NOW there’s an idea to run up the flag pole and salute, thought I, reading my copy of the Radio Times (I was on holiday last week but total pro that I am, I like to keep my hand in, even if I did have to visit three Co-ops before finding a copy of the mag. Oh Arran, you will never become a buzzing media capital of the world on that showing. Thank God).

Julie Hesmondhalgh had taken to the RT to publicise the new six-part drama The Pact (BBC1, Monday). She hailed it for being a rare thriller that did not centre around a dead female. “It’s always a woman on a slab,” said the Coronation Street and The A Word actor). You knew exactly what she meant.

Off we went cheerily, then, on a tale of five brewery workers. One (Laura Fraser) was after promotion to supervisor but the new boss, the son of the old boss, was a spoiled sexist pillock who drove a red sports car and sneered at her attempts at self-betterment. In its determination not to avoid the usual female cliches, The Pact was not above wheeling in some male ones.

The same went for the event at the heart of the drama. After a boozy company party, the gals thought it would be a laugh to bundle their horrible boss in the boot of a car, drive to the woods, take some embarrassing photos, and leave him there.

Really, who hasn’t ended a night out with such a prank? Women especially are known to love a bit of abduction-themed humour.

If you could believe all that then you would have had no trouble swallowing the increasingly daft twists and turns that followed. The small Welsh village in which the story was set was hoaching with secrets. Contrivances piled up (one of the women was married to a cop who switched between insisting he could say nothing about the investigation and then singing like a canary).

The upshot of it all was there was one dead male body to puzzle over instead of one dead female one. Funny sort of progress, that.

A drama can usually survive an unbelievable starting point if the casting is up to the mark, but The Pact could be an exception. We shall see.

The same fate might have befallen Innocent (STV, Monday-Thursday), the story of a teacher wrongly convicted of killing a pupil. After new evidence put Sally (Katherine Kelly, like Hesmondhalgh another Corrie graduate) in the clear, she returned to her home town of Keswick determined to pick up where she left off. Or as she put it to the head teacher, “I want my effing job back.” And her an English teacher, too.

That was Sally, though. She had been a victim of a miscarriage of justice, and was having no more of it.

Believable, multi-layered characters, and plenty of them, won the day as the story played out convincingly over four nights. If you were reminded of Unforgotten that may be because the two dramas shared the same creator, Chris Lang, who is as fond of one word titles as viewers are of his dramas. Outstanding.

Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer (BBC4, Tuesday) went a long way round the houses to tell the story of vaccines and the part they have played in saving millions of lives.

Much of it was fascinating, but given how much coverage there has been on the subject lately it might have been better to start with another topic. Engaging as he is, did we really need another interview with Dr Fauci?

Just as puzzling was the decision to go with two presenters: the historian David Olusoga covering the UK end of things and the science writer Steven Johnson in America. You could understand why they might have had to divvy up the work because of the travel ban, but it seemed like an unnecessary duplication of effort, and the online video chats between the pair were reminiscent of Staged with David Tennant and Michael Sheen, but without the laughs. Either broadcaster could have handled the gig perfectly well on their own. Another case of BBC overmanning in action.

Kew Gardens: A Year in Bloom (Channel 5, Thursday) worked its usual miracle in calming the mind and feeding the soul. Or is it the other way around?

This week’s episode was set in Spring, but such was the proliferation of blossoms due to a warm winter it was more like June was bustin’ out all over south west London.

Pricey as it is to get into Kew (£17.50 if not a member), these Bill Paterson-narrated films function as both a visual treat and a primer for your next visit. The staff seemed happy in their work, always a good sign, and why wouldn’t you be in that Eden? They even looked chipper while forking manure around trees. According to one of the gardeners, it was so hot and steamy in the middle of these great piles of muck you could cook a baked potato. Thanks, but think I’ll bring my own sandwiches as per.