THE market for TV historians is crowded and fiercely competitive. Drop your guard for a second and Dan Snow or Bettany Hughes will be in the door and taking your gig faster than you can don a pair of those special white gloves all in the trade must have. Lucy Worsley made her name by combining immense knowledge – she is the chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces – with a steadfast dedication to raiding the dressing up box.

True to form, it is not long into Lucy Worsley’s Royal Photo Album before the blonde bobbed one has a crown on her head to illustrate the thinking behind Cecil Beaton’s coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth. As Worsley explains, photography has rarely been a simple matter for the royals. Her thesis, illustrated with lots of examples and contributions from experts, is that the British monarchy has used photography as “its very own superpower”. The coronation portrait was designed by Beaton to project an image of glamour, youth and power. There was a touch of religion thrown in too, with a strong light aimed at the Queen’s head giving her a halo effect.

The photograph was meant to tell a dreary Britain, still suffering under rationing, that a new day was coming. To the world, it said Britannia was back. Worsley trots through the various chapters in royal photography, from the first member of the family to have his picture taken (Prince Albert in 1842), right up to the present day with Meghan and Harry attempting to take back image control via Instagram. The obvious stuff is covered, including Diana and her love-hate relationship with the camera, but there is plenty of fresh material as well, including a look at how Princess Alexandra, then daughter-in-law to Queen Victoria, became a skilled photographer, the Kate of her day.

We also see the determined push to make the royals look just like any other family under the guidance of “Studio Lisa”, a partnership between photographers Lisa and Jimmy Sheridan. Fans of The Crown will enjoy the section on Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. Margaret initially turned to the young photographer in the hope he could give her star quality. The couple clicked in every sense, but just as the early photos captured the beginnings of their relationship so later ones signalled its gloomy end. Worsley’s style is slightly naughty but nice, and of course there is the frequent dressing up.

All that chirpiness can be exhausting after a while, but fortunately she only has an hour. I know what you are thinking: coronavirus, about as amusing as having norovirus on the night bus to London. So far, television has done its best to keep us occupied during the lockdown with everything from Jamie Oliver to mini-dramas in the shape of STV’s Isolation Stories (on catch up and well worth a look).

Generating laughs about such a grim matter has thus far proved beyond the talents of the usual suspects, the current season of Have I Got News for You being a case in point. But cometh the hour, cometh the ideal humourist and all that: Charlie Brooker is back. Hard to believe his last Wipe was four years ago. Too busy with his phenomenally successful dystopian drama Black Mirror to deal with the humdrum of British politics, he returns to BBC2 screens with the suitably titled Antiviral Wipe.

Given the topicality of the show, no preview was available at the time of writing. If he sticks to a successful formula, Brooker won’t be laughing at the virus crisis but at the meeja’s coverage of it. Although he is as much part of the TV business as anyone who earns a crust from it, Brooker has a sharp eye for its shortcomings, and he won’t hold back when it comes to lampooning the industry’s excesses. Looking at the media also gives him cover to run the rule over politicians and their response to the crisis. We can look forward, too, to catching up with Philomena Cunk (Diane Morgan), the commentator who likes to speak first and engage her brain later.

No idea where these TV types get their crazy ideas from. Having worked his way through reams of virus crisis footage for the new show, Brooker was in need of an antidote. As he told Mark Lawson in an interview for the Radio Times, he found it in what might be considered an unexpected place. “I’ve decided I really, really like Gregg Wallace. Masterchef is my comfort watch. But I watched an episode in which they were all eating off the same plate; contestants were making food with their bare hands!” The stuff of nightmares – take it from a satirist who knows.

Lucy Worsley’s Royal Photo Album, BBC4, Wednesday, 9pm; Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe, BBC2, Thursday, 9pm.