After a very full-on couple of months in the sporting timetable, and although we can’t fault the broadcaster for its football, tennis and Glasgow coverage it’s good that the Beeb gets back into its stride and reminds us of its reputation for cherry-picking the very best in comedy-drama.
The Friday night slot on BBC1 has been a little on the lacking side for a few weeks now, but with the arrival of this new one-off programme, there’s no better reason to cancel your prior arrangements, pour a glass of your favourite tipple and put your feet up, ready for some good old belly laughs.
The programme centres on DI Walter Gambon (played by the brilliant Adrian Dunbar), a world-weary detective and father to teenager Lily, who, with an answer for everything, manages to keep him on his toes.
While he’s good at his job, he hasn’t quite taken to the technological revolution, and on top of other woes, he’s also facing bankruptcy.
As the story unfolds, the force are shocked to hear of the dramatic death of serving detective Dick Romney, and for Walter, the bad news coincides with the appointment of a new chief superintendent.
Addison (Harry Hadden-Paton) is young and has been fast-tracked, but his first task is to put Walter in charge of taking over the dead officer’s cases - and trying to find an undercover officer, who is apparently so undercover that nobody knows where he is. However, they do suspect he’s lost and alone deep within a drugs gang.
Walter tries to juggle his financial worries and his workload, so it helps that he’s got a helping hand in DC Anne Hopkins (Alexandra Roach) who’s on the case with him.
Between them, they manage to track down the gang, and after interrogating a Greek drug lord, they’re well on the way to finding their man and discovering what really happened between DI Romney and his undercover colleague.
Dunbar (who plays the eponymous role) is no stranger to fictional characters of the police force - he’s well-known for his part as Superintendent Ted Hastings in BBC drama Line of Duty.
Walter is the latest in a long run of successful series for Dunbar. He took up parts in several TV movies, before landing his first major role in My Left Foot, which made industry bigwigs and critics sit up and take note, while theatre credits include That Shaughraun, Real Dreams and The Danton Affair to name a few.
Walter also benefits from the addition of Fonejacker prankster Kayvan Novak to its cast line-up, who will be thrilled to have bagged himself another comedy role, albeit a slightly more toned-down effort than he’s used to.
He explains that comedy has been in his bones since he was young, admitting: “I was definitely that archetypal kind of classroom clown, making fun of the teachers and stuff. It’s just an urge you have really. It’s just kind of an instinct to do that, to be a mimic. It’s your commodity to be popular I guess, or try and be popular.”
WALTER, BBC1, FRIDAY