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Why Unforgotten is the police procedural with a warm heart

Sanjeev Bhaskar as DI Sunny Khan and Nicola Walker as DCI Cassie Stuart in the new series of ITV's cop drama Unforgotten
Sanjeev Bhaskar as DI Sunny Khan and Nicola Walker as DCI Cassie Stuart in the new series of ITV's cop drama Unforgotten
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It’s been boiling hot hasn’t it? Muggy, close, even tropical on some days. So what do we do? We stay in and watch TV, that’s what. Especially as Unforgotten (ITV, Sundays, 9pm) is back on our screens.

As usual, we open with the discovery of a body – this one buried in the central reservation of the M1.

But it’s all right, here come Cassie (Nicola Walker) and Sunny (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and suddenly everything’s okay. They share a laugh, they’re good at their jobs and they care about the victim.

And that’s what’s so good about Unforgotten, what makes it different from almost every other police drama on TV at the moment.

In Unforgotten, the victim – in this case a teenager identified from a metal plate on her wrist from a holiday accident – and their family become just as important to the drama as the police officers and the suspects.

“Not many children go missing without leaving people behind,” says Cassie. “Somewhere there are parents who have lived in a world of almost unimaginable pain for many years. Let’s give them their child back.”

Watch the trailer for the new series of Unforgotten

Yes, Unforgotten – now in its third series – follows a formula. The body is discovered, and then the investigation is intercut with scenes of the suspects living their lives, until gradually all the storylines come together.

But it is done with such care, and with a terrific cast, that it’s not formulaic. And by now, we care about Cassie and Sunny. Cassie is increasingly on her own, her dad’s love life has improved and her son is in New York, while Sunny has got a new girlfriend.

It doesn’t pretend to be dark and icy. Unforgotten has a warm heart, and even though it’s a heatwave outside, we all need a little warmth inside.

Nadiya’s Family Favourites (BBC2, Mondays, 8pm) is already my favourite food show. Delicious recipes, lovely travelogue bits and Bake-Off winner Nadiya is quite possibly the happiest person on TV.

Least favourite food show is Eat Well For Less? (Thursdays, BBC1, 8pm), in which Gregg Wallace and some other bloke harangue a family for an hour before telling us the blindingly obvious.