Fat Lady finds gentleman farmer to join her for new show

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CLarissa Dickson Wright, the ebullient remaining half of the Two Fat Ladies, has found herself a new on-screen sparring partner - a gentleman farmer from Berwickshire.

The chef, who was bereft after the death of her friend and television partner Jennifer Paterson, is to team up with one of her oldest friends, Sir John Scott, for a major BBC television series this autumn.

The farmer, who has been described as "engaging and witty" and, perhaps more importantly for those missing the Paterson touch, "exuberant", has been Dickson Wright's friend since childhood.

He is a full-time farmer, who takes time out to write for Farmer's Weekly and a countryside column for Scotland on Sunday, the newspaper in which Dickson Wright has her own food column.

Their new series, tentatively titled Clarissa and The Countryman, will see them out and about and "sparring" in the countryside. Sir John was unable to discuss his new role yesterday, as he had been instructed by the BBC not to talk about the new series.

Dickson Wright found fame when she and Paterson travelled the country in their trademark motocycle and side-car for the Two Fat Ladies cookery programme. They shot to stardom and in countries including Australia were treated like megastars, but after Paterson died of cancer last August, a question mark remained over her partner's television future.

She was recently mooted to helm the cult television show revived after public protest, One Man and His Dog, after she appeared on a celebrity version which was broadcast last Christmas.

But her eventual choice of subjects - as well as partners - should come as no great surprise to those who know her. The remaining "fat lady", as she still likes to term herself, is a keen supporter of countryside pursuits, and has taken part in marches to oppose a potential ban on foxhunting.

She says about her two great loves, cooking and the countryside: "I'll walk five miles to watch a sow badger with her cubs, but when I see a lamb I reach for the mint sauce."

As well as her television career, she is the proprietor of a specialist bookshop, The Cooks' Bookshop, and the rector of Aberdeen University. The series is described as being "another string to Clarissa's bow" and will be launched with a major publicity campaign.

A BBC spokeswoman declined to talk about the new series, except to say: "We can confirm we're doing a series with Clarissa Dickson Wright and details will be announced in due course."