The unkindest cut of all is coming to a screen near you

Miles Kington trembles with excitement at the BBC autumn schedules - what a feast of treats in store for you!
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The Independent Culture
WELL, THE BBC autumn schedules are upon us again, an event which leaves many of us weak with excitement. In case you can hardly bear to find out what unexpected things they are bringing us, I have decided to calm you down with an introductory compilation of the best of the Beeb's new ideas...

We enter the inner sanctum of Chateau Delia, yes, into the recesses of Delia's new conservatory, where Delia is waiting impatiently for us to arrive.

Delia: Right, let's get cracking, as I said last week when tackling how to boil an egg. But I fear I may have gone too far, too fast, as many of you never really learnt from their parents all about the concept of boiling, so this week I am going to go right back to basics and tell you how to boil a kettle. It's important to choose the right kettle, so...

Cut to a cocktail bar in Havana, Cuba, where Michael Palin is sitting on a bar stool.

Palin: So here I am, trying to follow in Ernest Hemingway's footsteps round the world in 80 days. I wonder if I can make it. I wonder what Papa Hemingway would have done. Well, he would have stopped off for a drink, I think, so I've come to Ernest's favourite bar here in Havana to ask for his favourite drink. OK, Alfredo?

Barman: Lo siento, senor, pero no hablo Ingles.

Palin: Oh, dear. He doesn't talk English. I wonder what Ernest Hemingway would have done.

Cut to Angus Deayton.

Deayton: So Ian's team have a wind-assisted four points, but Paul Merton has a super-charged six points. Moving on from the first round we come to something which, in time-honoured fashion, we call Round Number Two...

Cut to time-lapse clouds racing over a huge plain at the far end of which are vast mountains. Sir David Attenborough glides past in a hot-air balloon.

Attenborough: There are only two animals that can fly. Man and the birds. Birds do it by flapping their wings. Man does it by going into a travel agency and asking what's on offer in the Med, or, failing that, the Canaries. In some ways I think we can say that birds are more advanced...

Cut to Delia's kitchen. Delia is holding a kettle under a tap.

Delia: How to fill a kettle? Well, it's quicker to turn the tap on full and, of course, that will fill it more quickly, but you've always got the danger of splashing yourself then. I'd always opt every time for a slower flow. It takes a little longer, but it's a lot safer.

Cut to Michael Palin sitting on the bar stool in Cuba.

Palin: Alfredo has just told me that, when Hemingway died, he left a bar bill of nearly $400 behind, and he would be grateful if I paid it. I've had a whip-round with the camera crew and the producer, and we've just about got it between us, so...

Cut to Angus Deayton

Deayton: ...and in this round, which is called The Missing Word Round, you have to supply the missing word in the headline, which is why it's called The Missing Word Round.

Paul Merton: Why isn't it called The Missing Word In The Headline Round? (Laughter.)

Deayton: I don't really know. (Laughter.)

Ian Hislop: If I know, do I get a point? (Laughter.)

Deayton: And the headlines will either be from the national press or from this week's guest publication, Poultry Keepers' Times...

Cut to a meeting of BBC TV executives.

First Exec: This Bridget Jones's Diary seems very popular. Why don't we put it on television?

Second Exec: We can't afford to buy the rights.

Third Exec: Why don't we repeat old programmes about single women and call it a Bridget Jones evening, even though there's nothing about her in it?

All: Brilliant!

Cut to Delia Smith.

Delia: Which way should you turn the tap ? Well, in my experience it's always best to...

Cut to David Attenborough going through passsport control.

Attenborough: Flying isn't just about flying. It's about taking off as well. And landing.

Cut to Michael Palin.

Palin: I think we're in trouble here, settling this bar bill. Apparently $400, allowing for inflation, would be about five grand by now. I wonder what Papa Hemingway would have done...?

Cut to Angus Deayton

Deayton: So Ian Hislop's team are charging up the fast lane with a speedy eight points, but Paul Merton's side are stuck behind a lorry in the slow lane with a tortoise-like five points...

Cut to BBC announcer.

Announcer: And now it's time for Test Match cricket, so let's turn over to Channel 4...