The only merit that some of us divine in the coronavirus is that it could impede the British government’s plans to castrate the BBC. Facing two crises, Brexit and the virus, even Boris Johnson and his Svengali adviser Dominic Cummings may struggle to find the time and political capital to turn their scalpels upon public-service broadcasting.

The rest of the world is baffled by their eagerness to do so. Respect for Britain has diminished, but never for its voice on the airwaves. For almost a century, the BBC has seemed to represent all the virtues to which the British aspire: fairness, wit, decency, civilized values, and courage in upholding them.