WITH both shows featuring chummy mummies it was inevitable that Maternal (STV, Monday) would be compared to Motherland, but there the similarities end. The central characters in Maternal are a paediatrician, a surgeon, and a registrar. Imagine giving the Motherland lot access to scalpels and drugs. Carnage.

The career choices work a treat in Jacqui Honess-Martin’s moreish drama. If these accomplished, capable women are stressing over going back to work after maternity leave, what chance anyone else? Straight from the off, viewers are on their side, and that’s before we find out what burdens they have to bear, including a wayward spouse who is now the boss.

TV’s previous attempt to deal with the subject of maternity leave was The Replacement, a psychological thriller drenched in paranoia. Maternal turns the dial down ten notches and is all the better for it. Plus the dialogue is authentically sarky, as when a consultant, pressing a reluctant medic into being on call her first day back, tells her: “We’ll organise a clap.”

It used to be the law on British television that at least one sitcom had to be set in Liverpool, or written by a Liverpudlian: The Liver Birds; Bread; The Brothers McGregor; Butterflies; Brookside (latterly). A head start, then, for The Family Pile (STV, Tuesday), the tale of four recently bereaved sisters selling the junk-stuffed parental home. There was a decent cast too, including Alexandra Mardell (Emma from Coronation Street).

Just one problem: someone had forgotten to add laughs to the mix. That left plenty of time to ponder why each family member had a different Scouse accent. It would have been better to bring back The Liver Birds, Britain’s answer to Sex and the City, but without the sex.

The Girl in the Cellar (Channel 5, Tuesday) had the difficult job of revisiting the case of Natascha Kampusch without seeming as exploitative as most of the coverage at the time. Kampusch was the 10-year-old Austrian girl snatched off the street and held prisoner for eight years. The story went global, and while the initial response was sympathetic, public opinion turned against her.

The film set out to profile the kidnapper, who killed himself when Kampusch managed to escape, through questioning his victim. As part of that process, the room she was held in was reconstructed, as if she could ever forget her ordeal.

It seemed gimmicky, yet at the same time seeing the tiny space she had to live in, and her collection of broken dolls and other bits and bobs, brought home her plight in heartbreaking detail.

What saved us all, viewer and filmmakers alike, from feeling we were dabbling in someone else’s pain was Kampusch herself. When the interview became too personal she politely but firmly shut the questioning down. It was this unwillingness to be forever a victim that led to the initial public backlash. Even today, mention of her ordeal leads to the sewers opening on social media. However she has managed it, Kampusch, now 34, is a survivor. Good luck to her.

Back on the subject of accents, it has been brought to our attention that Alan Cumming can currently be found committing linguistic GBH on his mother tongue in the US version of The Traitors (on iPlayer now, BBC3 from Tuesday 24 January, and BBC1, from 25 January).

This, the original show, is almost identical to the UK Traitors, save for Cumming as the host and many of the contestants hailing from reality TV (including Kate from Below Deck). Cumming seems to have prepped for the part by watching Brigadoon on a loop for a year. Behave yerself man.

The High Life legend might have been a better fit on Love Island (ITV2, from Monday). Probably too old, which is exactly how most of us feel watching this inescapable juggernaut of a reality show. Among this season’s love lambs to the slaughter was one who said he would never date a woman whose feet were larger than size five.

Another chap, in response to the question, “What’s the oldest you’ll go?” shocked the others by saying 40. One year the producers should swap the usual bikini-clad, stiletto-wearing lot for women of a certain age in their comfiest cossies. The men’s faces alone would be comedy gold. And no, I'm not volunteering.

Everything and everyone were pronounced “unreal”, which is a pretty astute assessment. Set in a villa in South Africa with a new host, Maya Jama, in charge, it was all a very long way from Cilla and her sliding screen in Blind Date, which is no bad thing really.