WHAT did YOU do in the great war against the virus? It is a question we shall all have to answer in time. Some responses are clearly more acceptable than others. Elbowing a pensioner aside for the last lettuce that you will probably end up throwing away is not an answer that will earn a gold star.

Putting in a shift in a hospital merits a huge tick and an even bigger thank you. But what of the rest of us, the non-essential crowd? Once we have done our bit in working from home, keeping our distance, and so on, what is a body to do to stave off the boredom of a lockdown?

We know from The Andrew Marr Show what the writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry is doing. First, he is reading PG Wodehouse and Agatha Christie, a winning combo if ever I heard one.

The man who once played the definitive Jeeves to Hugh Laurie’s Bertie Wooster is also “reacquainting” himself with calligraphy via YouTube videos, he might take up Esperanto “just for fun”, and he is definitely cooking like a TV chef, "prepping" his dishes by putting the ingredients in fiddly little bowls. It is all part of what Fry called a slowed down life, his recipe for getting through these trying times.

It might have been thought that hearing from Fry, pleasant as it is, would have been low down the list of priorities for a Sunday politics show. But as we were constantly hearing during Brexit, and now with the coronavirus, these are unprecedented times. Ways of working have to change.

For broadcasters, this has meant having a minimum, if any, guests in the studio and certainly no audiences. Last week’s Question Time saw the panel and Fiona Bruce sit at a distance from each other, with no main table and, for first time in QT history, no audience. Instead, questioners appeared in pre-recorded videos or sent in queries live.

Broadcasters have revamped schedules (including moving QT to 8pm), dropped some political programmes (Andrew Neil’s evening show), added new features (the PM’s daily press briefing), and repurposed other programmes (The One Show). STV’s Scotland Tonight had already added a peak-time slot on Thursdays, a move station chiefs say has “more than trebled” the audience.

Ridge on Sunday looked the same. Interviewees are often at an outside location. The set's desk is already big enough for social distancing, so Jeremy Corbyn could be interviewed in the studio. It was not all broadcast business as usual, though. The Labour leader did mention he and host Sophy Ridge had not shaken hands. He did not divulge, alas, if they had gone for an elbow bump or a foot taps instead.

On Marr there were changes, including cutting the paper review to two contributors, in this case the corporation’s health editor Hugh Pym, and Roula Khalaf, editor of the FT, who was at home.

In the studio, Marr and Pym were the regulation two metres apart. The distance, coincidentally, is Pym’s height. For anyone unsure what two metres looks like, Pym’s wife Susan, who describes herself on Twitter as “a London-based Scot”, has helpfully posted a picture of him lying on the ground with the hashtag #BeLikeHughBeTwo. (Alternatively, you might want to imagine an imaginary broom between you and the other person or, if you are a TV reporter, just wield a dirty great boom microphone.) With all this innovation going on, it seemed perfectly reasonable for Stephen Fry to rock up in a Marr show that also included scientists, doctors, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, and the London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Fry, being president of the mental health charity MIND, and someone who has suffered from depression, turned out to be the ideal talking head when it came to the subject of maintaining good mental health in these stressful days.

What is the best way, asked Marr, for people to cope with the current barrage of bad news, particularly if they live alone or are in self-isolation.

You have to redefine your sense of time, said Fry. Start by drawing up a timetable for your day. Take more time to do everything. Turn off notifications on devices so life is not a constant din of pings. Take breaks from the news and look in if and when you want.

“There is so much noise,” he said. “Everybody wants to have a point of view, everybody wants to show how splendid they are, or to show how awful the world is, and people want to paint a picture of an apocalypse.

"The fact is if you listen to the scientific advisers they almost always begin every sentence with ‘we think’, ‘it’s possible’, ‘maybe’, ‘perhaps’, ‘we don’t know ,but’. That’s how experts talk, people who really understand it.”

So we have to live with uncertainty, said Marr.

That’s not a bad thing, replied Fry. While it made a person anxious to some extent, it also allowed them to blank out the scaremongers.

Sounds like sensible advice, Jeeves.