The new year’s television came first-footing with treachery, corporate wrongdoing and death tucked under its arm. Really 2024, a tin of shortbread and a smile would have done.

While the schedules may not have been the sunniest declaration of intent, the quality of the offerings was undeniable.

First in the queue for honours was Mr Bates vs the Post Office (STV, New Year’s Day-Thursday), the true story of innocent people put through the wringer by a publicly-owned business that wrongly accused them of fraud. Lives were ruined, innocent people went to jail, some ended their lives, and all because of a faulty computer system and arrogant management that would admit no wrong.

The Horizon IT scandal has been rumbling on for 20-plus years. Despite the efforts of campaigners and some journalists, it has lacked the kind of single, “big bang” moment to push it front and centre in the public consciousness.

Gwyneth Hughes’ four-part drama hopefully changes that. Not since Boys from the Blackstuff has there been such a clear example of workplace right and wrong. If you weren’t furious on the victims’ behalf come the Thursday finale you must have been watching another channel.

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At the heart of the drama was Llandudno subpostmaster Alan Bates and his wife Suzanne (played by the always terrific Toby Jones and Julie Hesmondhalgh), whose case opened the story in 2003. Bates was David to the Post Office’s Goliath, telling its executives that their new, billion-pound computer system was riddled with problems. No one else had complained, they were told, therefore the couple had to be wrong.

Falling in behind Bates were other individuals, played by an A-list of acting talent from Monica Dolan to Will Mellor. By the end these “skint little people”, in Bates’s words, were an army in pursuit of the truth.

Their opponents, the PO chiefs, were not given an inch by Hughes. At times they came close to being panto villains, worthy of boos and hisses every time they appeared. Given some of the stunts pulled, I doubt any viewer would have minded. And still the victims fight on for compensation.

From an open and shut case to a tale that knew no bounds or reason. The Tourist (BBC1, New Year’s Day) continued its chaotic way, switching the story of a man with no memory (Jamie Dornan) from Australia to Wales.

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Writers Harry and Jack Williams do not care to dilly-dally with explanations, instead trusting the viewer will naturally want to come along for a ride that’s part Coen brothers with a dash of Father Ted. With the second series doubling down on the violence and weirdness, there is even more pressure on Donan and sidekick Helen (Danielle Macdonald) as the kooky couple you can’t help but root for.

Truelove (Channel 4, Wednesday-Friday) was a drama about grown-ups for grown-ups that took infirmity and death seriously enough to joke about it. Lindsay Duncan headed the cast as Phillipa, an ex-copper who is of an age when old pals seem to be dropping like flies, in the latest case slowly and painfully.

At the wake, held in the Truelovers’ Knot pub, the gang drunkenly agree a pact: when the time comes, if asked, they will help each other on their way. Better that than face the end in “a Zurich suburb surrounded by strangers”.

There were some slyly funny touches in Charles Covell and Ian Weatherby’s tale that pulled it back from being too depressing: the post that’s full of nothing but ads for walk-in baths and stairlifts; the plotters meeting in a National Trust garden. They are a Lavender Hill mob for sure, but serious points are made along the way. What about those left behind, for example? How do they live with killing on their conscience?

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By the end of episode two (of six), best laid plans are doing what they usually do. You might fear for the tale’s credibility the longer it goes on, but with a cast of this calibre - besides Duncan there is Clarke Peters (The Wire), Phil Davis and Sue Johnston - it would take something drastic to tip the boat over.

The Traitors (BBC1, Wednesday-Friday) returned to Ardross Castle in the Highlands for a second series, the first run having attracted what every commissioning editor would sell their grannies for: young audiences.

This time, going by the number of over-50s among the contestants, the producers are hoping to attract those at the other end of the age spectrum.

The BBC calls The Traitors a “psychological reality competition”, but really it is an old-fashioned murder mystery with bells on.

The contestants range from veterinary nurses to soldiers (serving and retired), a chess coach, and that all-important clairvoyant, without whom no cross-section of the population is complete.

They are meant to be the main focus of attention, and they will get their moment in the spotlight, but the real stars are the host Claudia Winkleman and, at the top of the pecking order, the castle’s owls. I could have sworn one of them was already bigging up its part and we’re only on week one. Watch your back, Claude.