The Repair Shop is “love, heritage crafts and communities – that’s what it’s all about and that’s why it’s so popular”, says host Jay Blades as he reflects on how the show has captured hearts across the nation over the last six years.

The BBC One show has become a fan favourite since it first aired in 2017 with its team of experts crafters admired for their abilities to restore precious personal items and for putting viewers at ease.

“You know what you’re going to get when you watch the show. You’re going to get community working together and doing something for people and it’s just going to be a nice feeling”, he adds.

“We’re like a blanket, we just wrap a blanket around you, we’re blanket TV.”

Following the show’s recent success at the Bafta TV Awards, where they took home the best daytime prize for their special which saw the King pay the barn a visit as part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations, Blades and his team are back for four new episodes.

Among them will be two specials which mark the 75th anniversary of both the arrival of the Empire Windrush to the UK and the birth of the NHS.

What should viewers expect?

“Magic, magic and then one more thing – magic,” Blades boasts during the video call.

The experts, who have more than 600 years of experience collectively, will transform another batch of priceless pieces of family history including four items which celebrate the contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants.

A British passport that tells the tale of a father’s heritage, a suitcase which holds memories of a momentous journey and an antique clock are among the beloved items which will be getting The Repair Shop treatment.

Patrick Vernon, who led the campaign for Windrush Day to be recognised annually, also makes an appearance in the barn with a radiogram that once belonged to his late friend Eddie Noble, a Second World War veteran who was born in Jamaica and settled in the UK following his service in the RAF.

Blades admits he was a bit starstruck when meeting Vernon as he regards him as a “really important” figure within the history of Windrush.

“What he’s done for the Windrush is just unbelievable. He’s gone out there tirelessly, constantly pushing the message, making sure there’s monuments in certain places,” the TV host says.

“So within the black community he’s like a legend because he’s done so much.

“To meet him was just like ‘wow’, there’s not many people I take my hat off to and he’s one of those.”

Former Children’s Laureate and bestselling author of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen, also brings the team a significant piece of Covid pandemic documentation during the special NHS-dedicated episode.

Rosen was one of the many patients who became seriously ill with the virus after contracting it in March 2020. He was in a coma for 40 days, intensive care for 48 and in hospital for three months.

During this time, NHS staff kept a detailed record of his care, the only documentation he has of this difficult time as his family were unable to visit.

These notes, along with the many letters, drawings and notes that his young fans sent to him while he was in hospital, will be transformed from a messy bundle into a poignant capsule of this time.

Blades admits it is a particularly emotional renovation as “you could see how big this book was, the time that he spent and the care that the NHS workers did for him and also his family who were unable to see him at the time.

“If anybody who has gone through something very similar to that, not being able to see their loved ones, it will touch on a nerve most definitely.”

Considering the ethos of the health service and the show, he adds: “That is exactly what The Repair Shop is all about, it’s coming together and doing stuff for other people.”

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will also feature in the series as he places faith in organ restorer David Burville to revive a treasured harmonium, the subject of one of his poems.

Burville says having their unique skill sets brought into the public domain and to be recognised is “wonderful” as some of the skills are endangered.

“It is life-changing for us, but it’s also so good to guarantee longevity for these crafts and skills and ensure that the interest in them is there and that hopefully there are people to go into them further down the line,” he adds.

Among the other cherished items presented to the team for some TLC will be a sculpture by a prominent Czech artist, a ventriloquist’s dummy that is over 100 years old and a pair of children’s leather clogs.

As the team of crafters get to work, Blades believes his role is to help put those who step into the barn at ease and make them feel like they are talking to a friend.

One of the secrets to his approach is that he has never followed a script from day one as he prefers to react naturally to the stories in the moment.

“My job role is just to make sure that I get the story out. I don’t want to fill up the airspace and have my voice all over it, I just want to ask the question and allow someone to just tell me all about the items and about their experience with the item,” he adds.

“A lot of the stories are sad but at the same time I think they’re a joyous time, because people want to talk about these things and we should all know about what other people have gone through for the benefit of us.”

The Repair Shop returns to BBC One in June.