Life Of Riley (BBC1, 8pm); The Undercover Princes (BBC3, 10.30pm)

I NEVER thought it would happen.

But seeing Life Of Riley, the latest sit-com to grace BBC1 screens, I began to miss My Family. Now that’s a comedy I’d do anything to avoid watching, even agreeing to be locked up in the Big Brother house with Ulrika, Tina and Coolio if it meant I could avoid My Family.

Life Of Riley stars Caroline Quentin and Neil Dudgeon. They should know better.

Reading the script must have alerted them to the fact that there was something missing for a comedy – jokes.

The family are still settling into their new home. The place is stacked with boxes containing their possessions, including baby Rosie. Maddy Riley (that’s Quentin) is walking around in her husband’s pyjamas until they locate her clothes among the piles of boxes.

That’s one of the jokes. Another has stepson Danny caught smoking in his bedroom. His father Jim’s solution is to give him and his friend packs of cigarettes and insist they smoke them all.

“They’ll feel sick,” says Jim.

The friend’s parents aren’t impressed.

“So if Danny showed an interest in sex, you’d take him to a prostitute,” they ask Jim.

The high point of this alleged comedy finds Maddy on the top deck of a bus, carrying her baby and training binoculars on her son’s bedroom. She has a logical explanation. “I’m trying to see if a teenage boy is having sex in that room,”

she tells the bus conductor.

She’s worried that son Danny is indulging in the pleasures of the flesh.

Three bachelor princes from around the globe are hoping to partake of some of those in The Undercover Princes.

They’ve come to this country in search of love. They may well strike lucky as one member of the public canvassed for her views believes that “everyone likes a palace”.

The trio won’t be flaunting their status.

As the title implies, they’re incognito.

Well, in Brighton, if we’re being strictly accurate. They’ll do normal jobs and look after themselves for three weeks.

Brighton’s been selected as it has a higher number of single girls than other places. This won’t be a lot of use to His Highness Manvendra Singh Gohil, crown prince of Rajpipla. He’s come out as gay and, as he did it on Oprah’s US talk show, everyone knows.

His Royal Highness Prince Africa Zulu of Onkweni Royal House isn’t too pleased to find he’ll be sharing a house with a gay person. As he talks of chasing girls and hunting girls, we may assume that he holds old-fashioned views.

The household is completed by His Royal Highness Remigius Kanagarajah of the Royal House of Jaffna. That’s a bit of a mouthful, so thank goodness he decides to call himself Remi. He’s also brought his ceremonial sword, which made me wonder how he got it through customs.

THE programme just about manages to avoid looking like the makers are poking fun at the newcomers, although you may smile at some of their chat-up lines.

Africa, as he’s known, and Remi head out on the town in the “hunt for a woman”. Happily, Remi leaves his sword at home.

Posing as exchange students, they try to impress women in bars. I’d suggest that comments such as “I admire your height” and “Can I touch your hair?”

aren’t the best way to endear yourself to women.

Manvendra shaves off his moustache and hits the gay clubs. He has much better luck at meeting people. Before long he’s getting kissed by a man.

His worry is that his day job, cleaning in a hotel, will cramp his style. Making up a room that a chambermaid does in 30 minutes takes him two hours. He wonders if he’ll have any energy left to flirt with prospective boyfriends.

Meanwhile, Africa and Remi abandon a visit to a pole dancing establishment and wander the streets. “Do you want any business?” they’re asked by a woman.

Only after rejecting her offer do they realise she was a hooker.