LISTEN carefully, can you hear it? That distant sound of flapping, be it wings or gums. The low hum of egos coming in to land. It can only herald the return of the lesser spotted broadcast journalist. Like migrating birds in reverse, they go from warm lands to cold as autumn arrives.

The G7 summit in Biarritz would have made a nice entry point for correspondents keen to ease themselves back into the fray. Despite Boris Johnson denying the get-together was a “wonderful boondoggle in some posh hotel” the azure skies and millpond sea told their own tales.

There were worst shifts to pull, as Sophy Ridge found when she returned to Sky News’s studios in Isleworth, west London, for a bank holiday Sunday shift on her titular show (not that it was a holiday in Scotland, mind).

With Andrew Marr not back till next week, the way was clear for Ridge to fill her boots. Her guests, including Barry Gardiner, Shadow International Trade Secretary, and UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, while not exactly A-list, were near the top of the B-crowd. Like Ridge, and many a new kid turning up for the first day back, both were sporting new haircuts, tans, and a rested air. One wondered how long that would last.

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In the case of Mr Gardiner, about as long as a 99 cone on a scorchio bank holiday. Gardiner is generally good value as an interviewee, particularly if the questioner can find the right button to press. In this case the big red round thing was marked “Jo Swinson”, although Ridge did not even have to refer specifically to the Lib Dem MP for East Dunbartonshire for the balloon to go up. Raising a meeting Jeremy Corbyn will be holding tomorrow with parliamentary opponents of a no deal Brexit, Ridge asked if it was a red line that the Labour leader should head a caretaker government.

“Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of the opposition,” sighed Mr Gardiner. “It was extremely petulant of Jo Swinson the other day to come out and dismiss this proposal in the way that she did. It sounded as if she couldn’t take yes for an answer. She’s been saying, and the Liberal Democrats and others have been saying for so long, ‘Look, we need to have a second referendum, and Remain needs to be on the ballot paper.’ They are now being offered a fail-safe, parliamentary procedural way of delivering that and they are saying [lapses into Moaning Minnie voice], ‘Oh well we’re not going to co-operate if Jeremy Corbyn is going to be the person leading it’.”

As mood music for tomorrow’s meeting it was more thrash metal than easy listening.

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Donald Trump and Boris Johnson had made it easy for the editors of early news bulletins by holding a breakfast meeting in Biarritz. The President spoke of the UK having an [EU] anchor round its ankle at the moment. A positively buoyant Mr Johnson lost no time in trying to press home an advantage. "Talking of the anchor, Donald, what we want is for our ships to take freight, say, from New York to Boston, which for the moment they're not able to do." Earlier, he gave a long list of goods the UK was just itching to start shipping to America, including shower trays and Melton Mowbray pork pies. What pictures that conjured up.

The president smiled when asked if he had any advice for Mr Johnson on Brexit. “He needs no advice. He’s the right man for the job. I’ve been saying that for a long time. Didn’t make your predecessor very happy but I’ve been saying it for a long time.” A diplomatic silence might have been just the ticket for Mr Johnson at that point, but given the choice between offending Theresa May or telling the President how grateful he was for the compliment, there was no contest.

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Mr Trump used to be as warm towards Canada’s Trudeau and the summit host, French premier Macron, as he was with Mr Johnson. The UK PM might ponder how those earlier bromances turned out before he pitches his hopes of a trade deal too high.

Mr Johnson’s good mood held throughout a round of interviews with the BBC, ITV and Sky.

ITV political editor Robert Peston pressed him on Sunday paper reports that the Government was threatening to slash the “divorce settlement” with the EU from £39 billion. Sounds like a threat, said Peston. “It’s not a threat,” said the PM. “It’s a simple statement of reality.”

Using the same coastal backdrop for her interview, BBC chief political correspondent Vicky Price extracted from the PM a downgraded assessment of the chances of a no-deal Brexit. From “a million to one” the situation was now “touch and go.” He also gave a guarantee that medicines would get through if there was a no deal Brexit.

What many were keen to see was how Mr Johnson would be with Channel 4 News. The channel’s head of news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, did not exactly miss and hit the wall when she gave the MacTaggart lecture last week at the Edinburgh TV Festival. At one point she called Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn “cowards” for giving broadcast interviews a body swerve and communicating via social media.

In the event the Channel 4 interview was cancelled. In a tweet, the programme said one senior advisor told producers it was due to Ms Byrne’s speech. The reason given to Robert Peston when he quizzed Mr Johnson about the no show was that he did not have time. Of all the broadcast interviews in all the world, eh? As another of his predecessors once said, it’s a funny old world.