SPOKE to someone the other day who had no idea the World Cup started on Sunday. Admittedly she was 84 and had never watched a match in her life, but still. The World Cup used to be A Big Thing. Especially on the telly. Weeks of wall-to-wall coverage catering for the fitba crazy.

Everyone else had to seek their entertainment elsewhere, which usually meant the pictures. The cinemas would be crammed with awful rom-coms that were meant to appeal to football widows and widowers. If nothing took your fancy it was back to the box and a search for a new programme that might have slipped through the net.

I see from next week’s schedules that things have not changed much. Sure, we can flit to Netflix and Disney and all things streaming, but not everyone has this option.

With that in mind, I have combed the listings and the catch-up services for non-football related programmes. As you will see, it’s slim pickings out there. (I believe in football terms this is called “getting your excuses in early”. Thanks to Scotland squads of the past for that nugget.)

Adrian Dunbar’s Coastal Ireland (Channel 5, Wednesday, 8pm) finds Supt Ted Hastings of AC-12 on his travels, promising to show viewers “some of my favourite places on Earth”.

First stop are the stunning cliffs of Slieve League in County Donegal. After covering the geological science bit with the help of a local guide, Dunbar tells us of his own memories of the place. One story in particular is unexpectedly poignant. It is clear from early on that Dunbar is not your run of the mill travel presenter, and his films (this is the second series) are all the better for that.

From the clifftops it is off to the beautiful gardens at Glenvaigh Castle, built to look like a romantic Highland retreat. After lunch at the acclaimed MacNean House and Restaurant in Blacklion it’s on to Dunbar’s home town of Enniskillen.

Everywhere scrubs up nicely, there’s plenty of history to chew on, and a session in the pub with some great music and a few of Dunbar’s pals. Join in at home by pretending you are there, sitting in that snug corner by the window, as the Guinness and the chat flows.

Did you watch This Life (iPlayer) first time around? The everyday tale of a group of young graduates, mostly lawyers, sharing a home in London was a huge hit when first shown in 1996-97. I dipped in to see if it still held up, and I’m now on series 2, episode 18, so I guess the answer is yes.

The gang was all there again: Anna the gallus barrister (Daniela Nardini) with her short skirts and a temper to match; posh Miles (Jack Davenport), Anna’s great love though she’ll be damned if she admits it; affable Egg (Andrew Lincoln) and his girlfriend Milly, Little Miss Perfect; and Warren (Jason Hughes), once the only gay in his Welsh village. Everyone had their favourite character, usually Anna.

A floating cast of other notables drifted in and out of the action, including Glasgow’s (and the world’s) Tony Curran as Lenny, boyfriend of moody but good-hearted Ferdy (Ramon Tikaram).

This Life gave a lot of young actors their big break, and the behind the camera crowd turned out to be a talented bunch besides. The producer, for example, was Jane Fallon, who went on to become the mega-selling author of today. She’s also the partner of Ricky Gervais, but we won’t mention that because defining a woman by her relationship with a man would be sexist.

New drama Tokyo Vice (BBC1, Tuesday, 9.10pm) is based on the memoir of the same name by Jake Adelstein which is in turn subtitled “An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan”. That pretty much sums it up.

Ansel Elgort plays the designer-suited Adelstein, who we meet on his way to a sit-down with some seriously heavy criminals.

From there we cut to two years earlier when the young American, fluent in Japanese, is trying to break into journalism. But the city’s main newspaper has never employed a foreigner, and its staff, who regard Adelstein as a tourist (or a spy) give him a chilly welcome.

The director is Michael Mann. As you would expect from the helmer of Collateral and Heat, nighttime Tokyo looks terrific, a place of neon-lit towers of glass and steel.

Elgort (best known for Baby Driver, West Side Story) is very watchable and the story is different enough to be intriguing.

But there is a lot here that seems to get lost in translation. The dialogue is often stilted, the tone all over the place, and Adelstein’s newspaper has the weirdest set-up I’ve ever seen. All eight episodes will be on iPlayer the same day if you want to see how it turns out. Think I’ll take my chances with the football.