WE’RE all holding hands. Fingers white-knuckle tight. We’re squeezed onto sofas, our collective bums so close it’s as if Hattie Jacques and Bernard Manning are sharing a DFS two-seater.

What’s causing this closeness? It’s the shared experience of drama television, which has come about thanks to a new improved product.

Television, of course, has long held us. In the early 1960s Coronation Street commanded 23 million who watched Ena, Martha and Minnie snuggle up in The Snug to bitch about the “tart” that was Elsie Tanner and her artful dodger son Denis.

The Street worked because it was real, with entirely believable characters, as did subsequent event television such as Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and Boys from The Blackstuff.

But then we found other things to do. Fishing. Zumba. Cinema. But then cinema began catering for 14-year-olds who crave films in which all the characters wear tights.

Now, we’re back to television, and it’s not just because we’re relatively skint (yet, paradoxically can afford TV screens bigger than Boris Johnson’s ego.) It’s because TV drama has become powerful again. Eleven million of us couldn’t go to work last month without debating whether Keeley Hawes’ character in Bodyguard had been stiffed (even though Radio Times dedicated a cover to her demise). And there isn’t a newspaper which has not puffed BBC 1’s follow-up drama, The Cry.

Poldark pulls in a healthy seven million, and Broadchurch a very decent 10m, (in this multi-channel world). But why? Thanks to HBO and Netflix and Amazon raising the bar, content is king. Thanks to Breaking Bad and House of Cards we demand drama that reflects the world around us – yet is one step removed from reality.

Yes, we haven’t yet created The Wire or The Sopranos but McMafia at least reflected London as the virtual Russian state it is, where free range oligarchs play Monopoly and have enemies dropped from balconies onto spiked railings or suffocated in zipped up bags. (Yes, it had a pretty rubbish ending, but it was nearly good.)

A Very English Scandal, however, about the Thorpe affair, was wonderful, a historical tale of political loyalty – but so redolent of the fickleness of modern day politics: Trump- Kavanaugh? Salmond-Sturgeon?

And allegory, thankfully, is back with a vengeance. The Prisoner once tapped into the counter-culture rebellion of the late 1960s. The Fugitive reflected the American issues of freedom and movement, in an existential framework.

Now television is repositioning the dark themes of the day. In recent years, Dexter was an allegory for the crime and punishment debate. Right now, cult drama Killing Eve offers a subtext for relationships between women; sometimes compelled to be together, yet in competition, one hoping to emulate the other – yet just maybe love to have the other offed. A wee hint of Theresa May and Penny Mordaunt, perhaps?

Meanwhile, big TV hits such as ITV’s Strangers and BBC’s Keeping Faith ask how we psychologically profile our partner. They question marriage; can we really know the person we pledge our troth to? (Whatever a troth is?)

Television is adding great layers. Doctor Who offers a perfect platform for gender fluidity, while Sherlock investigates mental health issues, of OCD, and drug abuse.

Yes, you may argue that Dr Foster was a load of old tosh, and it was. Yet it still pulled in nearly nine million, its success predicated on the women’s movement ethos – a strong, powerful, educated female rails against the abusive louse of a husband when he leaves her for younger gorgeousness. (The argument slips a bit when she ravishes her ex all over the kitchen worktop.)

Yet, the same writer Mike Bartlett’s BBC1 drama Press is tight, reflective and and extremely well acted.

That’s not to say some of the allegory we watch doesn’t irritate the eyes worse than a rogue midgie when you’re out on your bike. Picnic At Hanging Rock was an attempt to symbolise the power of modern female sexuality – but was as convincing as a teacher’s attempt to argue algebra will one day be useful.

Vanity Fair was poor, despite aspirations to present modern-day dilemma in a 19th century context; should I have sex with him even though I don’t fancy him, but he drives a Ferrari? At least both were trying to be socially relevant.

Now, you may claim that drama can attract decent figures without clever allegorical intent, such as soaps. But if we take BBC Scotland’s River City as an example it’s clear the storyliners don’t simply nick story ideas out of the papers these days.

Shellsuit Bob’s inability to produce a child was clearly a comment about the growing emasculation of men. Gangster Lenny Murdoch undoubtably represents the uncontained control and power of Google and Amazon.

OK, maybe that’s stretching the argument a little. But that doesn’t mean the arrival of the new Line of Duty won’t be more anticipated than the arrival of the first grandchild. Or even Santa.

Come on, you have to admit it’s close.