Thrills galore with two new dramas

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You wait for ages for a new crime thriller to arrive, when two come along . . . within days of each other.

That’s the case with the Beeb’s midweek new arrivals, which kick off with The Interceptor (BBC1, Wednesday) about a hi-tech police surveillance unit on the hunt of some of Britain’s most wanted criminals.

It sounds serious stuff, but the dialogue and style suggest that business will be a breeze for the next eight weeks as The Interceptor, aka special agent Marcus Ashton (0-T Fagbenie), heads the goodies going after the baddies.

That’s not the case the following evening with the start of a two-part adaptation of the late Iain Banks’s mystery novel Stonemouth (BBC2, Thursday), which, as readers will know, is not for the fainthearted.

This, the first TV adaptation of Scottish author Banks’s work since his death in 2013, is a rite-of-passage tale delving into love, loyalty and vengeance, focusing on the character of Stewart Gilmour (Christian Cooke from The Promise and Magic City), who returns to the fictional seaport of Stonemouth (it was filmed in the former spa town of Macduff) for his best friend’s funeral.

Stewart - who had been run out of town a couple of years before by girlfriend Ellie Murston’s criminal family - is forced to face up to his own past while uncovering the sinister truth behind his friend’s apparent suicide.

The big-name cast also includes Charlotte Spencer (Line Of Duty) as Ellie Murston and her father Don, the no-nonsense head of Stonemouth’s most notorious criminal family, is played by Peter Mullan (Top Of The Lake) while Sharon Small (Mistresses) plays Don’s wife and Ellie’s mother, Connie, with Gary Lewis (Gangs Of New York, Filth) as local businessman Mike MacAvett, the Murstons’ arch-rival.

Over on ITV, the schedules look a little threadbare after the canine capers that hijacked Britain’s Got Talent. Perhaps next year’s contest could include performing porpoises, juggling giraffes and even the amorous pigeons who make daily checks on the stability of seemingly solid garden fences.

These subjects may, or may not, be up for discussion by comedian Jason Manford who is set to turn his eye to weekly events from the worlds of news, showbiz, culture and sport in It’s a Funny Old Week, which debuts on ITV on Monday.

This four-part series, following the success of three end-of-year specials, puts Jason back in the driving seat as he adds a comic spin to his recap of the news from local headlines to world events.

Stay with ITV until after News at Ten and there’s an all-too-topical and well-researched report in the Exposure series, which seems to make the news each and every day. Jihad: A British Story focuses on a two-year investigation by Emmy Award-winning director Deeyah Khan into the roots of Islamic radicalism in Britain, and features individuals talking in raw, strikingly candid and often emotional terms about the reasons for their involvement in extremism, and in some cases why they came to reject it.