WE know from the unfortunate cases of a certain former SNP leader and an ex-Scottish Labour leader how hard it can be for those on the political scrap heap to find new gigs. As of Sunday, it just became a whole lot tougher. Even those who thought they had bagged a nice little number are now vulnerable. That means you, Portillo.

Coastal Railways with Julie Walters (Channel 4, Sunday, 8pm) featured the Brummie actor swanning on and off trains seemingly caring not a jot that she might be doing a well travelled ex-Tory Defence Secretary out of a job. The only comfort, if he was watching (and I bet he was), is that Ms Walters is for now confining her intentions to the UK. In the first of a new series, she took a five day trip from Fort William to Duirinish, and a rare old tear she had too.

Since this was telly, she had to keep disembarking to do things, some of which, such as learning about Britain’s women spies and their training on the Arisaig estate, were more interesting than others. She also got to ride on The Jacobite steam train, aka The Hogwarts Express, which she had never done, despite playing Mrs Weasley in the Harry Potter films.

Walters was certainly more of a laugh than our Michael. Delighted by the Highland coos in Duirinish –“She’s having a sniff of the cameraman. We’ve all done that” – Walters professed herself seduced by the “romance” of Scotland. Whether she would feel the same on a wet Tuesday in February waiting at Partick for the 20.48 to Milngavie, we may never know.

Speaking of long waits at Partick, Witnesses: A Frozen Death (BBC4, Saturday, 9pm) featured the mysterious case of a bus in which all the passengers had been turned into human ice lollies. This was Franco-noir as opposed to Scandi-noir, which made for a nice change, especially when it came to the lead detective. Instead of some beardy male in a puffa jacket the head honcho here could fair rock a leather biker jacket and slimfit jeans. Being a woman, she had kids in tow, and in a childcare emergency she brought the baby to crime scenes. Oh, and she’s a clean freak who cannot bear it when someone fails to use a coaster. What can I say officer, I’m guilty of love in the first degree.

The opening episode had a pleasing whiff of “What the heck is going on?” about it, although the chief suspect is claiming to be suffering from amnesia. I’ll be tuning in again to see if that old chestnut has been filed where it belongs – in the bin.

Given the headline-grabbing goings on in Police Scotland, new documentary series The Force: The Story of Scotland’s Police (BBC1 Scotland, Monday, 9pm) arrived in the nick of time. As the narration by crime novelista Denise Mina reminded us several times, Scotland’s police force is 400 years old, with Caledonia having coppers when Peel was still a lad.

The first film introduced us to the beat patrol, the men and women who make up 80% of the force. There was little in the way of revelation, save for the part when the old hands remembered the “dosses” where they went for a cup of a cup of tea and a natter (aka intelligence gathering). “There was a car showroom you could have a wee nap in,” recalled one fondly. With two films to go, here is hoping someone is busy in the edit suite taking in current events.

There was a cuddlier look at crime in Armchair Detectives (BBC1, Wednesday, 2.15pm). Hosted by Scots comedian Susan Calman, this afternoon game show invited murder mystery enthusiasts to solve a crime in the fictional village of Mortcliff, a place that made Midsomer (last body count 38 million) look positively sleepy.

Back and forth we went from the studio to Mortcliff, gathering up clues like breadcrumbs. Who had a grudge against Hettie the farmer? Were the opening hours of the local museum significant? Did we want to see the forensic report on tyre tracks or a letter from the Crown Office? Choices, choices. What would Columbo do, you could almost hear the contestants thinking. He would have run out the door and, unusually for Columbo, never come back.

Between the obviously low budget – the prize was a golden magnifying glass trophy, no cash – and the Acorn Antiques style acting, I had to pause the credits at the end to check if the show had been an original idea by Victoria Wood. Oh, how she would have loved it. But hey, if it keeps our Susan in a job now that she’s been hoofed off Strictly, all power to its elbow. As Susan shows, where there’s gumption there’s always another TV gig. Take note, Portillo.