FOR all that the films feature the glories of the natural world captured by cutting-edge camera technology, there’s a whiff of the old school variety show about Sir David Attenborough’s series, the latest of which is Frozen Planet II (BBC1, Sunday). Truly, there is something for everyone in the line-up, topped off with a big star finale.

The first of six episodes opened with a warning from Sir David that the planet’s frozen wildernesses were disappearing at faster rates than ever before. A downer, I’m sure you will agree. Not wanting to immerse the viewer in too much gloom too soon, those ever-dependable comic turns, the emperor penguins, were wheeled on for our delight.

Emperor penguin parents are “the most devoted in nature” we were told. Well, they are for a little while. When the chicks are one metre tall mum and dad skedaddle. We watched the moments of parting. I warmed to the penguin that pushed its chick over as it left. A touch harsh, but it got the message across.

After the chicks were placed in jeopardy (were they strong enough to get out of the water?), seals turned up to lighten the mood again. The seals, in turn, were hunted by killer whales, another bummer, so we moved on to the Pallas’s cat, known as the “grumpiest cat in the world” because of its squashed face.

From a cat to a Siberian tiger to another comedy dependable, the hooded seal with its inflatable nose (“the bigger the nose the more attractive they will be to a female”), and so on till we came to the Elvises and Adeles of the evening – the polar bears.

The tried and tested formula works a treat every time, unless, like me, you have trouble stomaching the carnage and emotional manipulation. Yes, that’s life and death, the images are stunning, so much hard work to get them, etc.

But if I have to choose between seeing a tiny muskox calf being eaten by a bear, or not seeing it, well, I’ll be switching over to Ridley on the other side, even if it does feature Adrian Dunbar singing. (Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey, would you give it a rest fella.)

We should be grateful any programme was on this week given the way schedules were cleared due to "events". Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed and normal service slowly resumed, the reasoning being that people could do with some cheering up. What better way to raise the collective serotonin level than with a new series of The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4, Tuesday). Three cheers for the Bake Off!

“I’ve never wanted to be in a tent so bad before,” said one of the 12 contestants, speaking for us all.

The dedicated dozen were the usual cheery lot, the men once again better at baking, with two Scots, Kevin and James, representing Scotland whether they wanted to or not. Kevin, from Lanarkshire, is a music teacher and James, a Glaswegian living in Cumbrae, a nuclear scientist. Yes, really. That’s how smart you have to be now to get on Bake Off.

Kevin and James were both decent bakers, though James was told off for not paying attention to detail (just what you want to hear about a nuclear scientist).

It’s early days, so hard to call a winner, but Syabira, Dawn, and Janusz look tasty.

Also returning with perfect timing was All Creatures Great and Small (Channel 5, Thursday). Now on its third series, can you believe, and still as fresh as a newly laid egg.

It was James and Helen’s nuptials, and in the best tradition of wedding episodes since TV time began, it all went perfectly smoothly (not).

It wasn’t all japes and bouquet throwing. James’s dad, down from Glasgow for the wedding, was exhausted from the overtime he was working in the shipyards. War was on the horizon and the recruiting sergeants were out in force. As a vet, James has a reserved occupation and can stay at home, but will he?

Farewell, then, Jimmy Perez, who bowed out at the end of Shetland (BBC1, Wednesday). There has been no word of a new series, but there is plenty of life in this crime drama yet, particularly if Tosh, now entering her prime, inherits Perez’s pea coat.

This had not been a vintage series. The tale of international eco-terrorism had too many obvious red herrings and twists that could be seen coming a mile off.

Perhaps we were also getting fed up with Perez’s moping, and the will he/won’t he ever find happiness again storyline.

He did, or at least I think he did, you can never quite say for certain with Perez (admirably played by Douglas Henshall).

Maybe Perez will move to California and become a laughter therapist. Anyway, toodle-pip pal, and thanks for all the storylines featuring fish.