Judy Finnigan may be 71, but the broadcaster has made no secret of how much she hates getting older.
So it comes as no surprise that being classed as ‘vulnerable’ and treated like a ‘fragile family heirloom’ during these unprecedented times is a concept that Judy is struggling to accept.
‘It makes me feel old, which I hate,’ she admits – having been forced to cut short a holiday to the Florida Keys with her husband Richard Madeley over the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Now back in Blighty and with the over-70s being encouraged to remain indoors, Judy has no other choice but to accept being treated like a ‘fragile family heirloom’ and revel in the sudden ‘tenderness, love and concern’ extended by her kids…
Like many of Judy’s age, accepting help from her children is something the former This Morning presenter is reluctant to do.
‘I think many of us older “boomers” pride ourselves on our resilience, strength and ability to get things done, and resent finding ourselves classed as vulnerable,’ she explains.
And she’s getting ‘fed up’ of being treated differently. ‘I’ve been astonished by the concern for the health of us oldies shown by the young.
‘They really, really don’t want us to leave the house: they’re terrified of coming anywhere near us, sure that if they do, they’ll kill us,’ she said. ‘I’m touched, but rather fed up of it by now. Being a certain age doesn’t automatically make you vulnerable or unfit.’
Having previously enjoyed regular trips to the shops, the pub or a country walk, like countless others, Judy is suddenly stuck indoors with a whole heap of time on her hands to reflect on the subtle but sudden shift of roles between parent and child.
While the crisis has made Judy even more aware of her ever-ticking body clock, it has also shone light on the depth of the affection being extended by her ‘brood’, which includes twins Dan and Tom, from Judy’s first marriage, and Jack, 33, and Chloe, 32, from her marriage to Richard. It certainly seems to be soothing her soul in these anxious times.
‘It’s extraordinary to be forced into passively receiving messages of unconditional love and worry for your health,’ she muses. ‘It’s not entirely pleasant; you’re reminded of the advancing years, the shift in power between you and your offspring.’
With their world in lockdown, Judy and Richard have no choice but to accept the outpouring of love from their kids. ‘I’ve never felt such tenderness, love and concern from my brood before,’ she says.
Just a few years ago, Judy’s transition from busy daytime TV presenter to a life away from the spotlight was a breeze.
‘I’ve never, ever enjoyed that famous bit,’ she admitted previously. ‘I’m a real introvert and quite private, which are two of the reasons I love retreating to Cornwall.’
But last year something seemed to switch in Judy and, despite ‘thinking that part of my life was over’, she bit the bullet and returned to telly.
That’s what no doubt makes this worse for poor Judy. Just as she’d got her mojo back – after making a ‘marvellous’ return with Richard to This Morning, 18 years after quitting the show, to fill in for regular hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford – she’s been reminded of her age and ‘vulnerability’ once more.