BRENDA Blethyn returns as the sensible and sturdy detective Vera Stanhope in the seventh series of Vera (STV, 8pm). I’ll give this drama top marks for its location – a lonely island off the coast of Northumbria – but a big cross for its choice of murder victim: a young woman.

It’s tiresome, repetitive and lazy to always reach for pretty girls when you want a dead body on TV.

The victim is Gemma, a wildlife ranger who was working on the rocky island of Ternstone.

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Her body is found washed up on the shore and everyone believes it was a terrible accident until marks are found on the corpse which suggest she may have been murdered.

But she was alone on the island that night, so did someone travel out there across the sea and up the rocky coast to kill her?

There’s a nice hint of The Wicker Man as Vera arrives on the strange island by boat and sees the “locals”, the other rangers and some daytrippers, standing silently on the shore watching her approach.

WE all agreed it was a wise move to cut the presenting team down to three. Top Gear (BBC2, 8pm) needs a snappy, chatty, bantering trio, so trimming off the fat from last season was a step towards recapturing some of its old glory.

However they undo the trio this weekend by bringing back Sabine Schmitz.

She’s undeniably cool – a tough, fearless racing car driver – but her heavy German accent, and perhaps the simple fact of her gender, meant she didn’t gel as a presenter last year on this very blokey show.

Tonight she’s back, and maybe she’ll be more at ease because the show is on her turf, the notorious German race track the Nurburgring, where they try the latest supercars.

Elsewhere, Matt LeBlanc dresses up as James Bond to test the new Aston Martin and is pursued by Chris Harris in a Mercedes.

But I wonder if this new Top Gear will remember it’s a car show and try out some “normal” cars at any point? Surely some fun can be had with a Skoda?