Forget Richard and Judy - it's the David and Delia show

A large penguin creeps up to Delia Smith, takes up a hammer and strikes her down from behind
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The Independent Culture
DELIA SMITH and David Attenborough have been the twin deities of the BBC for as long as anyone can remember. She is the Diana of the cooker, he the Prince Charming of the undergrowth. Sometimes she is on the cover of Radio Times, sometimes he is... and now they are on the cover of the new Radio Times together!

To me this suggests only one thing: that one day the ultimate will happen, Delia and David will share the same programme...

The words "David and Delia Proudly Present The World of Eggs And Birds", in royal gold, show up and fade. Delia steps through a conservatory door.

Delia: Hello! I thought that this time round we'd forget the fancy fricassees and trendy taramasalata and go back to basics. Yes, the egg! It's just about the cheapest thing you can buy on a high-budget programme like this...

Cut to a rain forest in The Gambia. The fronds part, and David peers out cautiously.

David: We take birds for granted. "That's strictly for the birds," we say. But the bird is one of nature's miracles. It can do things no human has achieved. It can fly unaided. It can nest on top of Chartres Cathedral. And it can lay an egg.

Cut to Delia in her conservatory kitchen (see next week's `Radio Times' for special get-Delia's-cooking-conservatory offer!) She is wielding a hammer.

Delia: Perhaps the simplest of all ways of eating an egg is when it's raw. But even a raw egg has to be opened. What's the best way? Well, there are many different ways, and one of the easiest...

She raises the hammer. Cut to the snowy wastes of the Antarctic, where 5,000 penguins occupy a space no larger than a tennis court, laying eggs and sitting on them. They all look cold and fed up. One penguin looks at the camera.

Penguin: You'd look depressed too, mate, if you'd had nothing but a chocolate biscuit named after you.

The penguin is hustled away to make room for David, who strides gently but purposefully through the mass of birds.

David: All birds are at risk all the time, but never more so than when inside an egg. A bird can fight back. An egg, however, is defenceless.

Behind David's back we see Delia picking up penguin eggs and popping them into her basket. Cut to the Amazon jungle. David is found up a tree.

David: Or is an egg always defenceless? Scientists now believe that the eggs of the forest oriole, a Peruvian bird, have fighting instincts. When an intruder approaches, one of the eggs in the nest will sacrifice itself to protect the others.

At that very moment a large egg falls on top of David's head. He is not wearing a hat. He smiles engagingly. Cut to Delia's conservatory. Delia comes in, carrying a basket of penguin eggs.

Delia: I have been using the word "egg" as if there were only one kind, but of course there are many. Today I thought we'd try something special. A penguin egg!

Unnoticed by Delia, a large penguin enters behind her. It sees the missing penguin eggs. It sees red. It sees the hammer. It takes the hammer and strikes down Delia from behind. Enter David.

David: But most eggs don't need fighting instincts. A parent bird, threatened with the loss of its eggs, will go to any lengths.

Penguin: Er, my eggs, I think.

David: There you are, old girl.

Penguin: Sorry about the... (indicating Delia, out cold)

David: Don't worry about her. She's only stunned. Delia's got a hairdo as thick as a helmet.

Penguin: If she pegs out, can you find another one?

David: Not a chance. She is a species of one. She displays home-making characteristics which...

Penguin: (edging towards exit) Yes, well, perhaps some other time.

David: Buy the book. It'll all be out in Penguin soon.

Penguin: Penguin!? Did you say Penguin!?

The penguin takes up the hammer again and advances on David. John Birt and Christopher Bland rush in.

Birt/Bland: Don't touch him! He's all we've got left! Finish him off and we'll be ruined!!

More of this soon, perhaps.

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