THERE has been something missing in all our lives lately. It is not money (hopefully) and it is not love, ditto. It is drama. Make-believe. Adults hitting the dressing up box and pretending to be someone else.

What we have had instead is reality. Too much of it. Coming at us in news bulletins, in documentaries, on social media, in daily televised press conferences.

Just in time to save our sanities, autumn begins to whisper its arrival. In television land, the nights drawing in means one thing: new drama. We knew there were series hidden at the back of the wardrobe, like Christmas presents bought early. We made do, just about, with tales made under lockdown conditions. Some were dandy (Staged, with David Tennant and Michael Sheen top of the list), most were missable. But now it is time to pony up, Mr and Ms Scheduler. We need to escape somewhere, and we do not want to self-isolate on our return.

First out of the wrapper was Strike: Lethal White (BBC1, Sunday, Monday, above). Now in its fourth series, this drama based on the novels by Robert Galbraith is settling into its groove.

After a quick catch up with the last series, the murder mystery was set in motion. In this case, a disturbed man broke into the office of private detectives Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott (Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger) with a tale of murder most horrid.

Given he was making little sense, and did not look as if he could pay their fee, most ‘tecs would have probably ushered him out the door. But Strike and Robin care. They are not in this game for the money. Perhaps one of them secretly wrote a bestselling book about a boy wizard and is sitting on a pile of cash.

Strike creaks at times as the stories make the transition from the page to the screen. Threadbare devices (Robin asking to use the loo, sneaking into a room and happening to put her hands on essential evidence, etc), littered the piece. It hardly mattered. No one watches Strike for the quality of its mysteries. Its allure lies in its style and sense of location (slightly seedy London, flats above shops), and above all the will-they-won’t-they-oh-get-on-with-it relationship between Strike and Robin. There is plenty of mileage in that yet.

Everybody back on the bus for the next stop on the magical autumn drama tour. It was Glasgow, 1937, down by the docks. A man was running through the streets and he was not being chased (except by his dog). He was exercising. Of his own free will. Well, now. I know we wanted some escapism, but what madness was this?

It was the reboot of All Creatures Great and Small (Channel 5, Tuesday) and it was braw. Everything seemed different from the BBC series. Different Siegfried, different James (obviously Scottish for a start), different Mrs Hall. Yet it was all instantly familiar and thereby comforting.

As any fan of the previous adaptations should know, no trip to the Dales would be complete without sight of a certain veterinary procedure. As the hour flew by and James got the job with Siegfried, then lost the job, I began to think the director had forgotten the essential scene. But we got there in the end. James, called to help a cow in labour, finally put his arm where the sun doesn’t shine. We even got the action in close up. Twice.

As an added treat there had been no mucking about with the theme tune. All of that and Tricky Woo and Tristan are yet to make an appearance. I have a good feeling about this one.

As an edgy British comedy, Two Weeks to Live (Sky One, Wednesday) had no desire to cosy up to the viewer. Appearances were deceptive, however. Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) played Kim, a young woman brought up in the wilds of Scotland believing the end of the world was nigh. Trained to survive the apocalypse, Kim had a lot of skills but she had never been in a pub before, used money, walked in high heels, any of that. She was so unworldly, indeed, that she was fooled by two lads into thinking the end really was a fortnight away, and she had to crack on with job she came to do: find her father’s killer and take revenge.

Williams had a nicely subtle comic touch, trying to come across as a bad ass only to poke herself in the eye with her sunglasses, and the first half hour episode rattled along. Physical comedy aside, it was light on gags though, which doesn’t bode well, even for a dark comedy. Especially for a dark comedy.

Darwin College, Cambridge, received a lesson in the survival of the smartest when they took on St Andrews in University Challenge (BBC2, Monday). The final scores on the doors were 90 for Darwin and a stonking 255 for St Andrews. “Bad luck,” Paxo told the southerners. Paxo feeling sorry for you: now that is brutal.