IT was the river otters wot saved the day in the end on A Perfect Planet (BBC1, Sunday).

There we were, primed and ready to receive the latest urgent missive from Sir David Attenborough on how homo sapiens were messing up this wonderful planet.

Sir David Attenborough no longer merely presents documentaries. His films are now “events” that run to a strict formula: science, plus creatures in peril, plus cuteness, equals a TV series and book hit.

In the first of five programmes, A Perfect Planet came on strong on the science, telling us all about volcanoes and how without them there would be no land or oceans, no life basically. Fascinating, but where were the photogenic critters, preferably fleeing for their lives, without which no Attenborough is complete?

Hopes were high when he focused on Lake Natron in Tanzania, home to two million flamingoes in the hatching season. The chicks were fairly cute, and as they trekked to the freshwater spring there were some watch through the fingers moments, especially when the marabou storks turned up with their razor-like bills and appetite for too-slow flamingo chicks.

After that, we had female iguanas laying their eggs on a crater floor, and vampire finches in the Galapagos, which were as horrible as their name suggested. Terribly informative and all that, but, hello, any chance of something to coo over? By half an hour in I was starting to wonder.

Then the otters arrived, and the bears, and normal service was resumed. Phew. Next week Sir David’s topic is the sun. No, not that one. Definitely no super furry cuties there.

If it was gobsmacking scenes you were after then Spiral (BBC4, Saturday) did not disappoint. Back for the eighth and final series, the Paris-set police drama found Commander Laure Berthaud and her disgraced squad out in the cold.

Laure’s great pal Gilou was on remand. She needed a case to throw herself into, and the grim streets of Paris, complete with tented cities stuffed with refugee children, was not long in delivering.

This was a different Laure. She was still the same jeans, T-shirt, and clumpy-shoed heroine of old. But her baby daughter had softened the edges, to the point where Laure even apologised – twice – to her colleagues. Another great female copper to welcome into the hall of fame beside DCI Tennison, Saga Noren, and Juliet Bravo.

From Netflix’s Bridgerton to The Great (Channel 4, Sunday) you can hardly throw a copy of The Female Eunuch without hitting some feminist revisiting of history.

In the Channel 4 drama, the sister trying to do it for herself is Catherine, but her new home is 18th century Russia and her new husband is Peter, a bully and cruel oaf if ever there was one. When Catherine hatched grand plans to educate girls, Peter burned the school to the ground. He also shot the bear he gave his new wife as a wedding gift. A real charmer.

There was a lot to like about The Great, from the central performances of Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult to its use of modern dialogue and its sense of humour. Very moreish, though it did occasionally plunge too far into darkness, as when Peter punched his wife in the stomach, and on another occasion tried to drown her. One does hope such behaviour will be punished severely.

What a week. Yes, another one. We did get lucky, though. As fate sent a third lockdown to try us, the TV gods scheduled the return of two comedy comforters.

Staged (BBC1, Monday-Tuesday) found David Tennant and Martin Sheen just about to break free from lockdown with trips to South Africa and the US. They were giddy with delight, and it was all one could do but snicker cruelly at the fools and their dreams of making lockdown a distant memory. We were once in that happy place too.

The Scotsman and the Welshman were still the same seething mass of resentments and petty rivalries that so endeared them to viewers in the summer. Thank goodness for that. Their suffering is our suffering, but funnier.

Also reporting for duty was Scot Squad (BBC Scotland, Thursday), a show that is as endearingly daft as Staged is wickedly clever.

As with every other comedy, there were gags about social distancing, claps for carers and so on, but the strength of Scot Squad lies in its characters.

It was a shot in the arm to see the gang again, especially Officer Karen, even if she was still trying to be transferred off reception and away from her number one fan, Bobby.

In a move worthy of The Shawshank Redemption, Officer Karen finally made it back to the outside world.

Her replacement on reception was Officer Sharon. Unlike Officer Karen, Officer Sharon seemed delighted to make Bobby’s acquaintance and told him to call by any time to say hello. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I’ll give it a week.