TThe Repair Shop is a truly extraordinary television program; a series that’s so guaranteed to make me cry, to send a depth charge bomb to every one of my emotional trigger points, that I’ll have to space out episodes to stave off medical dehydration. I’m not the only one either. A delicate blend of sentimental and heartwarming, the show has achieved extraordinary success since it first aired in 2017.

But success can change you. So it is with the newest episode of The Repair Shop. To mark the centenary of the BBC, the episode’s special guest is King Charleswhich calls on the team to repair a couple of battered old objects from Dumfries House in Scotland, a place where easily disadvantaged local youth are taught the value of traditional skills.

This alone makes the episode a kind of historical document. It was filmed back when King Charles was just Prince Charles, and so has a cheerful informality that may have been lost in the days after his ascension. And Charles himself seems to be something of a fan of the show; there’s a moment when he greets some pundits with a friendly, “I know who you all are.” You get the feeling that the Repair Shop is for Charles what cows were to his mother.

But status doesn’t automatically translate to a great episode of television, and it does here. It has to be said that Jay Blades is an absolute natural when it comes to hanging out with the royal family. Not for him is Alan Titchmarsh’s sickening style of tugging his forelock. Instead, Blades is a tactile and disarming companion. “Wait, are you on instruments?” – he barks, noticing that Charles has hidden the secateurs. From that point on, it’s a procession of hand claps and shoulder grabs as Blades guides a slightly confused Charles through almost every conversation. It’s as if Prince Charles was forced into Jay Blade’s world, not the other way around. It’s refreshing to say the least.

A repair shop, however, needs a base level of emotion to succeed, and trying to get any tangible emotion out of a royal is a very fruitless endeavor. The items Charles offers to repair – a clock and a vase, possibly damaged as they fell from the window ledge at some point, Charles shrugs – have no sentimental value to him. When they eventually return to their former glory (beautiful and faithful as ever), the best he can do is offer a few far-fetched platitudes. “How wonderful,” he repeats over and over, and “Wonderful,” just as if he’d been given a tour of Peterborough’s new municipal swimming pool. It’s so memorable that at one point I was afraid Charles was going to break away completely and ask the vase, “So what are you doing?”

And you get the feeling that The Repair Shop knew this because it’s smart enough to hide the actual episode of The Repair Shop with all the royalties. Sandwiched between the items of Dumfries, we meet a woman called Nicola. A normal woman who wants to restore an everyday household object: a cast iron soldier, broken and blackened, which housed a set of fireplace tools. The soldier is important, Nicola says, because it belonged to her husband, who recently died of cancer.

Bang. Tears. Instant tears as Nicola explains that she wanted to repair it to give to her husband as a final gift, but ran out of time. And even more tears when she is presented with a brilliantly restored soldier at the end of the series.

That’s what The Repair Show is all about. That soldier had neither monetary nor historical value. There was no need to save on paper. But it meant everything to Nicola, so it became invaluable. Compared to this, the king’s expensive jewelry looks like nothing more than an expensive mess. It doesn’t really matter if they can’t fix it because he has palaces full of more like it. But soldier Nicholas? She would not part with him for all the money in the world.

Chances are, this episode of The Repair Shop will be watched by more people than usual because of all the royal shenanigans it promises. But if these people come for Charles, they will stay for Nicola. The repair shop is a magic formula, and this episode is proof that it really shouldn’t be messed with.