ANDREW Marr had some good news. “Hurrah,” cried a grateful nation, but fairly softly, mind, because it was 9am on Sunday and sensible people were still sleeping.

Would he tell us that the last three years had been an elaborate exercise in virtual reality and we could go back to the happy days before Brexit? Had Jo Swinson changed her mind on the free pony for everyone policy she accused Labour of having? If so, can I have a palomino one?

No such luck. Marr merely declared: “By this time next week it will all be over.” Well, yes, that’s generally how time’s passing works.

Marr was not the only one with his mind on the next few days. The continuity announcer said it was going to be a busy week ahead; ditto the weather presenter, telling us about Storm Atiyah. Each seemed to feel the need to fill airtime by saying something that meant little to nothing. Perhaps it was practice for election night when the broadcasters will have hours to fill before the votes start to pour in.

Sophy Ridge on Sky News had kept herself busy by pre-recording an interview with Boris Johnson. Between this, his appearance on the This Morning sofa and the BBC debate on Friday, as well as writing “exclusive” articles for any Sunday paper that would have him, the Prime Minister was also having a full week. So crammed, indeed, that he famously did not have the time to sit down with Andrew Neil.

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Neil, as he revealed in a closing monologue to his show, had wanted to ask Mr Johnson about trust. Ridge took the same tack. The PM had said, for example, there would be no checks on goods going from Northern Ireland to mainland Britain, but a leaked Treasury document said there would be. “Are you telling the truth?” she asked Mr Johnson. He had said, for example, there would be no checks on goods going from Northern Ireland to mainland Britain, but a leaked Treasury document said there would be. “Are you telling the truth?” she asked. It is a measure of what a rough and tumble business politics has become that an inquiry to a PM that would once have drawn gasps is now regarded as routine. “Yes, I am,” said Mr Johnson, saying the Treasury document was wrong.

Ridge adopted the same formula in asking about nurse numbers and hospital building, contrasting manifesto pledges with reality. Was it not the case, she said, that while he promised 50,000 new nurses, only 31,000 were new? It was, he acknowledged. Other interviewers had asked him the same question, but Ridge had secured a clear answer. It was an illustration of how a quietly persistent style can be as effective as a more aggressive one.

Which brings us back to Marr. After last week’s tetchy exchanges between the Scot and Mr Johnson, it was back to gentlemanly business as usual with his guests, with “alas” this and “unfortunately” that whenever he had to pull a politician up on something.

His interview with Nicola Sturgeon, like Ridge’s with Johnson, also called to mind Neil. On The Andrew Neil Interviews the host had pressed hard on the SNP Government’s record on health, asking if the NHS needed legislation to protect it from Ms Sturgeon as much as Donald Trump. Marr, like Ridge, took a less forthright but still direct approach and, again, secured results, with the FM saying: “I apologise to anybody who doesn’t get the treatment on the health service that we want them to get.”

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Marr’s next guest, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, had an apology of his own, for anti-Semitism in Labour. He had said it before; it was his leader’s failure to do so that had made headlines. Jeremy Corbyn eventually put that right on ITV’s This Morning. His apology, and that of Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson for her party’s part in austerity, and Ms Sturgeon’s yesterday, make saying sorry one of the things for which this otherwise low peep election might be remembered.

There will be plenty of time come next week’s Sunday shows for looking back, though some of it began yesterday. Sophy Ridge, interviewing Ms Swinson, displayed a graph showing how the Lib Dem leader’s popularity had fallen the longer the campaign had gone on. “It almost feels as though the more people see you, the less they like you.”

Ms Swinson laughed, as she had done when Ridge said it was “almost quite difficult” to bring the subject up. The Lib Dem leader shrugged and smiled, as if it was all just par for the course. “Bring it on,” declared the body language. Some people don’t like what I say on Brexit, she said, others don’t like that I want Scotland to stay a part of the UK. Some people don’t like the way I talk, what my shoes look like.

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Ridge wondered if other forces were at work. “Do you think some of it is a bit sexist? You hear people saying you sound like a head girl, a bit bossy, a bit angry.”

Swinson chose to take the high road. “Sophy, you and I exist within public life where we recognise that there are double standards that apply. I knew that when I took on the job. I want things to change because when I think about my nieces growing up I want the world that they inherit to be one that is less sexist. One of the ways we can do that is by having women in leadership roles blazing a trail. I’m delighted, I’m proud, to be doing that.”

Whatever happens on Thursday, and regardless of the fate of other leaders, the Lib Dem leader is not for budging.