HOW do you go from politics to freaking dancing? It is not a question that was ever directed at Gladstone, Pitt the Younger or any of the other illustrious holders of the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer, a post Ed Balls once looked destined to fill. But the query was raised by one interviewee during the documentary Travels in Trumpland with Ed Balls (BBC2, Sunday, 9pm).

Balls had already supplied the answer in opening scenes from the 2015 General Election showing the voters booting their Labour MP out of office. From there, Balls took the yellow brick road to Strictly Come Dancing. Ten notorious weeks later, a new politics to telly star was born. But which kind will he be? A crash and burn Robert Kilroy-Silk, or a super soaraway Portillo, licensed to travel the world in bright trews?

One episode of three in, it is hard to tell. Balls could not decide if he wanted to be the clever chap who was once a Kennedy scholar at Harvard, or a prize chump. Mostly, he plumped for the latter. Speaking of plump, it was soon clear that any weight Balls lost in the heat of Strictly had not stayed off. His Pooh belly was much in evidence when he donned a Union Jack-emblazoned leotard and took to the wrestling ring. Before doing so he FaceTimed his wife, the Labour MP Yvette Cooper. “There’s something about the flag that accentuates your belly,” she replied supportively. A nation tittered. Even funnier was the moment he adopted the wrestling persona of “The British Bruiser” and came in waving like the Queen. Bonkers, as Pitt the Younger never said.

When he wasn’t playing the innocent fool abroad, Balls asked some decent questions and, importantly, listened to the answers, not always a given with celebrity reporters. In doing so he shone a light on an America of blue collar workers, veterans (one of whom asked about Strictly) and others who had felt left behind in the Obama era.

Balls is still trying to settle on an interviewing style. At the moment he is all golly gosh, hugs, and the occasional tear, which could turn out to be endearing or infuriating. Either way, TV has claimed him. Watch out, Mr Portillo.

Here’s another question. Is there a factory in the north of England that churns out plucky, big-hearted women much given to shouting and being wronged by men? If so, it must have been working overtime lately because Age Before Beauty (BBC1, Tuesday, 9pm) was hoaching with them. Set in a family run salon in Manchester, the tale of tested loyalties is written by Poldark’s Debbie Horsfield. There was no scything going on, but plenty of plucking, blow drying, tanning, etc. And shouting. Lots of shouting, and that was before one of the husbands was found to have strayed. What seemed a tiresomely familiar tale was cleverly, if a touch convolutedly, turned on its head part way through, which bodes well for the next five instalments. But do please KEEP IT DOWN ladies; you are frightening the horses in the Outer Hebrides.

There was more family drama to be had, albeit in grander style, in Succession (Sky Atlantic, Thursday, 9pm). Succession starred oor ain Brian Cox as Logan Roy, a Dundee-born, now New York-based media mogul. Logan is meant to be turning over the business to his first born, but changes his mind at the last minute. It is a monstrous act, but par for the course in this crowd. One episode in and everything about the series bellows money. Written by Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show) and produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman), Cox is superb as daddy dearest. As to any resemblance between Logan and actual persons living or dead … best keep it to yourself. Wicked fun.

Last question, promise. Who does Mark Kermode think he is? Coming into our living rooms with his Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema (BBC4, Tuesday, 9pm), a five-part series that could have gone to some poor, starving, blonde, Glaswegian TV critic who takes in film reviewing and washing on the side? How dare he, with chief writer Kim Newman, take film fans on a lucid, funny, fascinating, trip through the various genres, using perfectly chosen clips to show how each works?

This week it was coming of age films, with the Quiffed One ranging from The 400 Blows to Gregory’s Girl to Kes and Moonlight, all without missing a beat.

While 30 minutes rather than an hour would have done the trick, Kermode without the Mayo is a moreish treat, the kind of film show that makes you want to immediately watch your favourites again and seek out the recommended new stuff. All in, a five star treat.

The swine.