NEVER mind being up for Portillo, to borrow a phrase from a British election long gone, will you still be awake for Pennsylvania? Might the temptations of a warm bed see you turn in long before Florida declares? Or will we still be in the thick of a disputed US Presidential election come Christmas?

One of the greatest shows of democracy on earth, the US Election (Sky News from 10pm, Tuesday, STV 11pm, BBC1 11.30pm) takes place next week, with all the main channels out to cover it from the first row over postal ballots to the last hurrah of the defeated candidate, whoever he turns out to be.

Given the way the last election unfolded – with Hillary Clinton predicted to be the winner, then going on to win the popular vote only to lose the electoral college to Donald Trump – it is a brave journalist who dares predict the 2020 race.

The only definite is that this election night will be vastly different in some respects than the contests of old. This will certainly be the case in newspaper offices. In 2016, The Herald newsroom was buzzing from midnight straight through the night, the efforts of the writers and subs fuelled by hot rolls from the canteen and even hotter coffee. The diet of unfit champions, but it kept us going.

This time it will be different for every newspaper, scattered as their staffs are to the four winds. Home study will speak unto kitchen table. Somehow we will work it out, and yes, we will be watching the TV as we do so.

With 24 hour television, satellite, and the internet, it is so much easier to cover a presidential election now. Gone are the days of doing it by radio alone, or standing by the wire for the latest state result. Now you can bounce around the channels in real time, all over the world, to your heart’s content.

None of which makes it easier to call the result for the early editions, but even that tradition is not what it used to be. With digital operations running through the night, a headline can be changed in an instant. History written in a hurry.

It remains to be seen whether the record 62 million-plus votes cast in advance lead to a swifter declaration of the outcome. You can bet, however, that discussion of postal voting will form part of the long hours of speculation preceding the results coming in. Who you choose to spend those hours with is a matter of preference and tradition. The BBC will have the trinity of Andrew Neil, Jon Sopel and Katty Kay, ITV will be leading with Tom Bradby, and Gillian Joseph is in the chair on Sky News. Have a good night, good luck, and may the best viewers win.

Frank Gardner is a true gentleman among reporters, so it comes as some surprise to hear him, in his own words, “farting through a hole in the side of my body”. As we see throughout Being Frank: The Frank Gardner Story (BBC2, Thursday, 9pm), the BBC’s security correspondent is not afraid to show and tell it like it is when it comes to the realities of changing colostomy bags and catheters.

Shot six times by Al-Qaeda while reporting from Saudi Arabia (the gunman smiled as he stepped out the vehicle), Gardner’s life was changed forever at the age of 43. He has the practical, bodily, stuff off pat by now; what he hasn’t fully explored is the emotional fall out from sudden onset disability.

He does so here, using his own experiences and those of others. Among his interviewees is Gerard, a student in Edinburgh who broke his neck after diving into a lake in Sweden; and Jasmine, who is still living in her old flat with stairs and no disabled access as she tries to come to terms with what has happened to her.

As moving and illuminating as these interviews are, most will watch this documentary to learn more about Gardner’s life.

He is frank about the “why this, why now” question. In part it is because his life has changed radically once again, with his 22-year marriage ending.

He has a new partner now in weather presenter Elizabeth Rizzini, a different future to look forward to. But there are the same old frustrations and embarrassments to bear when his limitations collide with his ambitions, as we see when he is on assignment in Colombia and has to be carried along a trail.

For all his attempts to bare his soul, Gardner remains the archetypal “let’s get on with it” sort. Are you okay about being disabled, he is asked at the start of the film. “It’s pointless not being okay with it because there is nothing I can do about it,” he replies. “It makes bugger all difference whether I’m okay with it or not because it is what it is.”

While saying he does not want to be a spokesman for anything he has some commendably brisk advice for the able-bodied: “Please stop parking in disabled places and going to the bloody disabled loo when you can perfectly well get into a normal one.” Hear, hear.