STRANGE what some people notice. Certain critics came away from The Trial of Christine Keeler (BBC1, Sunday-Monday) almost blinded by the amount of bare scud on show. Others salivated over the 1960s fashions. True, there was all of that, but what sent me reeling back into the sofa cushions with a thud was the youthfulness of the titular Christine. At 19 she was already damaged by a bad start in life; her Government minister lover, like most of the men around her, were old and marinated in privilege.

The highlighting of these disparities, together with telling the story from Keeler’s point of view, marked out Amanda Coe’s version of the Profumo scandal as different, feminist, even. “When I met John Profumo,” said Keeler, “we both gave into the most natural instinct there is - the love of a powerful middle-aged man for a penniless teenage girl. Is that a crime?”

The tone took a while to settle. In voiceover, Keeler, played by Sophie Cookson, seemed wise beyond her years; a moment later she did not know what the Cuban missile crisis was. Similarly confusing was the way the timeline kept going back and forward until the basics of the story had been established.

The forays into the past explained a lot about Keeler, though. She was a party girl all right, but there was a sadness running through those veins, too. In contrast, her streetsmart friend Mandy Rice-Davies (Ellie Bamber) was nobody’s lovesick fool. Outstanding performances from both, together with James Norton as the osteopath Stephen Ward, and Ben Miles as Profumo. Emilia Fox has not had much to do yet as the wronged wife, but she is bubbling away nicely, like Krakatoa in twinset and pearls.

No-one with a care for their safety would dare take liberties with the central character in Bancroft (STV, Wednesday-Friday). The last time she was on our screens, some two years ago, she murdered a fellow police officer who was about to expose Bancroft’s many dodgy dealings. “You should be in prison,” sneered a superintendent played by Adrian Edmondson. (From Vyvyan in The Young Ones to a northern copper; not a bad career, is it? ) But this was midweek drama land where virtue goes unrewarded and crazy women rule the roost. The loopier the better, in fact. Bancroft (Sarah Parish) was proper scary, stomping in and out of scenes, nostrils flaring, especially when it looked like her beloved son, who couldn’t stand her, was being fitted up for a double murder by his scheming fiancee. When mommie dearest went head to head with prospective daughter-in-law the insanity went off the charts.

Between the epic silliness, the general moustache twirling, and the iffy acting of some of the minor characters, Bancroft should have brought the house down on itself early doors. Only Parish, and to a lesser extent Edmondson, held it together and even then it was touch and go. If it ever comes back they should change the title to Bonkers Bancroft and be done with it.

We started 2020 with bare bahookies so we might as well continue. Flaunting the flesh this time was Ben Fogle in Countrywise: Guide to Britain (STV, Monday). He had travelled to a lake in Wales to try out “wild swimming”, or as it used to be known in less pretentious times, skinny-dipping. Accompanying him to Wales was his black Lab, Storm, who stayed on the shore while he froze his inhibitions off. Good dog, clever dog, give her a series of her own.

Still with trusty companions, I stayed up alone, save for the dog, to welcome in the coverage of Hogmanay. We were the only two sober souls in Scotland, or at least it felt like it. But as she looked towards me with the saddest of eyes, I told her it would all be worth it. For this was not just any old Hogmanay telly, this was the first without Jackie Bird and was thus, in its way, a slice of history. In Scottish TV terms this was the moon landing and coronation combined. She still did not seem convinced.

The dog was right, as ever. The main channels were offering Sean’s Very Scottish Hogmanay, while BBC1 Scotland had Susan Calman replacing Bird in Hogmanay 2019. Sean Batty and Jennifer Reoch were our hosts for the former, and a perfectly pleasant job they did too, with a ceilidh at Craufurdland Castle in Ayrshire mixed with items on Hogmanay traditions. Hardly cutting edge television, but like a nice glass of something and a slice of cake it was just what was needed.

The BBC’s Jackie-free Hogmanay, in contrast, was the kind of first foot who turns up with an already opened bottle and the last two mince pies in the box. A blend of pre-recorded chat show with Calman and moments of live coverage from Edinburgh and Stonehaven, it was stale, atmosphere-lite and innovation free. “If the programme makers cannot stay up for an end to end live show, why should the audience bother?” I said to my trusty companion, only to find she had skedaddled to bed like the rest of them. Nice.