Richard and Judy: Keep Reading and Carry On, Channel 4 ***

Isolation Stories, STV ***

DEER strolling down deserted city streets, an RAF flypast for a centenarian walker, a pink moon in the skies: the sights to be seen in a world in lockdown. Just when you think the times cannot grow any weirder, Richard and Judy are back on the telly.

The Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor of daytime TV, the Homer and Marge of the midweek makeover, or just plain old “TV royalty” as the announcer described them, returned with a new version of their book club.

The couple, who started on ITV’s This Morning when Margaret Thatcher was PM, last had a Channel 4 show 12 years ago. These days, Richard can be seen providing holiday cover for Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, and both Madeley and Finnigan are successful authors.

Their new five part series, airing every day this week, was filmed in their (very nice) north London home by two camera operators a safe social distance away.

First things first. Would Richard, a broadcaster who makes Alan Partridge look like David Dimbleby, still be crazy after all these years? This is the man who once said to Bill Clinton: "I know what it’s like to be wronged by the press. I was once accused of shoplifting. Unlike you though, I knew I was innocent."

True to form he was off like a rocket. After a scrub by professional Mrs Mopps, he pronounced the house the cleanest it had been in 25 years. “It smells like a disinfectant factory. Donald Trump would love it!”

There was a hairy moment when the pair had to connect on Zoom to the first reviewers. “Judy and I are the Luddites’ Luddites,” said Richard. “Zoom virgins.”

He opened the laptop gingerly, and as if by magic (or via the camera guys’ help) the guests popped up. From Judy’s shrieks you would have thought she had just witnessed the turning of water into wine.

Richard had been raiding Judy’s hair dye, with the resulting blend of brassy blonde and grey making him look like a cross between EastEnders’ Pat Butcher and Worzel Gummidge.

A mix of strong guests, including Judge Rinder, Adam Kay (author of This is Going to Hurt) and Sandi Toksvig made the half hour fly by. As noisy and hyper toddler as Richard was, the two were still the naturally skilful interviewers they always were, allowing the guests to speak and listening to the answers.

Judy had a Richard moment of her own when she started talking about her “massive ovarian cysts” (too, too, too much information Jude) but Richard remained the king of wince-inducing TV by almost playing the guitar (fortunately it was “out of tune” and he gave up), and asking Toksvig if she would show us her operation scars. She wouldn’t.

More virus viewing was to be had on STV’s Isolation Stories. The series of four, 15-minute dramas set during the lockdown were the idea of Jeff Pope (Philomena, Stan & Ollie).

The first offering, Mel, starred a heavily pregnant Sheridan Smith. Three weeks away from the birth, Mel had been dumped by her married lover and frozen out by her family.

Communication with work was via Zoom. During one virtual meeting a colleague despaired that she was holed up all alone, getting fatter by the day. “Welcome to my world,” said Mel, inhaling another custard cream.

As the long day turned into evening, Mel hit the phone, leaving messages here and there. One call went astray, leading to an encounter with a stranger that made Mel realise that there were still good people around, “kind people”, some of them worse off than her.

The tale was a tad over-egged. Even in a 15 minute film, less is often more. Production-wise it was slick and convincing, though I imagine shots of people on laptop and phone screens will start to wear come the end of the run.

Sheridan was terrific, whirling from sarky to despairing to joyful without missing a beat, convincing at every turn. Homegrown, DIY telly – not the future, but it will do for the present.

Catch up on All 4 and the STV player