GOOD old multi-tasking Auntie. As if the BBC did not have enough to do, it somehow finds the time to be a job creation scheme for Cabinet ministers slung out on their ears by the electorate.

First it was Michael Portillo, who gets paid to ride the world’s railways in brightly coloured trousers (see below). Now his former Labour counterpart has hit the road with Ed Balls: Travels in Euroland (BBC2, Thursday).

Balls’ television CV already includes Strictly Come Dancing and Travels in Trumpland. This new three-part series is more of the latter, with Balls exploring the rise of the populist right. His first stop was Holland. He wanted to know why fishing villages had turned against the EU, which he could have found out by visiting any number of them in the UK, but that would not have fitted with the show’s title.

Balls threw himself into a day's fishing. “Would you give me a job?” he asked the skipper. “I’ve not had one for three and a half years.” Reply came there none. After that it was on to explore the bizarre “Black Pete” tradition in which seemingly sane Dutch folk paint their faces to play Santa’s little helper. “This feels wrong,” said Balls. Nor was he happy at a bullfight in Spain.

Wherever he ventured the story was the same: populist parties successfully mining votes by defending controversial traditions. “That’s what political parties do,” he told his guide at the bullfight, “try and get votes”. What a searing insight. That’s why he gets paid the big bucks.

Time for a flamenco class where he was invited to take part. Oh, I don’t think I can, he told the host modestly. A minute later he was stomping around the dance studio with all the grace for which he was noted on Strictly. Think very large bull in awfully small china shop.

His questions were tame, his insights unremarkable, but Balls is good with people. He proved particularly adept at getting invited to their homes for dinner. The only creature to take exception to him was Capa the chihuahua who belonged to the bullfighting family. She snapped at him. Probably thought he was going to eat her.

Easy Ways to Live Well (BBC1, Wednesday) had a two for one offer on presenters, teaming Steph McGovern with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. They are an odd couple combo: he’s posh, she’s not; she munches crisps on a road trip, he has an apple. You get the idea. There is a doctor on standby to do the science bit on the various ideas the pair try out.

Off they went to Wales where the first problem to tackle was the snacking habit at a GP surgery. Grateful patients had taken to giving the staff chocs and biscuits to say thank you (must be a Welsh thing) and the workforce was munching almost non-stop.

Hugh’s idea was to make them sniff peppermint oil, the theory being the smell would curb the craving for something sweet. Steph put a padlock on the treat cupboard. The mint was marginally more effective.

The pair tried ideas out on themselves. Hugh took cold showers (reduces stress, apparently) while Steph stopped eating rubbish and packed her diet with fruit and veg. Both liked the results. It was a busy show, with nothing too difficult or gimmicky, and the chemistry between the presenters worked, though it is difficult to imagine anyone taking against McGovern. She’ll go far, that one.

Channel 4 had a tough nut to crack: come up with a new cooking show that would stand out from the rest. Why not build a set to look like Dorothy’s Oz and fill it with ingredients for contestants to use? Er, because it smacks of trying a bit too hard? Off they went with the idea anyway on Crazy Delicious (Channel 4, Tuesday).

Three chefs, led by Heston Blumenthal, encouraged the enthusiastic amateurs on to ever more exotic culinary heights. Strawberry cheesecake buffalo wings anyone? A layered trifle made with real hay? Bring it on. Everything was a tremendous faff which only the truly dedicated or bored would attempt to repeat at home. The cherry on the top was host Jayde Adams. “Isn’t it mad?” she asked. “I used to work in Asda.”

Daly Grind (BBC1 Scotland, Monday) was the latest home grown sitcom pilot. Like its predecessors, it was a chuckle-free zone in which no one spoke or behaved like any person you have ever met. This time we were at home with the Daly family (geddit?). Dad was a fireman, mum worked at a call centre, and they had three children.

The situation to be mined for comedy involved a broken telly, dad trying to sneak out for a night with the boys, and mum’s picky mother coming round. Line after line landed on the floor with a thud. If there is one takeaway from these crash landings it is that we should cherish brilliance where we find it. When IS Two Doors Down coming back?