For the moment, at least, this is what a world without live entertainment looks like. Sport is basically cancelled, and not because it posted an offensive tweet 11 years ago when it had 39 followers and an egg for an avatar. Tours have been pulled, festivals postponed, and cinematic releases pushed back indefinitely, to a time one can only assume is “post-doomsday”, when everyone finally fancies having the bejesus scared out of them again by something that is not the live news feed on their recently disinfected phones.
For entertainment, I am left scrabbling for what I can get, and for a brief moment of respite from the onslaught of bad news, I have turned to the social media feeds of celebrities dealing with either having coronavirus, or trying not to get it, or trying to understand it.
So far, Naomi Campbell has emerged as the Dame Vera Lynn of this present situation, entertaining the virtual troops with her “I have not come to play” approach to hygiene. She has posted pictures of herself in the full hazmat, covered from head to toe, goggles, face mask and all, while travelling through Los Angeles airport. “Safety First NEXT LEVEL,” she wrote, adding a thank you to Linda Evangelista, which makes me wonder if there’s an underground network of supermodels doling out protective clothing to the rich and beautiful.
I have to admit, with only mild embarrassment, that this is not the first time I have thought of Campbell during this outbreak. Until very recently, I had an international flight planned, and I had already reminded myself of her infamous approach to inflight hygiene. In a video she posted to her YouTube channel last year, she got out a pair of gloves and a packet of Dettol wipes, and gave her first-class seat an astonishingly thorough wipe down. “I do not care what people think of me,” she said, as she cleaned. “It’s my health, and it makes me feel better.”
People mocked, at the time, but Campbell is having the last laugh, particularly if she is still sitting on a decent supply of antibacterial wipes. Tinie Tempah followed her lead, posting a picture of himself this week adopting the full hazmat on a train journey, though he also posted a clip of himself with his hood down, to which the one and only Naomi Campbell replied: “Keep your head covered.”
I’m starting to wonder if Campbell should be fronting a How Clean Is Your House?-style show, in which she swabs and cleanses her way through this weird new world, telling us all not to touch our faces. Release date: postponed until at least 2021.
Matt Lucas will make Bake Off fluffy again
After pouring out a spot of pancake batter for the departure of Sandi Toksvig, Great British Bake Off has announced that Little Britain’s Matt Lucas will be her replacement as co-host, joining Noel Fielding in the tent.
The current run of Stand Up to Cancer Bake Off specials will be Toksvig’s last, and Lucas will step in for the 11th series, due to air in the summer. “I’m chuffed to bits to be joining the most delicious show on television,” he said. “And bearing in mind my love of cake, I’ve already ordered some much larger trousers in anticipation.”
Bake Off certainly needed something to help its dough rise again. Once, its only issue was that Paul’s handshake had become more of a talking point that the pastries. But the last series was a disappointment, to many fans and viewers. The contestants were all too young, and it was sorely lacking in a couple of seen-it-all-before grannies who could show the Instagram bakers how to do it.
The judges were too cutting, the tasks too tough and competitive, the challenges a world away from its “whip us up a nice Victoria sponge while we make a smutty joke about cream” origins. Bake Off was supposed to be nice, and watching people cry over split custard was never what it was there for.
Still, plenty of people who thought the show would not survive its transition from BBC to Channel 4, from Mary Berry to Prue Leith, from Mel and Sue to Toksvig and Fielding. But, as unlikely a pairing as it first sounded, they made it work. And it will work again, particularly if they step back from being quite so hard on the participants. After all, the show is bigger than its parts, bigger, even, than the new trousers Lucas is having made.
Craig Mazin, making an adaptation worth the wait
Any announcement that a much-loved videogame will be turned into a TV show or a film is usually about as promising as finding out that a successful British sitcom is being remade for a US audience. Yes, The Office, but for every show that worked, there are a thousand Skins and Inbetweeners, ideas that ended up so neutered you were desperate for any character to be allowed to say a single, even minor, rude word.
That could be about to change, though, with news that the best game of all time is being adapted for the small screen. The Last Of Us is about a journey across post-apocalyptic America, after the world has been ravaged by an infectious mutant fungus – timely! – and it is being made for HBO, which suggests it will have the money it needs to make its post-social-distancing landscapes look spectacular.
More impressively, it will be helmed by Craig Mazin, whose surname is also a review of the job he did when he wrote Chernobyl. Mazin will work with the game’s creative director, Neil Druckmann. “Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I’m so honoured to do it in partnership with Neil,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. It could be a, er, game-changer.
• Rebecca Nicholson is an Observer columnist