BETWEEN lockdowns and count downs to the next set of restrictions, it is hard to find much news to elevate the mood.

Maybe that is why so many recently seized on the return of home makeover show Changing Rooms as that rare commodity: A Good Thing.

Sometimes, a dose of frivolity is just what the doctor would order, were you allowed to see the GP in a face to face consultation, that is.

Channel 4, which has taken over the format from the BBC in another Bake Off-style defection, said it was the ideal moment for Changing Rooms to return given how many hours everyone was spending staring at their own four walls.

When it comes time to recruit contestants, can I put in a plea on behalf of all those politicians forced to conduct Sunday morning interviews at home? Since lockdown in March the viewer has endured the same old backdrops of questionable art, suspiciously tidy kitchens, and dehydrated plants.

READ MORE: No guarantee on pub reopening

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, a guest on Ridge on Sunday, began lockdown interviews last March with a backdrop of her bookshelves. For a while, the contents, including a couple of yards of hardback Rankins, were of some interest.

When the weather got better she moved to the garden, sitting or standing outside her conservatory. Now she is back indoors with the bookshelves and there is nothing new to see. In the interests of variety, might the FM be persuaded to allow designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen – he’s back for the new series, Carol Smillie, alas, is not – to give her a “feature wall”complete with dramatic wallpaper? A mural even? Something to think about.

As it turned out, the First Minister did not need a dramatic visual boost. What she said was powerful enough to hold the attention.

For both Ridge and The Andrew Marr Show, the Minister put up for Sunday duty was Robert Jenrick. As the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, all devolved areas, what the MP for Newark says is generally of limited interest to viewers in Scotland, and so it turned out to be.

Given how little he was prepared to disclose about the Prime Minister’s forthcoming announcement on further restrictions for England (despite, as Marr pointed out sniffily, officials briefing the press all week about the changes), he might have proved just as uninteresting to viewers outwith Scotland.

The producers on Ridge, then, stole something of a march on Marr with the Sturgeon booking, particularly so given it had been a busy week in Scotland.

The closing of pubs and restaurants in the Central Belt – a move coming to English towns and cities soon – the scandal of SNP MP Margaret Ferrier’s travels while ill with coronavirus, and the release of evidence to the Salmond inquiry, meant there was plenty to talk about.

Having repeated her appeal for Ms Ferrier to go, talk turned to Ms Sturgeon’s predecessor and mentor, Alex Salmond.

Taken together, the FM’s responses amounted to her most revealing interview on the matter to date.

“I have nothing to hide in all of this,” she told Ridge.

READ MORE: Sturgeon claims predecessor trying to shift focus

“I faced a situation where complaints were raised about my predecessor and the Scottish Government tried to investigate those complaints. It made a mistake in how it applied its process and there’s a parliamentary inquiry into all of that just now.

“At the heart of this, and it pains me to say this because this is somebody that I have worked with and cared about for a long time and I know this is difficult for my party, but this all came to light because complaints were raised about Alex Salmond.

“He was cleared of any criminal conduct but in the course of that and again this pains me to say it, there were admissions about his conduct made along the way.”

Ridge asked her about claims of WhatsApp messages not being sent to the Salmond inquiry. Ms Sturgeon proceeded to read out what she thought were the messages in question, dismissing them as “not a big revelation”.

The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints might want to come to its own view on that.

“At every stage I’ve tried to do the right thing and not cover it up,” Ms Sturgeon continued.

READ MORE: Sturgeon reveals missing messages

“I think the reason perhaps he is angry with me, and he clearly is angry with me, is that I didn’t cover it up – I didn’t collude with him to make these allegations go away. Perhaps that is at the route of why he is as annoyed as he appears to be.”

Mr Salmond was not present to respond, but there will come a Sunday, or another day, when he will have his say.

In the meantime, Ms Sturgeon had a parting comment on her predecessor’s dealings with the committee.

“From what I read on the committee’s website the one person who hasn’t put forward evidence to the inquiry yet is Mr Salmond himself.”

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