IT is comforting to know in these uncertain Brexit times that there are some things on which one can rely. There may, or may not, be trouble ahead, but while there is moonlight and music and enough fake tan to give Claudia her regulation three coats, there will always be Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, Saturday, 6.15pm) to fill the weekends up to Christmas.

There has been a fair old fuss this year about the fame, or rather lack of it, of the celebrities. While some of the dancers are now more famous than the contestants, a look at previous series shows there was no heyday of wall-to-wall A-listers. The first run had the soprano Lesley Garrett, but it also had Bargain Hunt presenter David Dickinson. In this, the 16th series, I can name three of those taking part: newsreader Kate Silverton, makeover maven Susannah Constantine, and documentary maker Stacey Dooley.

Of more concern is the obvious talent and training of some of the contestants. If Strictly becomes too slick it will lose a lot of its charm. I am pleased to say, however, that reports of no comedy turns this year have been much exaggerated. There are at least three duffers waiting to be roughed up by Craig Revel Horwood. Sean Walsh is useless in a dull, try hard way. Cricketer Graeme Swann is this year’s dad dancer, promising hip swivel aside. But Susannah Constantine looks set to be the real, awful dancer, deal. She is partnered by Anton, who always gets the awkward cases; if Theresa May ever goes on Strictly, she’ll get Anton. As for Constantine, I’ve seen more movement in someone waiting in a queue at the Post Office. “Thank God that’s over,” said the normally optimistic Bruno. Oh, Susannah, bless you.

On seeing Duncan Bannatyne’s name attached to a documentary called The Man Who Charmed the World (BBC2, Tuesday, 9pm), I thought that’s a bit cocky, even for a man of 69 still given to wearing bum-freezer leather jackets. But the subject turned out to be Sir Thomas Lipton of tea and grocery store fame. The former Dragons’ Den judge was merely the presenter.

It was a fascinating tale of an ascent from the Gorbals to Manhattan and racing in the America’s Cup. Bannatyne told it using the tried and tested method of travelling to places and talking to historians, which can be tedious if you don’t find the right bod. Sometimes they did, other times not.

As a presenter, Bannatyne was given to a lot of chin stroking and gesticulating. Hardly a natural, but not terrible either. What was more disappointing was his strictly business approach to Lipton’s story. There were barely any personal details, and nothing about where all his money went after he died. As a result Lipton barely came alive to the viewer, making for a long hour. If you are going to tell a story, make it the whole one.

Manson: The Lost Tapes (STV, Thursday, 9pm) had quite the history to relate. In their day, the murders in LA of Sharon Tate and five others, including her unborn baby, attracted worldwide publicity. Among the many books and movies about the cult leader was a 1973 documentary that featured footage of filmmaker Robert Hendrickson interviewing some of Manson’s “family” of followers after the murders. It had been thought all the tapes had been seen, but when Hendrickson died last year a new cache was discovered.

The mostly young women interviewees were chilling in their dead-eyed devotion to Manson, who came across as a psychopath and abuser who liked to dole out drugs while himself staying relatively sober so he could control events.

Where the programme came into its own was in finding former cult members and showing them the tapes. “We just bought it,” said one of Manson’s rantings about his own greatness. “Then you add a lot of LSD…” As the first part ended (second and final part this Thursday), Manson was just beginning to talk about murder in the Hollywood hills.

In the new Swedish thriller Alex (Channel 4, 11.05pm), the maverick cop genre descends to new depths. Alex (played by Dragomir Mrsic) began the first hour snorting cocaine, taking a bribe from a Mr Big, and then shooting his partner dead by mistake.

Although Alex presents himself to his colleagues as a squeaky clean, happily married father, one of his superiors suspects him of lying about his partner’s death, and assigns him a new partner to find proof. She turns out to be a former lover, and her current amour is Alex’s therapist. Enjoyably tangled, as per, but nastiness at the end of the first episode stuck in the craw. Not enough to prevent another visit, but I shall be proceeding with caution in best Dixon of Dock Green fashion. Evenin’ all.