Aidan Smith's TV week: Succession (Sky Atlantic), Walk the Line (ITV), Walking with ... Jim Moir (BBC2)

It is, by this show’s standards, truly shocking. Like the Jackanory narrator looking up from the Christmas story and saying: “Of course, children, that fat man in the red suit with the white beard - he isn’t real, you know … ”

Succession's Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is under siege ... from his own children
Succession's Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is under siege ... from his own children

What could be more alarming than that? How about Succession’s Kendall, Shiv and Roman being nice to each other? Specifically, supportive. Demonstrating sympathy and empathy. This actually happens in the season three finale on Sky Atlantic, down by the wheelie-bins of the Tuscan castle where their mother is, in Roman’s words, “getting remarried to a bowl of porridge”.

This brilliant black comedy is normally powered by the jostling and bickering of the Roy progeny, as they jab each other with their silver spoons and wish that these were forks. Who is going to succeed their media monster father Logan (Brian Cox)? Me! Me! No, you s***s … me! But, look, Kendall is unburdening the guilt over the car-crash death he’s carried from season one and Shiv is patting him on the head!

There’s more: little bro is actually putting an arm around Kendall’s shoulder! “Who hasn’t clipped the odd kid with a Porsche?” proffers Roman, which is just about the tenderest thing he’s ever said. “It’s like a rite of passage.”

Gary Barlow and fellow judges invite singing hopefuls to Walk the Line

So what about if they join forces against the old bugger? Roman again: “I do think that even though this literally makes me want to vomit .... and I want to kill you both every day and it’s all going to end horribly … I do think that we - puke! - could make a pretty good team.”

Of more concern to the three than their mother remarrying is Logan shagging his PA Kerry who’s been filling his smoothies with maca root, walnuts and almonds. This can only mean one thing: “Dad’s putting together a more adhesive and potent gloop … he’s scrambling the fighters … he’s cranking up the trebuchet.” He wants to become a father again - with a woman half a century his junior.


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Another Roy offspring? That should keep Succession going for 19 more series at least (bring ’em on). Meanwhile, can Kendall, Shiv and Roman stop Logan selling Waystar to a tech company? “How do we feel about killing Dad?” wonders Shiv. “Pass me the shotgun,” replies Kendall.

But - spoiler alert - Logan has been tipped off. He’s persuaded his ex-wife to change the divorce settlement, blindsiding the brats. Shiv: “We’ve just walked in on Mum and Dad f*****g us.” Logan tells them their guns have “turned to sausages”. Pathetically, Kendall wonders what happened to “love”. (Which show does he think this is? The Waltons?). Logan throws them out - “Nosey f*****g pedestrians!”

Jim Moir, aka Vic Reeves, is knocked out by brutalist architecture

A Simon Cowell star search without Simon Cowell is like Succession without Brian Cox. On Walk the Line (ITV) I need to see Cowell mince up the show’s runway with his high-waisted breeks and plunging neckline. But he’s not one of the judges this time as singing hopefuls compete for a prize of £500,000. The drama comes when the contenders take a walk. If the floor turns gold then the edition winners have successfully backed themselves against the next round’s hopefuls in the audience vote and so stay in the competition.

A girl who reminds me of Duffy wins the opening night. She then channels Adele to see off a bloke who reminds me of Rag ’n’ Bone Man, then she sees off a group who remind me of Mumford & Sons. And so on and so on. The performers are all of a decent standard. There are no nutters carrying poly bags so the Walk the Line has none of the bloodlust of Ancient Rome which turned The X Factor into a light-entertainment leviathan.

Reality shows could be theatres of cruelty; that’s not allowed anymore. But have they become, well, a bit boring? The judges - Gary Barlow, Alesha Dickson, Craig David and Dawn French - offer kind, instructive advice, which must be great for the contestants, but I don’t think we’re ever going to see this panel fall out with each other, which was another reason for watching The X Factor. But I’ve got an idea: why doesn’t Cowell draft in Kendall, Shiv and Roman?


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Unconvinced by Walk the Line, I’m very much up for Walking with … Jim Moir (BBC2). “I’ve been a walker since I could, er, walk,” he declares. “A nosey parker who likes looking at things, which is the best ever. They should probably teach it at school.”

For his celebrity stroll Moir - aka Vic Reeves - takes us along a stretch of the Kent coast - a “wonderful, strange place” - and finishes up at the Dungeness power station which is certainly strange but also in his eyes wonderful. “A nuclear Camelot,” he gasps. “I love brutalist architecture.”

Moir explains how, exactly a year ago as a consequence of a benign tumor, he lost hearing in his left ear. This must be a blow for a huge rock fan who once told me the first thing he’d rush to save from his home if it was on fire would be his Free Live! LP. He also introduced me to the band Wolf People for which I’ll always be grateful.

Still, further along the coast he can hear the echoes in some equally brutalist sound mirrors - forerunners of radar. And he reckons he loves, possibly more than anything, the racket made by playing children - “It’s the sound of greatness.”

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