ONE can imagine the pitch for A Very British Hotel: Inside Best Western (Channel 4, Tuesday). The setting is Channel 4 HQ. Around a table sit the channel’s commissioning editors (factual entertainment). An ageing hipster from a production company is setting out his stall.

“Everyone loved Fawlty Towers, right? Voted best British sitcom of all time.”

Editors are unimpressed. Cleese, the 1970s, Brexit.

Hipster ploughs on. “And everyone loved The Office, yeah?”

Faces perk up at mention of Ricky Gervais. Such a shame he went to Netflix with After Life.

“Well, how about documentary series that’s a little bit Basil with lots of budding Brents?”

A ripple of enthusiasm goes round the table, but Hipster needs a tsunami.

“And did I mention that in one of the hotels the receptionist is a Golden Retriever called Barney?”

Job done, deal signed, and here we are. Only, as narrator Diane Morgan told us at the off, the series was filmed “before a certain C-word changed everything”, so it already looked weird and dated. But we ploughed on because there were bound to be some “characters”.

Sure enough, there was the new boss, an Aussie, who liked to hang motivational signs in the office (there’s always one); bouncy Mark in sales; his equally fizzy colleague Terii, with two “i”s; and hotel inspector Alistair, a Scot, whose job was to drop in unannounced and annoy the heck out of managers.

One of the things Alistair liked to check was whether the 32-inch tellies in the rooms were 32-inches. Whipping a tape measure out of his pocket, he said: “I pinched this out my mother’s knitting box.” Cue gale of laughter from Alistair. “She’s been dead for 20 years.” More laughter from Alistair. The manager remained stoney-faced.

I knew how she felt. Between the sly narration from Morgan, the parade of eccentrics, even the tired title (“A Very British” is becoming as ubiquitous as “The Great British”), this was a documentary that, like Alistair and his brightly coloured socks, was trying too hard.

But every now and then the film found a nice, gentle groove, usually when talking to guests and staff lower down the ranks. Normal people, you might call them. More of those and I might come again. More Barney please while you are at it, even though he did not do a tap of work on reception. Very Sybil Fawlty.

At least there was some vigour at the heart of A Very British Hotel. You could not say the same for Appeal Court: The End of the Line (BBC Scotland, Monday).

Proceedings began with narrator David Hayman setting out the cases to be covered in the hour-long film: “A murder in Peebles, a revenge killing in Glasgow, and a drug-dealing operation in Paisley.” If what followed was meant to cast some sunlight on the appeals process then the film was a failure. Phrases such as “antecedent concert” and “res gestae” were thrown around hither and yon, and while explanations were given, the viewer could be forgiven for being none the wiser at the end of them.

None of what we saw seemed to relate to real people and events. No victims’ families were heard from. The goings on in court came across as stuffy, impenetrable theatre. There were some good communicators among the lawyers. One, Claire Mitchell QC, spoke of her love for the law. Just for a second, the fog lifted, a person was speaking like a person, but then we were back in court, among the men in wigs. Dry as dust, m’lord.

At the time of writing, Scotland was still in lockdown and the thought of going abroad remained the stuff of fantasy. In such times, programmes such as The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys (Channel 5, Friday) come into their own. The trip in question was on the Chihuahua-Pacifico railway, fondly known as El Chepe, which ran from the mountains to the sea in one day.

There were miles of tedious stats for narrator Bill Nighy to recite, but the scenery was spectacular. It was good to see something on Mexico that was not about drugs. Rail fan Jerry from Baltimore was high on the whole experience. “Phenomenal. We’re already planning to come back.” One gripe: a whole hour in Mexico and not one chihuahua, unless I blinked and missed it. They are very small.

Billy and Us (BBC Scotland, Thursday, above) moved on to the “shipyards and leotards” phases of the Big Yin’s life. He was given his apprenticeship certificate recently by someone who had found it in his ex-wife’s house.

He recalled the day he first got it. The secretary had spelled his name wrong and was refusing to correct it, saying she did not have the time to do that kind of thing. “You had five years,” said Billy. She got the Tipp-Ex out. “One of my best one-liners ever,” said a beaming Connolly.