IF one task of the Sunday politics shows is to reflect the mood of the country, by lunchtime yesterday most of the UK would have ticked the box marked “furious”.

That word alone feels inadequate. Scornful, demoralised, anxious, bewildered: there were so many feelings in evidence. Just as it had been quite the week in politics following further revelations about Downing Street parties, so it was on the Sunday shows. Nowhere more so than on Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday.

The programme had begun with Phillips issuing a Private Eye-style mock apology.

“We always provide our guests with tea, coffee and water,” he said, tongue in cheek. “But as we have learned this week it is entirely normal to make a wider range of beverages available for the staff. But of course when politicians join us here they are at work.

“I’d love to be able to remedy the oversight but at Sky News we’re somewhat old fashioned. Indeed even for our biggest names, never mind me, the consequences for rule breaking or the appearance of rule breaking are swift and severe. Getting our whole team suspended by 9am doesn’t seem like a great plan so I apologise in advance to all our guests but they’ll just have to live with a slug of Rosie Lee.”

READ MORE: Johnson planning sackings to save himself

His first guest was Oliver Dowden, former Culture Secretary, now co-chairman of the Conservative Party. It was Mr Dowden who led a Covid briefing at Downing Street on Friday, April 16 last year, reminding the public that they were only allowed to meet one other person, outside, at a social distance.

That evening, as we now know, two parties took place in Downing Street. The following day Prince Philip’s funeral was held. The same weekend, one of Trevor Phillips’ daughters collapsed and died.

Phillips spoke of how the wider family had been unable to get together under Covid restrictions. “We all stuck to the spirit and the letter of the rules.”

Struggling to contain his emotion, he asked Mr Dowden, “Does the Prime Minister really understand why people are angry?”

Phillips was not alone in making his feelings known. Piers Morgan, one of the newspaper reviewers on the BBC’s Sunday Morning, faltered when speaking about his own and others’ experiences during lockdown. Earlier this week, DUP MP Jim Shannon wept in the Commons chamber as he recounted how his mother-in-law had died, alone, from Covid.

Mr Dowden said he shared people’s anger, but it was right to wait until senior civil servant Sue Gray had delivered her report.

The Sunday papers, meanwhile, were full of plans for a Boris Johnson comeback. The boldest of these was a two-year freeze on the BBC licence fee, amounting to a £2 billion funding cut for the corporation in the longer term.

Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary and one of Mr Johnson’s staunchest defenders, was up and about early on Sunday to tweet about the move, first revealed in The Mail on Sunday. “This licence fee announcement will be the last,” she wrote.

“The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors, are over. Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.”

What the Commons Speaker might have to say about Government policy being announced in this way is something else we shall find out in the days to come.

Also on the bold scale, though nowhere near Ms Dorries’ level of adventurousness, was the slight makeover for Sunday Morning. Last week the BBC programme looked exactly like The Andrew Marr Show it replaced.

Yesterday it had a newsier feel, going live to Australia as Novak Djokovic was being deported, and including a report from Chris Mason summing up the so-called “Partygate” thus far.

READ MORE: Former MSP on future of Scottish Tories

Host Sophie Raworth, starting a series of New Year interviews with party leaders, was noticeably more on the front foot when she spoke to Keir Starmer. The Labour leader, pressed several times about a picture of him having a beer at what he said was a work occasion, became flustered.

If any party leader was under the impression that Raworth was going to be a soft touch, or a softer one than Marr, they had been corrected.

Tails were up, too, on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, where presenter Martin Geissler filled viewers in on the efforts made to find someone to speak for the Conservatives. All to no avail; everyone said no. Not that it stopped the item going ahead. “They don’t get to set the agenda,” said Geissler.