What we're watching on TV

Parminder Nagra as DI Rachita Ray and  Maanuv Thiara as PS Tony Khatri in DI Ray 

Parminder Nagra as DI Rachita Ray and Maanuv Thiara as PS Tony Khatri in DI Ray - Credit: ITV

DI Ray, all episodes streaming now on ITV Hub 

Screenwriter and actress Maya Sondhi and Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio team up and give the police procedural a fresh new perspective in ITV’s new four-parter DI Ray. 

Parminder Nagra (Bend It Like Beckham, ER) plays the titular DI Rachita Ray – a Leicester born police officer, working in Birmingham.  

She gets promoted to the homicide division when she comes to the attention of the top brass after bravely unarming a man wielding a knife in the street.  

But racism is everywhere.  

In a shop it is assumed she is an assistant rather than a customer.  

On her first day in her new job, the receptionist gives her that lanyard of another Asian person.  

Most Read

And when she’s told the murder to which she’s been assigned is a ‘Culturally Specific Homicide’ Rachita suspects that she’s a ‘token appointment’, chosen for her ethnicity, rather than her ability.  

DI Ray is determined to prove herself, call out the biases of her colleagues and crack the case.  

And it soon transpires that this is no ordinary murder case.  

It’s going to take her deep into Birmingham’s murky underworld and the dangerous world of organised crime. 

The investigation also leads to the revelation that she’s been burying a personal conflict between her British identity and her South Asian heritage her whole life. 

Replete with those signature touches of Mercurio magic – the twists, the cliff-hangers and the shouts of “armed police!” - it’s a thrilling, timely and thought-provoking watch. 

Emma Lee 

Lee Mack, host of The 1% club

Lee Mack, host of The 1% club - Credit: ITV/Magnum Media Photographer

The 1% Club, Saturdays, 8.30pm, ITV 

I have a bit of an addiction to TV game shows. Unfortunately, the likes of Pointless and The Chase are on the box while I’m working, so are usually relegated to being hotel room fodder. 

Imagine how delighted I was when ITV introduced The 1% Club last month – and in a prime time Saturday night slot too? 

Admittedly, I didn’t really know much about it until I saw a clip via Gogglebox. That was enough to get me hooked. 

Because it is gripping. And engaging. This is Who Wants to Be a Millionaire for the modern age. Something everyone at home can participate in...and shout at. 

And shout I did last weekend, when my mate Jo and I put our grey matter to the test, seeing how far we could progress on the show. 

The premise is this. Cheeky chappy presenter Lee Mack (box ticked) is surrounded by 100 members of the public, who are asked to answer questions of increasing difficulty. If they get an answer right, they go onto the next round. Get it wrong and their £1,000 stake in the game gets added to the prize pot. Whoever's left at the end can take the money they’ve accumulated through the rounds home, or play for big money. 

The 100 to 50 per cent questions are almost ridiculously easy – how on earth did a woman the other week not select a polar bear in the desert as being the odd one out from a line-up of animals in their habitats? 

The closer the participants, and viewers at home, get to the harder questions (the ones that only a few per cent of those surveyed across the country could answer), the trickier they become. Remember doing IQ tests at school? This is what you’re up against. 

Naturally I dined out on getting last weekend’s one per cent question correct...let’s set aside fact I couldn’t get my non-maths head around why the bat cost £1 more than the ball in one of the easier rounds! 

This is good, clean, family quizzing fun. Here’s hoping they commission another series. 

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis 

Russian Doll. Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov in episode 201 of Russian Doll. Cr. Courtesy of Netfl

Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov in Russian Doll - Credit: COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Russian Doll, season 2 (and 1) streaming now on Netflix 

Before you watch this series, clear your head. You need to be mentally alert to absorb every facet, every rabbit hole within the clever dramedy, penned and created by American Pie alumni Natasha Lyonne. 

Despite bags of wit and thinly veiled comedy, Russian Doll is dark – both in matter and visually. It's not an easy watcher to fall in front of with a bag of Doritos (you’ve got Bridgerton for that). 

Let’s wind back to season one, which you probably should watch if you stand a chance in hell of deciphering what’s going on this time around. 

Lyonne is smoky-voiced, edgy New Yorker Nadia. On the eve of her 36th birthday, she meets a tragic end. Or does she? Because, Groundhog Day-style, she wakes up the very next day and everything’s the same. Literally the same. From the conversations she has, to her birthday party antics. At first it feels like a strange dystopian dream – Nadia dying a more imaginative death each time around. And then there’s a realisation. She’s actually trapped in a real-life nightmare. Nadia’s path crosses with Alan (Charlie Bennett) who’s having exactly the same existential crisis. You’ll have to watch to see what happens next. 

Moving swiftly onto season two, and things take an even stranger turn. Having deposited Ruth (the closest thing she’s got to family) off at the local hospital, Nadia hops on a train...and winds up back in the 80s. 

Turns out the universe isn’t quite done messing with her yet. It’s complicated stuff (get your notepad ready) with Nadia literally embodying her mother (Chloe Sevigny), and later on her grandmother, in a bid to set the family affairs in order. And Alan gets in on the action too, finding himself in post-war Berlin. 

Despite being a bit (read a lot) of a head scratcher at times, there’s no denying the utter brilliance of Lyonne and the universe she’s created.  

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis