As one of the dwindling band of Tories fortunate enough to keep his seat, it was mere minutes into his acceptance speech before Rishi Sunak took responsibility for his party’s epic loss and said sorry.

Eight hours into her debut as a TV election night pundit on ITV1’s Election 2024 Live, Nicola Sturgeon was still refusing to do the same.

There she sat, side by side with auld enemies turned telly pals George Osborne and Ed Balls, metaphorically belting out Je ne regrette rien as if her life and future telly career depended on it.

The jacket was pinky-red, Barbie meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the face on our Caledonian Piaf did not once match it. Had the title not already been taken you could have named the programme 'Shameless' and be done with it.

For TV folk, election night is every Christmas, birthday and maths exam rolled into one. It is the time to bring out the big guns, which in ITV’s case turned out, controversially, to mean giving Scotland’s First Minister a shift while she remains part of a still live Police Scotland inquiry into SNP finances.

On social media the mob bayed its disapproval. In the studio, anchorman Tom Bradby was dancing round the subject like Anton du Beke trying to wrangle Ann Widdecombe into an American Smooth.

“Nicola,” he said gingerly - she was always just Nicola to Tom - “a lot has happened since you left office, some of it we can’t talk about”. Duh, you think, Tom?

Finally, he got to the point - wasn’t this disastrous night for the SNP her fault?

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Breaking news alert: it was not. Dear me, no. Forgetting her solemn and recently taken oath to punditry, Ms Strugeon immediately switched to politician mode and ignored the question.

Even when she did address the subject, it was to portray the SNP as the casualties of a general “kick the Tories” mood among the UK electorate.

This was “not me guv” part one. In not me guv part two, ITV reporter Peter Smith had a go at her insistence on putting independence front and centre of the party’s pitch to voters. “I think Peter’s getting a wee bit over-excited there,” she said when the cameras cut back to the studio. That was Peter cut down to size.

Next to have a go was Joanna Cherry, one of Ms Sturgeon’s most effective critics, who had just lost her seat in Edinburgh South West. Asked what had gone wrong with the party, Ms Cherry said there had been too much focus on identity politics and not enough on independence. Plus a style of leadership that “didn’t brook discussion or argument”. Who could she mean?

It was an electrifying moment in what was an exhilarating night. But Ms Sturgeon was still having none of it.

“I should point out that Joanna’s three election victories were all delivered under my leadership,” she said. Somehow, I don’t think those two are destined to be besties any time soon.

On BBC One Scotland, Ms Sturgeon’s former aide and still bestie, Liz Lloyd, was defending her old boss’s career change. “You’ve got to move on with your life,” she told Martin Geissler. If George Osborne can sit in a TV studio why can’t Nicola Sturgeon, she asked? Er, because he wasn’t arrested, questioned and released without charge pending further investigation?

Perhaps the best jibe of the night came from one JK Rowling, out there in viewer land, who was quick to pounce after the 10pm exit poll showed the SNP were in for a seriously bad night. “Nobody likes Schadenfreude,” she tweeted faux-innocently. “That said, Nicola Sturgeon’s expression as the exit poll results were announced …” Below was a GIF of a character in Dumb and Dumber laughing hysterically.

Martin GeisslerMartin Geissler (Image: free)

For most of the night into morning, the former First Minister tried to play the straight woman to a right pair of jokers in Balls and Osborne. Think of her as Glenda Jackson to their Eric and Ernie, Princess Fiona to their Shrek and Donkey, but without the laughs. Definitely without the laughs.

On the whole, ITV1 had a good night, keeping the focus tight on covering the results as they came in and breaking up the punditry with interviews, the best of which was with Neil Kinnock, who toured the studios like the hero of the night, picking up plaudits for beginning Labour’s recovery all those decades ago.

On network BBC One there was the usual BBC overmanning, with Laura Kuenssberg and Clive Myrie co-presenting when one of them would have done. As TV pairings go it was less of a stroll and more of a three-legged race.

Channel 4 was where the cool kids gathered, with Emily Maitlis, the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer, showing that her true home remains television rather than podcast. Winner of the night? For sheer indefatigability, it had to be Martin Geissler and Kirsty Wark on BBC One Scotland.

Wherever you looked, be it Sky News, Channel 4 or BBC One Scotland, there were Scots, either reporting or giving their tuppenceworth for probably more than a tuppence. You takes your money, etc. Nicola Sturgeon certainly did so, though whether she delivered value for money is, like the politician herself, something else.