HAVE you noticed how much fake knowledge is about currently?

Hot on the heels of fake news is the fake information we “acquire” from TV programmes, websites and social media.

It’s probably typical of the times in which we live – news bites, microwaved facts, short bursts of detail. We don’t seem able to cope with any lengthy amounts of knowledge without medication.

So perhaps it’s not so strange that we feel empowered by the information we pick up so spuriously. It’s not like seriously studying the subject until we have genuine, in-depth knowledge, though, is it?

No. But we think we can diagnose the most difficult illnesses and pontificate on the rules of most sports. The reason is simple: because we’ve seen it done on the telly.

My husband and I have become ridiculous about certain medical procedures. “Pneumothorax”, he stated knowingly after a road accident victim was struggling to breathe in an episode of Casualty.

This would not be so worrying if it were not for the fact that he now believes that with a biro or coat-hanger and a bottle of water, he can not only diagnose a pneumothorax (a collection of free air in the chest cavity causing lung collapse) but, should one occur as he is wandering around Farnworth, can also whip out a biro or, somehow, find a coat-hanger and “operate” on the spot in a life-saving procedure.

Less important is how we have become armchair experts in everything from the paso doble to curling. “Poor frame”, I told no-one in particular during last week’s Strictly Come Dancing when one celebrity failed to perform an impressive quickstep.

Let me say, I have absolutely no ballroom dancing dancing experience and wouldn’t know my fleckle from my fandango. Yet, I am confident that his frame was poor purely because the Chair of the Strictly judging panel, Shirley Ballas, pointed this out during a foxtrot by another celebrity two weeks ago.

Never mind that she has years of experience as a successful competitor and has worn her Cuban heels down to a stump. I still believe I can recognise faults because of the very shallow information that has embedded itself in my brain.

It is there along with the best way to grow tomatoes in a pot, how to recognise and treat damp in any house, diagnosing measles in babies and the way to sashay like a catwalk model.

None of this expertise has been acquired by actually doing more than sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine in my hand, taking in all the information packaged as either reality TV or drama.

Now, some 20-stone bloke who has absolutely no chance of ever taking part in either ice-skating or gymnastics can become an “expert” on a Lutz jump because they have listened to the expert commentary so they are, by proxy, an expert themselves.

It’s definitely contagious so, sorry, must go now. I’ve just got time for a bit of brain surgery before my tea.