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The Repair Shop star Jay Blades, 50, has admitted social distancing restrictions have made some aspects of filming the BBC show quite difficult. The beloved programme often includes tear-jerking situations, as guests become emotional after the show’s experts restore their previously damaged treasures.
Jay explained that as a result, he and his co-stars have to fight their natural instincts to “put their hands out” to offer comfort to guests who need support.
When quizzed on whether it’s “weird” to incorporate coronavirus restrictions into the show, the furniture restorer said in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk: “Yes, definitely.
“I think with distancing and especially with filming, I think us as humans, we as a community like to touch and support people.
“If someone’s crying, you put your hand out, if someone’s going through a sad time, normally you put your hand on their knee or hold their hand, we’re very tactile.
READ MORE… Jay Blades: The Repair Shop star talks ‘unbelievable’ downside to show
“So with the two metres thing, you can’t touch anybody.”
The presenter added: “So it’s a very strange way to communicate with someone at a distance and learning that is very, very strange.
“We do virtual hugs, we do virtual hearts, it’s just another way of communicating that some people in our community have to deal with all the time.”
The Money For Nothing host went on to give an insight into a slightly uncomfortable downside to working on the show.
He explained: “It’s an unbelievably positive experience, the only downside I would say is, as it’s a listed barn, we’re not allowed to put heating in there.
“So in the winter it gets extremely cold and drafty.”
Jay went on to spill a behind-the-scenes secret about the winter months affecting his co-star Steven Fletcher’s appearance on the show.
He revealed: “Normally you would see someone like Steve, who has the coldest part of the workshop, he starts to get bigger and that’s because he’s putting on loads of layers underneath his clothes.
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“We’ve all got heated pockets, these little satchels, we’ve all got heated belts on, we’re just walking around radiators – unbelievable!”
Jay also insisted it is now more important than ever to honour members of the community due to the pandemic.
He divulged: “I think now during this pandemic, and I know it’s a bad thing to say, but during this pandemic, the community heroes have been able to shine and just come through and stand up for their community.
“Whether it’s your next-door neighbour, whether it’s someone who’s partially sighted that you may need to buy some food for because they may not be able to do the social distancing, because most of the stickers are on the floor and someone who’s blind can’t see that.
“It’s a thing where, I know it’s really sad to say, but during this time we’ve really pulled together as a community, whether that is wearing a mask, sanitising, or following the government’s guidelines and staying at home.”
To show his passion for community spirit, Jay has been working with The National Lottery to create handcrafted benches in honour of people who have supported some of the most vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking about the heartwarming project, the star said: “What the National Lottery are doing is celebrating people who are going above and beyond and going outside of their comfort zone to make sure they support the vulnerable people.
“Because if they don’t give it out to them, who is?”
To learn more about the National Lottery benches and the people behind them please visit the www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk
The Repair Shop airs tonight at 8pm on BBC One.
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