Alison Rowat's TV preview: Code 404; Vicky Pattison: Alcohol, Dad and Me; Worst House on The Street

John and Vicky Pattison in Vicky Pattison: Alcohol, Dad and Me. PA Photo/Channel 4
John and Vicky Pattison in Vicky Pattison: Alcohol, Dad and Me. PA Photo/Channel 4

FROM playing a skinhead thug in This is England to a prison officer under pressure in Time, Stephen Graham’s finest roles are not at the sunshine and lollipops end of the business.

So it was good to see him cast in Code 404 (Sky Comedy, Thursday 9pm/9.30pm). Bit of a change for the lad. Chance to kick back, have a few laughs. Yet I bet it is torture. Graham, you see, is playing the straight man in one of the silliest, and best, comedies around. The effort it must take not to laugh when the cameras are rolling is nothing less than heroic. No matter what is thrown at him, by Mays especially, Graham somehow manages to contain himself.

Graham plays DI Ray Carver and Mays is DI John Major. Just your average crime fighting partnership, until the day Major is killed in the line of duty, only to be brought back to life as a sort of half man/half robot.

As you can imagine this has taken some getting used to, and mishaps have occurred. Which is why, when we meet the pair at the start of the third series, they are once again on restricted duties, in this case giving a talk to a primary school class about being a police officer. “You got guns mate?” one of the little angels asks Carver.

It does not help that both are in love with the same woman, criminal psychologist Kelly (Anna Maxwell Martin), who used to be married to Major but dated Carver when they thought Major was dead. Keeping up?

Code 404 has been criticised for not knowing when to stop a gag, but for some that is part of the fun. It takes a special sort of comedy gift, think the Marx Brothers or Partridge, to keep pushing till the viewer is on the edge of hysterics. All concerned here, from cast to writer Daniel Peak, have it.

At the beginning of Vicky Pattison: Alcohol, Dad and Me (Channel 4, Tuesday, 10pm), the former Geordie Shore regular says she does not think she is an alcoholic, but she does have a problem with alcohol.

Her dad, now he is an alcoholic, but he refers to his addiction in the past tense though it remains a problem in the present.

As Pattison says of her relationship with alcohol, it’s complicated. Her hard partying got her a break in television, where she has since made her career. Yet before making this documentary she had never watched herself on Geordie Shore. When she does she is shocked.

Ten years on she admits to still loving a drink but now there are other considerations, including having children one day. She wants to be the sort of social drinker that can stop after a few, instead of an aggressive drunk that does not know when to go home. Sorting her own future begins, she believes, with sorting dad’s.

So begins a round of interviews with her dad, her mum (separated), and visits to various specialists. Pattison and her dad, to their immense credit, put themselves out there knowing that some viewers will inevitably judge.

At times you wonder if the pair themselves fully accept they are dealing with a disease. In that respect it is the meeting between Vicky and two other adult children of alcoholics that proves to be the most illuminating.

A difficult subject sensitively handled, by the end you can only wish them well.

Anyone who saw Scarlette and Stuart Douglas taking on the role of judges in Flipping Fast, the George Clarke-led Channel 4 competition to buy, fix, and sell properties at a profit, will know the brother and sister property developers deserve a programme of their own, and here it is.

Worst House on the Street (Channel 4, Tuesday, 8pm) does pretty much what it says on the 5 litre tin of magnolia. Each week, budding property developers go in search of a fixer-upper in a good location to turn into a home. They are after the sort of house that would give most buyers, especially first time ones, the heebie-jeebies, but for the brave and budget-minded this is an opportunity.

The first in a series of six episodes follows a couple’s attempts to turn a terraced house in Croydon into their dream home.

The job of Scarlette and Stuart is to be on hand with advice on how to get the biggest bang for your buck, what is worth doing, and what is not.

There’s a lot of emphasis on staying within budget. More than 70% of renovations go over, according to research for the series. I’d have thought it was more than that, but maybe the message from Grand Designs, George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, Kirstie and Phil’s Love it or List It, and all such shows, is getting through at last.

We shall all of course be there when England take on Germany in the Women's Euro 2022 final (BBC1, Sunday, kick-off 5pm). Who you support is up to you ...