Get your hair cut, you ’orrible little man! The state of scruffy DS Alan’s barnet in Rules Of The Game (BBC1) is bringing out the sergeant major in me.

Surely, no serving police officer can get away with sporting two feet of greasy hair in a ponytail. I say ‘ponytail’ but DS Alan (Dario Coates) looked more like the back end of Red Rum.

It’s unrealistic and distracting. Basic accuracy in crime dramas is increasingly rare, though.

Sunday night’s Vera saw Brenda Blethyn’s mumsy sleuth quiz a suspect on a firing range while he was practising with a handgun.

The state of scruffy DS Alan’s barnet in Rules Of The Game (pictured) is bringing out the sergeant major in me

Reader Richard Bryant emails to point out she ought to have arrested him on the spot. Private possession of ‘short firearms’ such as automatic pistols is banned in the UK. They are heavily restricted weapons, not toys for target practice.

Even by these lax standards of realism, Rules Of The Game is a strange specimen. Susan Wokoma plays brutally callous DI Eve Preston, called in to investigate a suspicious death.

Office manager Sam (Maxine Peake) has arrived at work to find a corpse in the lobby. Someone — as yet unidentified — has jumped from the second floor . . . or been thrown.

‘Rapes and murders are my thing,’ DI Preston announces. ‘Love ’em. But suicide, that’s tough.’

This aggressive, cynical attitude to suicide is prominent throughout. Drunken team leader Tess fantasises graphically about cutting her wrists on her boss’s desk.

narrator Hugh Bonneville was chortling as he introduced us to one in The Secret Life Of Our Pets (pictured)

narrator Hugh Bonneville was chortling as he introduced us to one in The Secret Life Of Our Pets (pictured)

narrator Hugh Bonneville was chortling as he introduced us to one in The Secret Life Of Our Pets (pictured)

The office banter isn’t so much inappropriate as unprintable. And despite the CCTV cameras, half the staff stay late for sessions of violent sex. Writer Ruth Fowler appears to be violating every boundary of political correctness on purpose.

When new human resources manager Maya (Rakhee Thakrar) makes a tricky courtesy call to a couple with a serious grievance, she’s told: ‘Never seen you before. They normally send that gay bloke.’

In a workplace seething with secrets and feuds, Maya is the only likeable character. She is also a walking jargon generator, who wants to introduce ‘Pyjama Fridays’ and spouts phrases such as: ‘I’m here to listen and to hold space.’

on New Lives In The Wild (pictured), homesteader Bettina made Ben Fogle take off his wellies

on New Lives In The Wild (pictured), homesteader Bettina made Ben Fogle take off his wellies

on New Lives In The Wild (pictured), homesteader Bettina made Ben Fogle take off his wellies

So far, this four-part drama is an unconvincing and sordid fairy tale about one kind-hearted woman who stumbles into a nightmarish world of modern-day ogres and witches. The first episode did feature a cameo from Alison Steadman as the matriarch of the company — hard to please and even harder to fool.

Dirty feet of the week 

In the marshes of Co Mayo, on New Lives In The Wild (C5), homesteader Bettina made Ben Fogle take off his wellies. She wanted him to ‘feel the energy’ of the bog, barefoot. 

Maybe Ben has found a new source of green energy . . . mud power. 

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If her character comes to the fore, Rules Of The Game could pick up. So far, it seems to be unpleasant simply for the sake of being nasty.

The antidote to all nastiness is a fat, cuddly rabbit, and narrator Hugh Bonneville was chortling as he introduced us to one in The Secret Life Of Our Pets (ITV).

Ted the giant French Lop rabbit loves blueberries, weighs more than a stone and works as a therapy pet.

‘It blows my mind how a rabbit can make people so happy,’ said owner Emma, who choked up as she explained that snuggling Ted has helped bring patients back from the brink of depression. Perhaps DI Preston just needs a little rabbit time.

By coincidence, the show also featured a sheepdog-poodle cross who presses buttons with her paws to communicate, and whose name is . . . Bunny. She asks for walkies by tapping the ‘outside’ button. She signals ‘play-love-you’ for games, and once told her owner ‘help-ouch-paw’ when she trod on a thorn.

As if that wasn’t adorable enough, we eavesdropped on the ultrasonic giggles of pet rats getting their tummies tickled. An hour of this cheap and charming show set the world to rights.

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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