JAMIE Oliver is a busy lad. If he is not opening and closing restaurants, and launching campaigns to stop children eating their body weight in chips, he is adding to the English language. In Jamie: Keep Cooking Family Favourites (C4, Monday), for instance, he coined the verb “batching”.

Batching is short for batch cooking, which all savvy shoppers and dieters tend to do on a weekend. I batch, you batch, we batch. It saves time and money, though you end up eating the same thing day after day. Even my legendary pasta bake (they speak of little else in Tuscany) can lose its sizzle after three days on the trot.

Jamie batched some “British bolognese”, so called because it used root vegetables from these parts and a slug (well, 500ml) of pale ale. It looked yummy and managed to soothe his large brood into silence. Oliver has been doing this cooking on the telly lark for so long he makes it seem effortless, which I suppose it is given his TV kitchen is in his garden shed, so no commute.

But he also manages to keep things fresh, whether by force of personality, or a hook. This time, the USP was his children roaming around the place like a flock of lost lambs, if lost lambs got upset about the “wrong” shape of pasta. The TV equivalent of comfort food.

It has been a week of documentaries telling us stuff we know already. Quite annoying that. The only new thing I learned from The Trial of Alex Salmond (BBC2, Monday) was that there is a rather nice cafe across the road from where the High Court in Edinburgh sits. Here, presenter Kirsty Wark, the BBC’s Scotland editor, Sarah Smith, and a couple of other journos banged gums about the trial. I had high hopes Smith and Wark were going to fight each other to pay the bill, like Mrs Doyle and her chum in Father Ted, but it was not to be that interesting, alas. Cafe discovery aside, this was a disappointing rehash of proceedings, thinly stretched over an hour. Cauld kail het, as Jamie Oliver probably wouldn’t say.

Now, African Renaissance: When Art Meets Power (BBC4, Monday), that was a different matter. It was stuffed to bursting with discoveries. Did you know that Africa is the youngest continent in the world, with six in ten people under the age of 25? Afua Hirsch (above) was the guide and the first stopping point was Ethiopia. As Hirsch said, the defining image of Ethiopia in many a western mind will be of famine and Live Aid. Yet on the subject of famine, and so much else, Ethiopian artists have had a lot to say. It’s just that we have not been paying attention.

While some of the country’s political history was familiar, particularly the twentieth century material, the art history was a revelation and Hirsch was an engaging guide. Next stops, Senegal and Kenya. Oh, and a PS on Live Aid: no Ethiopian or African bands were on the bill.

Ted Lasso (Apple TV) was a cheese fest with hints of pepperiness. Minor US comedy royalty Jason Sudeikis played the titular Ted, an American football coach who comes to England to manage a soccer team, without knowing the first thing about the beautiful game. If you find that concept hard to believe, stick around for the football club boss seeking revenge on her unfaithful husband. Very Footballers’ Wives.

We know what is supposed to happen: Ned Flanders-lookalike Ted is going to charm everyone with his innocence and sheer doggone optimism, and the struggling team will emerge triumphant. It might work, might not, but it’s a glossy production, with Richmond made to seem very Notting Hill, and Sudeikis is likeable enough.

This Farming Life (BBC2), following six families over one year, was an hour of pure sunshine, even if it did have its depressing moments. One farmer, Joyce, said it brought a lump to her throat to see her lambs go to market, but with the sale one of a handful of “pay days” a year, off to market they had to go.

There were some fantastic aerial shots of the countryside north and south of the border, with Scotland edging it for ruggedness. The loveliest sight, apart from the lambs before they went off to slaughter, were the pups that Rita the collie gave birth to.

There was not one dull character here, with everyone trying their best to make the farms work, and keeping a sense of humour while they were about it. I liked one mum’s common sense approach to raising children. “What have you been eating?” a toddler with a mucky face was asked. “Have you been boosting your immune system?”

Have you kept the faith with the weird and wonderful Mandy (BBC2, Thursday)? This week our gal married a Russian hitman and got herself involved in a shoot-out with Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays. She topped that with a new job, lying naked on a table while diners ate sushi off her body. Pretty average seven days round here.