Last week, our attention was on man's best friend, as exuberant pups bounded across our screens in the ninth Puppy Bowl extravaganza. This week, it's the turn of their arch enemies.
BBC Horizon documentary Secret Life of Cats (TVB Pearl, Tuesday at 8pm) explores the extraordinary abilities of the fabulous feline. Unfortunately, this isn't a revelatory exposé on devious mogs and their master plan to take over the world, more an in-depth look at how predatory killing machines have adapted to a life of domestication.
These lazy, self-absorbed, untrainable bundles of fur have become the most popular pet in the world (except for, perhaps, Vietnam; see page 24) and maybe one of the reasons is because they can and do save lives. As reveals the narrator, British comic actor Martin Clunes, us cat owners are 30 per cent less likely to suffer from heart disease, due to the calming influence of our pets. Apparently, stroking them can lower blood pressure and boost the immune system.
For anyone who wants to better understand the powers of cats, there's plenty to sink your teeth into. From the cat that helps to guide a blind labrador around the house to one that rescued its owners by alerting them to a gas leak, super-powered senses and unique social skills make for fascinating creatures. Watch this and you'll never look at that fur ball slinking down the alley in the same way again.
Obviously, the bright sparks in TV land have never heard of the old adage "too many cooks spoil the broth". This week, Nat Geo People will premiere A Marriage of Flavours (Tuesday at 7.55pm), an addition to a roster of fresh cooking shows that includes Sara's New Nordic Kitchen (tomorrow at 8.50pm) and Ariana's Persian Kitchen (Friday at 8.50pm).
A Marriage of Flavours stars husband and wife duo Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, owners of one of London's hottest Middle Eastern cafes, Honey & Co. Not only do the warm, witty couple cook up a storm with their simple and delicious dishes, they also take a wry look at the significance food has in personal relationships.
This week's premiere is all about mint, which may not sound exciting, but the show works because of the banter between the hosts, and their cooking talents (Srulovich was head chef at Ottolenghi and Packer executive chef at Nopi, both of which belong to Yotam Ottolenghi's London-based stable of eateries). The couple make for a refreshing change from the usual celebrity chef, as does Sara La Fountain.
The California-born, Finnish-American chef and cookery writer (above right) continues her journey into Scandinavian cuisine in an attempt to prove there is far more to Nordic flavours than pickled fish and potatoes. Having spent a month-long road trip there last summer and experienced some truly awful school-dinner-style buffets, I believe La Fountain has her work cut out.
This week, it's all about "food orgasms", with La Fountain roasting deer and Brussels sprouts, and adding her own twist to a classic Finnish treat, Runeberg cakes, which sees her go all groany, a la Nigella.
Skipping merrily from Scandinavia to Iran, we join cookbook author Ariana Bundy as she eats her way through Persian delicacies and looks to rediscover her heritage. The series was self-funded and filmed over two years, and this week's episode sees the Dubai-based chef travel to Kashan, just in time for the annual rose festival and to pay a visit to the city's spectacular bazaar, before creating exotic feasts.
More of a travel series than a cookery show - hardly a ground-breaking formula - Ariana's Persian Kitchen is a loving look at a lesser seen country and culture, and, although it's unlikely to please Ramsay fans, it might just be your cup of Iranian chai.