THERE’S nothing quite like daytime telly to hammer home your mortality. Funeral plans, equity release, walk-in baths, stair lifts... the adverts alone are enough to leave you wondering where your life has gone.

And if the adverts (of which there are many) don’t see you off, the programmes appearing briefly between them will suck the life out of you.

Clinging to the dated magazine style format that Victoria Wood was spoofing 30 years ago, they’re a curious mix of segments - soap spoilers, Harry and Meghan, mega-win competitions, ‘how to pull off the nautical look’ and someone from Towie wittering about their lip filler hell - book-ended by toddlers on dialysis and how to nail pumpkin risotto.

When you work full-time, as I’ve done all my adult life, you don’t spend time at home in the day. So whenever you do, it’s a bit of a novelty. Stick the telly on and you’re down the guilty pleasure rabbit hole. With six more months of home working ahead, it’s good times for daytime viewing figures. Except now I’m home all day, I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than have the TV on. Beneath the shiny veneer, it’s all pretty soulless.

Daytime television used to fascinate me because it was forbidden fruit. On the rare occasions I was allowed to stay off school with sickness, when I was too old for Lucozade and Fuzzy Felt, watching telly during the day was quite the indulgence. But it was never as good as it seemed - probably because there wasn’t much on, apart from dry ‘schools programmes’, Pebble Mill and Crown Court.

This was before TV-am, with its garish sofas, and Richard and Judy’s cosy banter. The daytime telly of my childhood was dull, beige, wooden and slightly odd, adding to the unsettling eerie presence seeping into the house when you’re home alone as the quiet afternoon limps on.

Then, in the mid-Eighties, Australian soaps landed on our shores and I was quickly addicted - Young Doctors, A Country Practice, Sons and Daughters (I can still sing the theme tune) and later Neighbours, which got me through revision breaks at university.

But, Antipodean soaps aside, daytime telly left me cold. The dawn of breakfast TV passed me by, as my mother wouldn’t have anything other than Radio 4’s Today programme on school mornings, and I’ve rarely watched it over the years because I’ve always been dashing out to work. So now I’m home, watching 10 minutes or so of BBC Breakfast, trying to digest the news agenda with my tea and toast, feels like a forbidden indulgence. The TV goes off when I start work because I can’t do with the distraction, I don’t even have the radio on, and if I flick the telly on at lunchtime it’s usually the shouty Loose Women and their highly strung rants about nothing in particular.

There are cackling women where Pipkins once was. Judge Rinder where Crown Court used to be. Homes Under The Hammer instead of How We Used To Live. Endless re-runs of Friends replacing corny Australian family sagas.

And it still feels wrong to watch telly in the day. I used to follow a terrible US soap called Sunset Beach on Saturday afternoons, and as well as feeling like the only person in the world watching it, there was the nagging guilt that I should be spending my time learning to kayak or something.

Daytime TV is fine as white noise, if that’s what gets you through the daylight hours, but be mindful that the days of funeral plans and walk-in baths are nearer than you think. Life’s too short for watching other people escape to the country.