AT CERTAIN points of the year television works as a calendar of sorts. When I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! (STV, nightly) comes along, for example, it is time to start thinking about Christmas presents. After resolving to buy everyone vouchers, again, the next item on the to do list appears: ponder if I should continue watching a reality show where the entertainment relies heavily on cruelty towards dumb creatures, and I don’t mean the celebrities.

I’m a Celeb has been going for an incredible 17 years now, yet the format still holds good: take a mix of well kent faces and relative unknowns, send them to the Australian jungle and make them battle boredom, hunger, lack of home comforts for a couple of weeks until they crack. Meanwhile, have loveable Geordies Ant and Dec standing by to point and laugh at them.

All good, sweaty fun but then come the “bushtucker trials”, the endurance tests that must be passed to earn food for the group. These involve contestants hunting for gold stars while torrents of creatures rain down or scuttle among them. Rats, cockroaches, spiders, if it is deemed unpleasant, it pours forth.

Naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham, lovely Chris Packham, has been on the programme’s case for years about it. As many others have pointed out, if it was panda cubs or any other cute, relatable creatures being abused in this way there would be uproar. The only concession the producers have made so far is to halt the use of live creatures in the eating trials. Not good enough.

The result: come Tuesday this week I stopped watching in protest. So there we are: a review of a television programme I’m boycotting. Let no one say this column does not blaze a trail.

On to something I have watched all the way through. The Crown (Netflix) returned, and it was impossible not to devour all ten episodes in one greedy gulp. Still not sure about Olivia Colman as the Queen, though. It is not her acting, which is as crisply impressive as ever, it is just that Colman, like Helen Mirren and Judi Dench, has reached the stage in her career when she is so famous she can no longer disappear into a character. One never forgets she is there.

The third season ends in 1977, the Silver Jubilee year. Still plenty to come, then. Alas, it is going to be some years before we can see the episode featuring a Prince Andrew lookalike stuffing pizza into his face in Woking.

It is somehow comforting that in this widely hailed golden age of television the old box is still capable of turning out a hunk of junk. Vienna Blood (BBC2, Monday) was fool’s gold. Set in Vienna in 1906 it was the tale of a young English doctor, his head full of new fangled ideas from Dr Freud, teaming up with a crusty, old school detective to solve murders. Sounds corny and contrived, was corny and contrived.

The lavish setting aside, it did not take long to settle down into just another crime drama, complete with a woman’s body on a mortuary slab. When the women were not dead they were mad. Fair enough: if you were cast in this Acorn Antiques version of Sherlock, Morse, and every other duo-based crime caper, you would be a tad upset too. I particularly liked the moment when one policeman, looking at a room full of women sewing, asked the proprietor: “You run a business as a seamstress?” No mate, it’s a bookies, they’re just on a lunch break.

The War of the Worlds (BBC1, Sunday) is just one episode in, but it too is teetering on the brink between being awfully watchable and just awful. In its favour: it is a classic tale that never grows old, and it stars Robert Carlyle, Eleanor “Demelza Poldark” Tomlinson, and Rafe Spall acting their chops off. But the attempt to sex up the story by focussing on the Amy/George love affair, some creaky CGI work and patchy dialogue, do not bode well.

After turn of the century Austria in Vienna Blood and Woking (really) in The War of the Worlds it was time to get down with the kidz in modern Scotland in new comedy show The State of It (BBC Scotland, Friday).

Fronted by Robert Florence of Burnistoun fame and featuring a gaggle of young up and comers, it was a jumble of sketches and other material. The first episode looked at the state of technology. Cue some tired rants about social media, etc, but there was fresh stuff as well. When it was good (“Kendra the influencer”; driverless trains) it was inspired, and when it was bad it felt like a waste of everyone’s time.

READ MORE: Susan Swarbrick meets Robert Florence

Think this one needs a few weeks to settle, unless comedy shows that do not make you laugh are the hot new thing, in which case have at it. Still, at least no animals were harmed in the making of The State of It, so two stars for that.