycle builder, Titch Cormack, and his team as they tackle two very different vehicle engineering challenges and follow in the footsteps of ancient military commander Hannibal in a journey across the Alps.
Titch receives a visit from a customer that needs his help – Parachute Regiment soldier Chris recently had his right leg amputated and wants a specially adapted motorcycle, to take on a testing ride across the Alps, in an attempt to prove to himself that: “He can still be the man he used to be.” Having spent ten years in the UK Special Forces, specialising in vehicle mobility, Titch is well used to a tough assignment, taking on Chris’ specific build as well as their first ever car build, a 1965 Hillman Super Minx Estate that they are converting into a surf wagon. However, things don’t go smoothly and both projects push Titch and the team to the limit.