RECOMMENDED VIEWING THIS WEEKEND

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The Independent Culture
Coronation Street's Reg Holdsworth may have been banished to Norfolk, but his spirit lives on in Warren Clarke's Detective Superintendent Dalziel, one eponymous half of Dalziel and Pascoe (Sat BBC1), from the books by Reginald Hill.

No, I haven't read them either, but the formula is familiar. Dalziel (pronounced Dee-eel) has been round the block more times than Michael Schumacher, farts and scratches his balls in public - and generally breathes his garlicky breath in the face of life. Pascoe is young, clean-cut and as bright and chipper as Alan Shearer on match day. It's the old cop, rookie cop routine; or - excuse my Porridge - Norman Stanley Fletcher and Godber.

The first story involves a murder at the local rugby club and, being scripted by Alan Plater, is as warm and rounded as a hot, buttered muffin. It's also literate, not to say literary. Always a nice fantasy to believe our boys in blue bandy Shakespeare about.

For those who like their crime for real, Scotland's most notorious serial killer is remembered in Calling Bible John (Sat C4). "Bible John" (he told girls his name was John - don't they all - and was given to quoting the scriptures) operated in the late 1960s. He picked up his female victims at Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom and, if they were found to be menstruating, strangled them with their tights. Andrew O'Hagan's film is actually less about the murders than the effect they had - still have - on the city of Glasgow. Strathclyde police still get people claiming they met "Bible John" on their holidays.

Bookmark (Sat BBC2) visits Rutshire, the Gloucestershire of Jilly Cooper's imagination, as we glimpse Cooper preparing her latest bonkbuster, Appassionata. This is all about the lives and loves of a classical orchestra, and Cooper collates notes on the 84 members of her fictional orchestra in the messiest notebook you have ever seen. Research includes the possibilities of seduction in a conductor's changing room and what lady violinists wear under their dresses. This preoccupation with sex is very 1960s, and Cooper herself comes across as a mildly alarming creature - semi-permanently encamped in a cinema somewhere inside her head, grinning gap-toothed at the world as she assimilates it for material. An author, in other words. Her mother is the real find, an ancient duck with the most marvellously dry and wizened chuckle.

Clive Anderson Is Our Man in... Beirut this week (Sun BBC2), and unkind souls will be wondering if he can follow up last week's arrest by Nigerian secret police with a kidnapping by Islamic fundamentalists. Actually, in this series, Anderson seems to have entirely jettisoned the self-pleased personality that makes you want to see him held in a dark cellar for several years. This is actually a highly informative introduction to post-civil war Beirut.

Is it my imagination, or is Andrew Sachs the actor who gets the call every time a documentary maker wants to spice up his film with a pinch of dramatisation? The two-part Horizon (Sun BBC2) tools up Sachs with a moustache, Professor Calculus haircut and a German accent out of the Heineken ads. He's playing Einstein, and the first film deals with Albert's early life, much of it reassuringly mispent bunking off lectures and hanging around coffee bars. Part two is on the following night, relatively speaking.

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