LIKE a pair of well-worn shoes or a favourite cardigan, The Repair Shop is a comforting, warm presence in our lives.

It smothers viewers in its loveliness and never fails to raise a smile – or the odd tear.

And now it’s back on the box in a whole new time slot.

When it first aired back in 2017, it was hoped it would gain a following during daytime, but it quickly turned into a major success story for the BBC, something that has taken many people by surprise.

It’s been helped along the way by some celebrity fans too, including Pointless co-host Richard Osman and polymath Stephen Fry.

Both have tweeted about it on social media. Fry got there first when, in September 2018, he said: “It is my considered opinion that The Repair Shop is far and away the best programme on British television at the moment. Congratulations and thank you. Just what’s needed to counter the mad digital world.”

Then, last April, Osman urged his nigh on million followers to tune in, describing the series as “the absolute best show on telly... it’s so warm and charming. It’s just a pure joy to watch”.

For the uninitiated, the premise is simple – members of the public take along their cherished but broken or dilapidated family heirlooms for a team of experts to restore in a specially converted barn at the Weald and Downland Museum inSingleton.

But what that description doesn’t convey is the sheer joy in seeing the fixed items – and the faces of their owners when they’re reunited with something they long thought was past repair.

Jay Blades, an upcycling specialist based in Wolverhampton, is the foreman. He’s the guy who acts as the linkman between the owners and those working on their objects.

But the real stars are the experts, who include furniture restorer Will Kirk, metalworker Dominic Chinea, upholsterer Sonnaz Nooranvary, painting conservator Lucia Scalisi, silversmith Brenton West and ceramics specialist Kirsten Ramsay. Special mention should go to the Fletcher siblings too – Suzie is a leatherworker, while Stephen is an horologist who can, in fact, turn his hand to most things.

Last year, the show received several awards, including Best Daytime Programme from the Royal Television Society.

At Christmas, a festive special garnered a whopping 5.5 million viewers, persuading the BBC to move it from its previous teatime slot to primetime BBC One on Wednesday evenings.

“We are so proud of the success of The Repair Shop,” says Joanna Ball from production company Ricochet. “In a world that often feels frightening and combative it’s an oasis of kindness.

“The team both in front of and behind the camera take real pleasure in their craft and we’re glad it’s worked so well for the audience.”

The show’s presenter Jay Blades, a 50-year-old furniture restorer who talks to the experts and members of the public who bring in their keepsakes, believes it’s the tone of The Repair Shop that makes it a winner.

“We show people being kind and helpful, looking after each other,” he says.

“Viewers like that. We’ve had a lot of TV shows that take the mickey out of people that have been cancelled because they’ve victimised people and talent contests that laugh at the contestants.

“The Repair Shop isn’t like that.

“As well as being an antidote to the throwaway culture we live in, it’s about a group of talented craftsmen and women who come together to create lasting memories for people who might otherwise have lost those memories, because their precious items were broken.”

And there’s no shortage of tears. In this week’s episode, Nick McCullen from Southampton breaks down when he brings in his late father’s Royal Navy rigging kit, a collection of knives, ropes and spikes used by sailors in their duties.

The tears flow again when he sees the extraordinary repair work carried out by leather specialist Suzie Fletcher.

The latest run began last week to the delight of regular viewers.