One of the lovable kinks in the Only Connect format is the bit where Victoria Coren Mitchell welcomes the two teams and recites some trivial claim to fame for each contestant. But even by the usual standards (which are splendidly low), tonight’s introduction of the Escapologists’ captain Lydia as someone “who once came third in a competition requiring her to guess the weight of a nun on a bicycle” is pretty thin.
The Escapologists’ opponents are the Eco-warriors, who lower expectations by revealing that they had applied for the show five times and auditioned three times before being accepted. So they must be a bit underpowered, then? Not a bit of it: “That is amazing quizzing!” coos Coren Mitchell as they nail another three-pointer in the early rounds.
Meanwhile, we learn what a minyan is and the true requirements of a baker’s dozen…
So, you make a drama about a forensic psychologist. But of course he must have a quirk, something that marks him out of the ordinary. Let’s give him extreme OCD (like Monk, remember him?) and possibly a place on the autistic spectrum. Then he can help the hopelessly incompetent police to investigate a series of rapes.
This oddity is Belgian and has a strangely jarring tone – it’s self-consciously jaunty, and has a soundtrack packed with moody torch songs and jazzy ballads and a central character, Professor Jasper Teerlinck, who has dreamy flashbacks and sits on his roof to think.
The central story in the first episode involves a balaclava-clad rapist who’s attacking young women in a university hall of residence. The investigation is nominally led by the scruffy, greasy-haired Inspector Annelies Donckers (Ella Leyers). But she can’t manage without the Prof.
The remaining four celebrities – we won’t spoil your enjoyment by revealing who they are – have a lot of challenges to get through if they’re to progress. Their knowledge and skills range from “pretty good to pretty ropey”, so John Torode has every reason to be nervous about the mass catering test.
As time starts to run out, the tension in the kitchen rises like steam. “Don’t you worry about the burritos,” reassures one celeb airily, while her team-mate grimaces to the camera, “Yes, but we’ve still got to do the fish and our rice and our dessert!”
However, it’s when they have to cook for former winners (Emma Kennedy, Ade Edmondson and Phil Vickery – all good value) that some talent starts to shine through. “A work of genius” is how they describe one dish.
It’s not the place to start if you’re unfamiliar with Netflix’s Marvel shows – the solo outings of Jessica Jones and Daredevil are still best – but this long-awaited team-up of those two heroes with Luke Cage and Iron Fist has enough fan-pleasing moments to reward aficionado’s patience.
9pm, Sony Channel
This hilarious tale of criminal incompetence and transatlantic eccentricity is easily John Cleese’s finest achievement since Fawlty Towers. He excels as the uptight London barrister who becomes the dupe of scheming American thief Jamie Lee Curtis and her doltishly macho lover, Kevin Kline. But Cleese must share the credit for the film’s international success with Charles Crichton, who, as the director of The Lavender Hill Mob, was the perfect choice for this sparkling blend of Ealing and Monty Python. Every piece of verbal or physical humour is a model of timing and restraint, whether it’s Cleese’s Russian-spouting striptease or the Oscar-winning Kline’s merciless persecution of stuttering sidekick Michael Palin. This sparkling comedy also has an underlying darkness that recalls the work of Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder. And praise doesn’t come much higher than that.