The Young Montalbano

Sat Oct 5, 9-10.40pm, BBC4

Series one, episode five
Catarella – dead? No, of course he isn’t. It’s a dream. But young Salvo Montalbano is concerned that it might also be a premonition when his latest case draws him into a world of dodgy construction companies and – yes – even more institutional corruption. When an Albanian bricklayer takes a fatal fall, it looks like a simple case of shoddy safety regulations.

The truth is of course more sinister, opening up a world of xenophobia and homophobia on Montalbano’s doorstep. None of this stops the cheerful incidental music from pootling away throughout, nor Catarella mugging away like an Italian Clouseau. And, while the plotting is consistently baggy and the action sequences still remarkably inept (check out Montalbano’s superhuman leap to foil a crime at the end of tonight’s episode), there’s a perky charm to this series that’s impossible to deny.