The Fall (BBC Two, Thursday, 9pm) returned to our screens last night: all brooding Belfast skies, Gillian Anderson in exquisitely cut silk shirts and a delectably deranged Jamie Dornan. In case you missed the last season, The Fall is not so much of a whodunit? as a whydonit? and willhedoitagainit?. That is, we know who the killer is from the start – the drama comes from the game of cat and mouse between killer and detective and the unbearable contrast between Dornan’s character, Paul Spector, by day (family man, bereavement counsellor) and his night time shadowy nightmare man incarnation. The fact that he bears more DNA in common with a male model than your stereotypical killer only complicates things for us watching at home. There is the murky backdrop of political tensions and the mesmerising presence of Anderson as DSI Stella Gibson: all clipped control, conspicuous enough to make us wonder what lies beneath the icy veneer. I enjoyed her coolness in dealing with being ambushed by a gang of thugs warning her away from their area. If she felt fear she didn’t show it. There was a moment with a Barbie doll when the show veered momentarily from leaden tension to slightly silly (it can be a very fine line – you are asking viewers to invest so much of their own fears into the viewing that a single discordant note can shatter the illusion) but that is a small criticism of an otherwise gripping show. Poor Rose, whose house Spector has slipped into by the end of the episode. You can’t help but think it won’t end well for her.
My favourite show (The Great Interior Design Challenge, BBC Two, Tuesday-Thursdays, 7pm) has returned, much to my cosy delight. Each episode is a heat featuring three amateur interior designers decorating similar rooms in the same street, with three days and a budget of £1000 to play with. Mostly the results are magical. Sometimes they are troubling. It has unearthed in me a passion for interior design I never knew I had. Perhaps it’s a symptom of getting to the business end of my twenties, but I find it all embarrassingly pleasing: how thoroughly nice host Tom Dyckhoff is and how his passion for architectural history becomes infectious; judge Daniel Hopwood’s languorous campness and his passion for salmon trousers; getting to see rooms transformed with some ingenious design. If you consider yourself a creative, as I do, this is strangely addictive viewing. This week saw the emergence of potential “star quality” in skinny fashionista, Alex, whose New York loft design featured a triangle motif he had even continued, with admirable dedication, to his own russet fringe. Last night’s episode featured an interior design maverick in the form of 22 year old Jack, who utilised a variety of unorthodox techniques such as throwing rocks at a door. He had a nightmarish brief to create an art deco/Celtic/oriental bedroom for a couple who had used an old dirty door as a headboard (no). Somehow he salvaged some chic design touches from that car crash of a brief (the yin and yang inspired shelving) but the room itself was suitably hideous. And yet young Jack went through to the next round. Maybe the judges want to see what eccentric techniques he’ll employ next. The next episode is the first quarter final, staged in Kentish oast houses, and I can’t wait.