There was much to note in Putin v The West (BBC2, Monday), a three-part documentary about the Russian president and his bloody adventures abroad. His love of long tables is nothing new; he lies as a matter of routine; and you really wouldn’t want him as a neighbour.

What came to the fore was his staying power. David Cameron (he was the future once), Francois Hollande (who bellyached about curly sandwiches being served at an all-night meeting), Jose Manuel Barroso, all the old faces fluttered in and out. A decade on from the film’s starting point of 2013, only Putin remains in power.

One has to hand it to series producer Norma Percy and her team; no one can set up an interview room quite so impressively. It looks good on screen and flatters the speakers into sharing confidences.

Yet while the programme was suitably detailed about the diplomatic comings and goings, there was not much sense in the first instalment of Putin the man. A former envoy said: “He is not brusque but not friendly”. We were rather hoping for more. As for Boris Johnson’s claim that Putin threatened to dispatch a missile with the former PM’s name on it – denied by the Kremlin – I bow to the wisdom of the Daily Star’s headline on the matter: “Liar’s a liar says liar.”

Russell T Davies’ three part Nolly (ITVX/STV Player, all episodes available) was a hoot and a half. The tale of Noele Gordon and her brutal sacking from Crossroads, it was funny and affectionate but knew where to aim a kick at those deserving of it. In Nolly’s case that meant the male TV executives she accused of bringing her down just because she was a woman, and because they could.

At first Nolly seemed like a regular horror. No one dared to sit in the chair belonging to “the Godmother”. She was curt, demanding, mercurial. Bit by bit, Davies made her more human. She knew everyone’s birthday at ATV, always had time for her fans, and loved her few friends. By the end of three hours she had gone from the Wicked Queen to Snow White.

As for her great love, Crossroads, Davies had a lot of fun capturing the baked-in insanity of a long-running soap and its increasingly bizarre plotlines.

At moments his scenes came close to outdoing Acorn Antiques, Victoria Wood’s tribute to the Midlands soap. Praise indeed.

Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t a perfect visual fit for Gordon – those cheekbones for a start – but in spirit the two were sisters under the skin.

Claiming any resemblance between Hotel Portofino (STV, Friday) and Crossroads would be naughty and inaccurate. Yes, they are both set in places people stay, and each has a grande dame proprietor (here it’s Natascha McElhone’s Bella), but ITV’s new drama had the great good sense to be set on the Italian Riviera rather than Birmingham.

The comparison its makers would much prefer is Downton Abbey, albeit on a model village-sized scale. The first episode boasted not one but two snooty women guests, on the grounds, presumably, that you cannot have too many Maggie Smith dowager countess types.

There was also a bluntly spoken but warm-hearted cook, Betty, who was still getting used to the exotic fare at her disposal. “Ooh, olive oil! Whatever next?” Wait till she finds out about garlic bread.

Added to the mix was an assortment of good-looking twenty-somethings who you just know are going to take their clothes off a lot; a cad of a dad; and, this being Italy in the 1920s, a gaggle of fascists. A glass of Friday night fizz, albeit Prosecco to Downton’s Champagne.

Building Britain's Superhomes (Channel 4, Wednesday) introduced us to Guy Phoenix. He creates “palaces for the super rich”, said the narrator Philip Glenister, or as Guy put it, “big **** off houses”.

Guy swore a lot and laughed at his own observations. He seemed so desperate to be “a character”, the building trade’s equivalent of the office joker, it seemed harsh not to go along with it, but needs must.

I was more interested in Mrs Phoenix, who was seen only briefly: the first time waving as she wafted into her mansion, and the second in a private jet going to the couple’s home in the South of France. She said nothing, he too much.

Everything was about size with Guy. Massive rooms, massive lights, massive staircases, massive shark tank (he put one in his first home to get noticed). One thing though: I would take his small team of builders any day over the usual lot seen on Grand Designs and other shows. Guy’s guys were in and out faster than Kevin McCloud can say, “Winter is coming and the roof is still not on.” See Guy? Size isn’t everything.