FACE it – we are going nowhere. Even if we had a particular place to venture the regulations would not permit. For the foreseeable we shall have to contract out our travelling to others. On the upside, no airport hassle. On the downside, no giant Toblerone.

First stop on our trip, Paul Hollywood Eats Japan (Channel 4, Tuesday). Bit of a cheeky title. I know the Great British Bake Off host has been putting on the beef lately – he now has eyes like Paul Newman and the tummy of Pooh bear – but I don’t think he could eat a whole country. Well, maybe Belgium.

But then the whole tone of the show was irreverent. Rebecca Front (The Thick of It) led from the front with a narration that was nicely sarky, while Hollywood supplied the down to earth, it’s mad here innit, what are they like, Scouser stuff.

It was his first time in Japan and he was given various local guides to ease him through. He picked up some top tips, including not pointing with chopsticks (rude), not eating on the street (ditto) and not buying fruit in one of Tokyo’s fancy food shops (£230 for a melon).

As the voiceover never tired of telling us, Tokyo is home to more Michelin stars than any other city in the world. Hollywood duly pronounced every dish “stunning”, which became boring after a while. We don’t watch celebrity travel shows to see our hosts enjoying themselves non-stop. A little suffering on their part is only good manners. The trailer for next week shows him shrieking about something tasting awful, so hang in there.

Everybody back on the coach again, we’re heading to Amsterdam and Van der Valk (STV, Sunday). No, I don’t know why we are taking such a circuitous route, and yes, the toilet is out of order.

This reboot of the Seventies crime drama was a rum do. Current television is hardly short of maverick cops, so why they had to dig one up from the past was the first mystery to ponder. But hey-ho, here was Marc Warren (above) taking the place of Barry Foster as Commissaris Piet Van der Valk.

About all this “commissaris” and “Piet” business. As in the original show, all the actors were English and had kept their accents. Very odd. I know we are supposed to be terribly cool about casting, any actor can play any role and all that, but it was a distraction. Idris Elba and Dominic West did not retain their British accents in Baltimore-set The Wire; every actor that does Poirot has a go at ze accent. But here? Nothing.

The strange case of all these Brits working in the Dutch police force was the least of the show’s problems. The two hours began with a kidnap which was seen by two people. The bad guys threw the witnesses in the van too. The viewer knew who the two were and why they washed up dead, but we had to wait for ages while Van der Valk and his team put the pieces together.

There was a lot of convoluted toing and froing involving politics and art, the characters were well-worn to the point of cliche (techy geek, anyone?), and people said things like, “Don’t even think about it,” and “In Amsterdam anything is possible”. Unless Amsterdam can fix the faults in this show, I’ll be getting on my bike.

Normal People (BBC1, Monday, or whole series available on iPlayer), the adaptation of Sally Rooney’s gazillion-seller, is a gorgeous piece of television. Set on the west coast of Ireland, it was the story of Marianne and Connell (Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal), who got together just as school was about to finish and university begin.

She was proud, spiky and had no chums; he was sporty and popular. But the friendship worked, and the pals became something more. Hardly anything seemed to happen in the first two half hour episodes, yet by the end of the hour everything had changed for the young couple. Lives had collided. Fates were set.

The characters in Normal People spoke like normal people, not an easy trick to pull off, and the direction was movie standard, no surprise given the presence of Dublin-born Lenny Abrahamson (Room) behind the camera. One to savour.

Final stop on the tour was India. The Real Marigold Hotel (BBC1, Thursday) gave more celebs a taste of what retirement abroad might look like. The fourth series began with the usual statement that the documentary was “inspired by, but otherwise unrelated to, the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” I’ll say. The film had Maggie Smith and Judi Dench; this had Nick Cotton off EastEnders and Duncan Bannatyne.

Pick of the bunch were designer Zandra Rhodes and Britt Ekland (“The Wicker Man, that was me”), who functioned as a sort of Ab Fab Patsy and Edina. Bannatyne looked terrified whenever Britt appeared. Don’t blame him.

News from trusted and credible sources is essential at all times, but especially now as the coronavirus pandemic impacts on all aspects of our lives. To make sure you stay informed during this difficult time our coverage of the crisis is free.
However, producing The Herald's unrivalled analysis, insight and opinion on a daily basis still costs money and, as our traditional revenue streams collapse, we need your support to sustain our quality journalism.
To help us get through this, we’re asking readers to take a digital subscription to The Herald. You can sign up now for just £2 for two months.
If you choose to sign up, we’ll offer a faster loading, advert-light experience – and deliver a digital version of the print product to your device every day. Click here to help The Herald: Thank you, and stay safe.