DID you see Florizel Street this week? That winning blend of high drama and gentle comedy, played out in a couple of streets in a northern town? All human life is there, and it is usually wearing a cardie and eating Betty’s hotpot. Florizel Street, as we learned in The Road to Coronation Street (STV, Sunday), was the original title of television’s longest running drama.

As this dramatisation of the early days revealed, viewers could have been talking about “Florry” rather than “Corry” had the tea lady at Granada not pointed out that Florizel sounded like a disinfectant. Daran Little began his tale on the day of the soap’s debut, December 9, 1960, with its creator, Tony Warren, hiding in the loo from first night terrors and Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner) hammering on the door, begging him to come out.

The way “Road” told it, there was as much drama off screen as on in Coronation Street, starting with the hunt for just the right cast. Warren, actor turned writer, wanted to create something with “dirt under its fingernails”, and he demanded the actors be genuine northerners. Lovingly played by David Dawson, Warren could be particular to the point of obsession about what he wanted.

If you had a penny for every scene in which he burst into management’s offices shouting the odds you could have bought the Rovers and the Kabin and still had enough left over for a chippy supper on the way home. But it was this cast-iron belief in his creation that made it authentic.

Asked by the casting director to sum up Elsie Tanner, Warren shot back: “Mid-40s, battered remains of looks and figure”. He eventually found his Elsie (EastEnders’ Jessie Wallace in a part she was born to play). The final piece of the casting jigsaw was Ena Sharples, played terrifyingly by Lynda Baron.

Everywhere you looked there were strong women. It’s the same today, even if there is a worrying preponderance of crazy men living among them, the latest of whom is grisly Geoff.

There have been more such women in Talking Heads (BBC1, Monday-Thursday), but this week it was Martin Freeman’s turn to go full Yorkshire in A Chip in the Sugar. Every actor in these coronavirus-inspired remakes has had big Clarks casuals to fill, none more so than Freeman standing in for Alan Bennett. I had my doubts at first, there being a thin line between genuine Bennett and parody Bennett, but Freeman nailed it as stay-at-home Graham, put out because his mother had started seeing a gentleman caller.

The scene when Graham recounted “mam” berating him over his mucky mags took the breath away. A lifetime of tears about to spill, but held back yet again. A real-life superwoman was on duty in the documentary). Italy’s Frontline: A Doctor’s Diary (BBC2, Monday).

Cameras followed Dr Francesca Mangiatordi as she and her colleagues battled through the desperate early days of the coronavirus pandemic as it ravaged northern Italy. Every day brought life and death decisions, after which she would go home to her teenage children and a husband with respiratory problems. Her son said she would be okay.

She’s like Captain America in The Avengers, he reckoned. In truth she was far more impressive. Everything about this film was chilling, particularly the way the virus began spreading among younger people (one lad was 18).

This was a documentary that you could have understandably run from, so exhausted are we by this pandemic, but it was worth sticking with for the simple wonder of seeing good people selflessly do their thing.

At the start of the lockdown I had grand plans to repaint the woodwork. Not much of a contribution to society, but there we are. Instead, as ever, I decorated and DIY’d vicariously through home shows. George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces (Channel 4, Wednesday) continued to live up to its title with the conversion of a jet engine surround into a caravan, and the building of a Hobbit house for a toddler. Clarke also started a project of his own, building an observatory with a retractable roof no less, and there was a jaunt to Chile to look at a beautifully constructed winery, hewn out of a rock face. While one would struggle to repeat such feats at home, unless you are an engineer, or, as with the Hobbit house, your dad is a builder, Amazing Spaces, and Clarke’s enthusiasm, make the impossible seem that bit more attainable. Still haven’t picked up a paintbrush, though.

Scotland’s Home of the Year (BBC Scotland, Wednesday) had its grand finale. I was rooting for Mouse Cottage near Pitlochry, but the clear winner was always going to be the fabulous Park Terrace flat in Glasgow, not least because its owner, Hugh, had done the lot himself. Now he’s won the prize, he must have some time on his hands. Fancy a spot of painting, Hugh?