Back to 70s in new spy thriller

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Where were Apprentice heavyweights Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford when Mansfield Railway Station was closed?

That’s one of the questions that goes unanswered in The Trouble With Our Trains tonight on BBC2.

Mansfield’s rail service was axed in 1964, but re-connected in 1995 as the Robin Hood Line, with the line being extended to Worksop in 1998. The legacy of the Beeching cuts in the 1960s and the Tories’ privatisation of British Rail in 1996 is investigated by the former The Apprentice duo who catch up with commuters and bosses to see whether after all these upheavals, the service is on track, on time and on the ticket for its millions of passengers.

For those still on a roll to get out about, then grab a seat with Peter Kay’s Car Share (BBC1, Wednesday/ Thursday), which gets into gear with a double episode on a six-part company car share journey complete with some laughs along the way.

If bus travel’s more your style then get onboard, preferably on the top deck and with your seat belt on, as would-be drivers take to the crowded streets of London for a final spin of Double Decker Driving School (ITV1, Thursday).

Once you’ve got off the bus, you’ve got the chance to go back in time - either to join Inspector George Gently (BBC1, tonight) as he, and his long-haired sidekick Sgt Bacchus, open the crime casebook for a seventh series, or get caught up in espionage at the highest level in the 1970s era spy drama The Game (BBC2, Thursday).

Set in London, but filmed in Birmingham, this six-parter stars Brian Cox as MI5 boss ‘Daddy’ whose team uncover a deadly Soviet plot designed to bring Britain to its knees.

But the Brits hope they are ahead of the game and set up a secret committee headed by lead agent Joe Lambe (Tom Hughes from Silk and Dancing on the Edge) to hunt down sleeper KGB spies before they can strike.

ITV1 moves the time frame back a little further as the backdrop to Home Fires (Sunday), a new, six-part drama following a group of women in rural Cheshire as the shadow of World War II casts a dark shadow over their lives.

The series, filmed in and around Bunbury, is adapted from author and historian Julie Summers’ book Jambusters about the Women’s Institute during the war years, and sees the women banding together as Great Paxford WI and keeping village life going while husbands, fathers, sons and brothers are called up on active service.

Francesca Annis and Samantha Bond lead an impressive ensemble cast including Ruth Gemmell (Utopia), Mark Bonnar (Line of Duty), Claire Rushbrook (Collision) and Mark Bazeley (The Suspicions of Mr Whicher).

It’s not all retro on TV as can be seen in Sky Living’s 22-part political drama Madam Secretary (Thursday) in which a former CIA analyst (Tea Leoni) is jolted out of semi-retirement to become US Secretary of State, a post riddled with crises and conspiracies at every turn.