PARTING is such sweet sorrow. Well, Shakespeare never earned a crust as a jobbing television critic. If so, he would know that sometimes it is sheer joy to dump a programme after one date. It’s not me, you tell the screen as the credits roll, it’s you. Away and never darken my reviewing schedules again.

But then there are the keepers, the shows one is genuinely sorry to see go away for a while. Homeland (Channel 4, Sunday, 9pm), which had its series finale this week, is one such drama. We’ve been together now for seven years and seven seasons, Homeland and I. Occasionally it has seemed a day too long, with season three, dealing with the aftermath of the Langley bombing, taking a while to find its feet. But on the whole, the last two series particularly, Homeland has been bang on the money with its tales of a presidency splitting the country and Russian meddling in US affairs.

The basic set up is always the same. Brilliant, bi-polar CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Clare Danes), fresh from another triumph, delves too deep into a new case and suffers a mental health crisis. Events spiral out of control, and uncle Saul (Mandy Patinkin), who has previously disowned Carrie for her maverick ways, forgives her. Together, the two of them save the day, leaving behind a pile of now out of work actors who have to find other jobs.

This series finale was different. Certainly it had the heart-pounding action, the handbrake turn plot twists, even, for Carrie, a nerve-shredding walk along the ledge of a Russian government building. All present, correct and expected. But that last scene was a shock to the core. We’ve seen Carrie hit some lows, but this time … For pity’s sake, hurry up and get going on season eight.

As one door closed on Homeland another opened to reveal The Bridge (BBC2, Friday, 10pm). This will be the fourth and final season of the Scandi noir drama which has earned a reputation for quality writing and gut-wrenching violence. Whatever can be done to a body usually has on The Bridge. This series opened with the stoning of a woman government minister. The director took care to shoot mostly at a distance, but it felt, and sounded, like a grisly new low.

What has always rescued The Bridge from excesses in the past has been its lead character, detective Saga Noren (Sofia Helin), whose relentless moral outrage acts as a cleansing counterbalance to the sordid goings on. But now Saga is laid low in prison, accused of killing her mother. It could have been a deflating start, but instead the writers and Helin turned it into a corker of an opener. Welcome back Saga.

The Secret Life of Five Year Olds (Channel 4, Tuesday, 8pm) was a start to finish tonic. This time the intrepid youngsters were put through their paces on the difference between right and wrong. As many an adult knows, this can sometimes be a tricky one, so how would five year olds fare? Better than adults, as it turned out. There were a few Lord of the Flies moments when one team took all the goodies for their den and left nothing for the rest, and one falling out between friends. Generally it all came right in the end with the children showing that a little kindness goes a long way. Amen to that.

What to make of Peter Kay’s Car Share Unscripted (BBC1, Monday, 10pm)? The man himself introduced this one-off special, explaining that he and Sian Gibson (who plays supermarket assistant Kayleigh to Kay’s store manager John) used to prepare for the show by having a drive around, shooting the breeze. So why not do it for real, he thought, just let the cameras roll?

Well, Peter, I think you got the answer to that. This felt baggy and forced. There was one very uncomfortable stretch when a story came on the radio about a transexual woman and the duo proceeded to wisecrack and grimace their way through it. Kay will wrap the story of John and Kayleigh up in a forthcoming episode. Just make sure this one is scripted, mate.

Episodes (BBC2, Friday, 10pm) signed off as it began – tight as a drum, funny, and slick. This tale of British writers trying to hack it in La La Land was everything you could have expected of a marriage between American comedy craftsmen (Friends’ David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik were the creators and writers) and British sarkiness (Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan played the writers in question).

The cherry on top was Matt LeBlanc (Joey from Friends playing, er, Joey from Friends) holding everything together as the narcissistic star. Episodes abided by the golden rules of TV comedy: be different, be funny, and quit while you’re ahead. Missing you already.