A BABY’S first words say so much about what, or who, is most important in their little lives. This was one of many things viewers learned from the first instalment of the three part documentary Babies: Their Wonderful World (BBC2, Monday, 9pm).

What, then, would the wee ones plump for? Dada figured a lot, as did mama, and then came Peppa. It’s official: Peppa Pig’s world domination is complete.

Presented by paediatrician Dr Guddi Singh, Babies was billed as “one of the most ambitious scientific studies of babies ever attempted”. The programme makers had gone to the trouble of building a “baby lab” which was not as scary as it sounds, being more village hall with lots of cushions and toys than some temple to high-tech. In and out the experts trooped, each with a test to show how babies develop their character and personalities.

Did you know that ankle-biters, like adults, fit into three personality types: excitable, calm, and cautious? Other fun findings from the survey of 200 babies included who says sorry most often (children in Scotland and the south west of England), and today’s dads do more housework and childcare than 20 years ago (toddlers were as likely to match a toy vacuum to a daddy toy as a mummy one).

Despite the presence of wall to wall cutey pies, this had to be the most terrifying programme of 2018. Such tiny minds, yet such powerful sponges, absorbing everything that came their way. The weight of responsibility would be enough to keep any new parent awake at night, but then they are up anyway, so no harm done.

It was a lot to take in over an hour, so those same mewling, sleep-deprived, befuddled new parents might want to catch it on iPlayer. You're welcome.

Mrs Wilson (BBC1, Tuesday, 9pm) was not having an easy time of it either. The problem was not her sons, both old enough to take care of themselves, or the fact that her writer husband Alec (Iain Glen) had just died. She had lived through the war, had Mrs Wilson (played by Ruth Wilson); her middle name was resilience. Her first name was Alison, further proof of her tough old bird status.

No, the trouble with Mrs Wilson was all the new things she was suddenly finding out about Alec. Between night callers at her door and mysterious acquaintances of her husband popping up to introduce themselves, Mrs Wilson did not know if she was coming or going. She turned to Coleman (Fiona Shaw), who used to be her boss in the intelligence service where she first met Alec, but she was giving nothing away.

The period detail is impeccable, from wartime to 1960s suburbia. Ruth Wilson, compelling as ever, knows the story well, as it came from her own family. The rest of us will have the pleasure of finding out more over the next fortnight. Great to see Fiona Shaw, seen recently in Killing Eve, so busy on TV this year. Every drama should have a part for Shaw.

More delicious intrigue in Death and Nightingales (BBC2, Wednesday, 9pm). This time the setting was Ulster, 1885, and the estate of William Winters. Living there with Winters was his step-daughter, Beth, who longed to escape the place now that her mother had gone. Beth (Ann Skelly) was a passionate sort, her favourite poet being Keats, who writes of “death and nightingales”. Thus far in her life, she has had nowhere to direct her passion, until the day a tenant farmer (Jamie Dornan, Fifty Shades of Grey) comes looking for help to pull a pony out of a ditch (it’s surprising how many epic romances begin this way).

Death and Nightingales is set over 24 hours. A simple enough time frame, but a flashback, or rather flash forward at the beginning led to some initial confusion. Matters got back on track and by the end the drama was nicely poised to plunge further into darkness.

With his mate Holly off filming some obscure jungle show or other, This Morning’s Phillip Schofield whiled away the time with How to Spend it Well at Christmas (STV, Tuesday, 8pm). Phil’s mission, and boy, has he chosen to accept it, is to guide you through the aisles of so-so presents towards the good stuff. This week it was toys.

Schofield is in his element with this type of light but informative consumer journalism. Through him we learned that unicorns are big again this year, with their ranks including Poopsie the Unicorn, who produces glittery stools. Not to be outdone, Mystery Mao the interactive cat, read minds. Poor Barbie and Ken, having to compete with this lot.

Phil was underwhelmed by Rollie My Kissing Puppy for its limited range of actions. “Lovable,” said Phil, “but does it do anything else?”Aw, I think he’s missing Holly.