ON last week’s Celebrity Gogglebox Stand Up to Cancer, there was a clip of Nigella – no surname required – doing and saying Nigella things. As she purred and stirred, the cameras looked at the faces of some of the male Goggleboxers. They were transfixed. Now, either they were all secret chefs just dying to hear from the high priestess of luxury grub about the best way to cook lamb, or they fancied her something silly.

Yes, two decades after she first started on the box, Nigella is as watchable as ever. Her new show, Nigella: Cook, Eat, Repeat (BBC2, Monday, 8pm), follows the familiar routine of her putting dishes together while flirting ceaselessly with the camera. This time, however, she is Covid-relevant, at one point introducing us to a dish she calls a “lockdown life enhancer” (wide noodles with lamb shank and aromatic broth, since you ask).

“We all know that cooking can be a balm in trouble times,” says Nigella. “But more, I believe that the kitchen can be both a sanctuary and a pleasure palace.” A sanctuary? With all those lit candles everywhere? I would not be able to relax until I had had a good squirt around with the fire extinguisher.

The dishes are very do-able, particularly the fish finger one, but the real delight lies in watching Nigella serve up a massive portion of food and more or less stick her face in it and inhale. You can’t be a great cook unless you love food, and Nigella loves food.

“Whenever I eat it,” she says of her broth, “I am instantly invigorated and at the same time suffused with shoulder-lowering serenity.” When was the last time your lot ever said that to you after scoffing egg and chips? Stir and simmer on, Nigella.

It probably comes as little surprise to learn that 12 pubs a week close in the UK. I would have thought it was more. Saving Britain’s Pubs with Tom Kerridge (BBC2, Thursday, 8pm) sets out to see what can be done to stem the tide of closures.

Filming began last November, halcyon days when all the landlords and landladies had to worry about was the simple matter of falling profits.

Kerridge finds it already tough going for some. In the case of one Cornwall pub, the owners can only pay themselves £75 a week each. Another establishment makes £3000 profit on a turnover of £350,000. The couple who run it have no pensions or property to their name. Meanwhile, days are growing longer and other jobs have to be taken just to make ends meet. Little wonder the tears soon flow.

Kerridge knows pubs, having three of his own, one of them with two Michelin stars. Not everyone can have Michelin stars, and Kerridge’s suggestions are more practical and achievable, such as refurbishing the place, or putting up prices. As he says, there is no single answer to saving pubs, but some of the difficulties, including being a tied house where the brewery dictates prices, are common to many.

The pubs Kerridge visits are in Cornwall, Gloucester and London. The week after he will be in Stirlingshire. He makes a good presenter of these “business makeover” shows because he is as savvy about the financials as he is about the more creative parts of running eateries. He has been there, done that, and paid himself less than minimum wage till he and his wife got their business up and running.

At the end of episode one, walls have been knocked through, views opened up, low spending dominoes players have been moved and prices put up (few of the regulars even notice). Everything looks to be moving in the right direction, and then a certain pandemic walks in through the pub doors. Expect more tears next week. Given Kerridge’s establishments must also have been hit by lockdown, how will he fare?

It is proving to be a memorable year for a certain long-running BBC2 quiz show. Whether it’s the Covid-conditions filming (with clear plastic screens separating the contestants), or a long-haired, spectacle-wearing Jeremy Paxman taking the “magic grandpa” title from Jeremy Corbyn, University Challenge is making its mark once again.

Maybe that is why it has been chosen over the newbie Only Connect for University Challenge: Children in Need Special (BBC2, Thursday, 10pm). Kirsty Wark, an old mucker of Paxman’s from their Newsnight days, is in the quiz master’s chair, and very comfy she looks, too. Should Jezza be worried?

In place of university teams are two television tribes: Team ITV and Team BBC. Steve Pemberton, Dara O’Briain, Anita Rani and Dane Baptiste turn out for Auntie, with Iain Stirling, Fay Ripley, Charlene White, and Joel Dommett lining up for the commercial lot.

Given the size of O’Briain’s brain, the BBC team would appear to have the advantage, but never underestimate those plucky upstarts at ITV.