YOU may remember from a few years ago the documentary Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue, a sharply amusing two-parter that managed to coax gossipy revelations from the inhabitants of a usually tight-lipped world. The first rule of fashion club, etc.

I’m delighted to say the film-maker, Richard Macer, is back next week with Men at the Barre: Inside the Royal Ballet (BBC4, above). The documentary is part of a Dance Season that also includes Revisor (BBC4), a ballet written by Jonathon Young and choreographed by Crystal Pite, and Danceworks: Latin Fever (BBC4), a new four part series that starts with Strictly Come Dancing stars Gorka Marquez and and Karen Hauer bringing together a show.

Men at the Barre opens with a controversy. In late summer of last year, the American television presenter Lara Spencer poked gentle fun at Prince George for taking ballet lessons. After a protest by male dancers in Times Square, Spencer apologised on air.

I must admit it was a row that passed me by (there are so many it is hard to keep up). But it is enough of a peg on which Macer can hang a film. For many years, he says, the male dancer has been a figure of fun. “Not quite manly enough and only there to help the women look good.”

But times are changing and there is a “golden generation” of male dancers coming through who are stars in their own right, with fans, Instagram accounts, and photoshoots in men’s glossy mags to show for it. “What is it like,” wonders Macer, “to be a man in the world of ballet today?”

His first query, the one he says we are all dying to know the answer to but are embarrassed to ask, is what male dancers wear down their tights. It was not my first question – I wanted to know how much a Royal Ballet principal earns, but we never found that out – and I’ll bet it is not yours either.

“I know it’s trivial,” he concedes, “but it illustrates the kind of ridicule male dancers have had to go through for years.”

Coming across as the new kid on the block is never a bad thing for a documentary maker; it puts interviewees at ease and makes them want to share their enthusiasm for the subject.

Aside from the rehearsal scenes, the interviews are the highlight of the hour-long piece. Macer talks to the big names, including Matthew Ball, Vadim Muntagirov, and Marcelino Sambé; he finds out what happens to some older dancers (most retire at 40); and looks at the impact of injury on a dancer’s mind as much as his body.

It is halfway through the film before he gets to Nuryev, the original superstar dancer.

As luck and good research would have it, one of the masters at the Royal Ballet was a contemporary of the Soviet dancer. He remembers his Stakhanovite work ethic. “He would dance himself almost to death.” As to how he compares to today’s male stars, the answer may surprise you.

By the end of his tour round the Royal Ballet and its schools, Macer is left with the conclusion that these are not simply dancers, but elite athletes, powerful and full of grace. Hard to disagree.

Much of the new programming to emerge from the lockdown season has been insubstantial fare, the TV equivalent of a microwave meal. At one particularly low point last week, Stacey Dooley was on BBC1, being interviewed at home over Zoom by Steph McGovern, who was in turn making a Channel 4 chat show from her front room.

Few of these DIY TV shows will be missed. One that has made its mark is Grayson’s Art Club (Channel 4).

It is not the only have a go at drawing/painting/crafting programme on the air, but it is the most delightful.

Grayson approaches the subject with the easy air of one who knows what he is talking about. Nothing to prove here. He is always encouraging of people’s efforts. He can do the starry interviews, last week it was Jim Moir, next week Jenny Eclair, but where he excels is in his chats with amateur artists.

He has been asking for submissions for a lockdown exhibition, and last week pulled a charcoal sketch from the electronic pile.

The view from a window, it was an intriguing blend of dark and light. It turned out the artist was visually impaired, but Perry did not make a big deal out of this during his interview with her. She was a lovely person with a great, hopeful story to tell, and if it had not been for lockdown, Grayson’s programme, and his skills as an interviewer, we might never have met her. Some good things can come out of lockdown after all.

Men at the Barre: Inside the Royal Ballet (BBC4, Wednesday, 9pm); Latin Fever BBC4, Monday, 7.30pm); Revisor (BBC4, Sunday, 10pm); Grayson’s Art Club (Channel 4, Monday, 8pm)