EXCEPT for viewers in Scotland. It was a phrase to chill the marrow, often for good reason. Bolted on after some juicy tease, it confirmed that whatever the rest of the UK was about to enjoy, here in Scotland we were tying up the swings in the playground and settling down to a 25-part series on weaving.

I’m delighted to say those days are largely over. Certainly, some viewers switching over to DNA Journey (ITV1 Tuesday, now on STV Player), may have been disappointed not to learn immediately what the distant relatives of Hugh Bonneville and John Bishop got up to a couple of centuries ago.

But this time the nation had lucked out. Never mind Bonneville and Bishop’s DNA journey, we were about to venture into the heart of darkness that is the SNP leadership race. Fetch the flaming torch, mother!

Scotland’s First Minister: The STV Debate (STV, Tuesday) found the trio of hopefuls lined up at Perspex lecterns. Now, we could bore on about the brutalisation and trivialisation of politics, as exemplified by TV debates, but sometimes it really does pay to let politicians loose in a studio and have them knock seven bells out of each other. Sure enough, by the end of this debate the plastic pulpits were not the only things viewers had seen right through.

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Jeezo Kate Forbes is tiny. Terrifying, too. Tasked with cross-examining Humza Yousaf she went straight for the legs. “When you were transport minister the trains were never on time, when you were justice minister, police were strained to breaking point, and now as health minister, we’ve got record high waiting times. What makes you think you can do a better job as First Minister?” In this house the dog whimpered and ran behind the sofa. Humza looked as though he fancied doing the same.

Ash Regan continued to look like a Hitchcock heroine trapped in a nightmare of someone else’s making. She talked faster and faster as if to bring the bad dream to an end quicker, but there was no escape. As for Humza, he looked right at home with his podium. If the First Minister thing does not work out he can always apply to be a contestant on Catchphrase.

Independence got a look in somewhere, but it was way too late in the day for a sensible discussion on anything. A 10.10pm finish, on a school night? It wasn’t like there was a teachers strike the next day and we could have a lie-in. Not that there was much mention of the public sector strikes. Too busy with the blood-letting to bother with such mundane matters.

STV’s political editor Colin Mackay did a top job holding the coats, realising early doors that the best tactic here was to stand back and let the teeth and fur fly. There are two more of these jousts next week, unless the police boot the door in and stop the fun.

Unforgotten (STV, Monday) continues to bed in nicely. I am enjoying watching Sunny step up his war against the new boss, Stressie Jessie, giving her the full-on side-eye like some surly teenager. Easy does it though, mate. Would Cassie approve? Probably.

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DS Jenn Townsend in The Bay (STV, Wednesday) was a more straightforward character, which was handy because almost everyone else in the Morecambe-set crime drama seemed to be hiding something. From the builder whose house was set on fire to the police chief taking luvvy dovey phone calls, they were all at it. Except Jenn (Marsha Thomason) of course, who is as solid and reliable as The Bay. It’s a crowded market out there for female-led police dramas, but Daragh Carville’s creation, back for a fourth series, still earns its spot.

There was scandal and shame aplenty in George Michael: Outed (Channel 4, Monday-Tuesday), but not where you might have expected it to be. The two-part documentary was built around the singer’s 1998 arrest for lewd behaviour in a public loo in Beverly Hills. Wise heads predicted the end for Michael’s career. Except he did not see it that way. Instead of going into hiding, he went on the front foot, getting his side of the story out and playing the media at its own game. If the News of the World had an exclusive running on Sunday, Michael would spike their guns by talking to CNN on Friday. His fight back was seen as a turning point in the media’s treatment of gay people, which had hitherto been poisonous.

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Outed was rather a guddle. It tried to do too much over two hours when one would have done, and it showed no mercy to the old tabloid warhorses who turned out to huff and puff about “shame” and “hypocrisy”. Some will reckon they deserved the pasting. As one ex-editor of the Sun said: ”It wasn’t anybody’s finest hour.”