WE’RE IN a golden age for British TV crime dramas after several years of disappointing by-the-numbers cop shows.

Perhaps it’s the influence of multi-layered American police dramas or the invasion of bleak, slow-moving and emotionally complex Scandinavian murder mysteries.

Either way, there’s been a succession of riveting series this last couple of years to combat the tired long-runners like Silent Witness; the first time we’ve been so blessed since the glory days of Cracker, Prime Suspect and Between The Lines.

There are police proceedings with a difference like Line Of Duty, and twist-packed dramas like The Missing: but there’s nothing quite like The Fall.

On paper the first series sounded great – a psychological battle of wills between a serial killer and a detective – and with Allan Cubitt’s script, and the perfect casting of Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson, it was something special.

A second series was obvious, but where do you go once the chase is over and the killer is caught? In surprising directions, shocking but logical, creating a third series that takes a while to get going but becomes just as gripping as the first and second.

The Fall isn’t for everyone – it’s slower than the usual crime drama, requires more effort and is often disturbing. But it easily compares with the best from across both the Atlantic and the North Sea.

David Knights