UK & World News

  • 5 February 2013, 17:13

Delia Smith: I've Dished Up My Last TV Meal

Delia Smith has called time on her television career, claiming programme makers are more interested in entertainment than education.

She first appeared on TV more than 40 years ago and has sold millions of cookbooks - she will continue teaching people to cook using online lessons.

She told The Daily Telegraph: "This is the future for me and the population.

"It's miles ahead. If you do a TV programme now, it's got to entertain.

"When I started, there was further education in the BBC; now you have to entertain. You have someone telling me I haven't got time to show this or I haven't got time to show that."

The 71-year-old said she had turned down a recent approach from the BBC - a refusal which marked the end of "Delia on the telly".

Her lengthy career has seen her acquire the nickname "Saint Delia" for her reliable and easy-to-follow recipes.

Her cookery books - including Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course and How to Cheat at Cooking - have sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Such is her influence that supermarket bosses talk of "the Delia effect", when sales of products featured on her shows go through the roof.

She is credited with causing a national cranberry shortage in 1995 and transformed the fortunes of a small Lancashire firm when she described their omelette pan as a "little gem", prompting sales to leap by thousands in the space of a few months.

A staunch Norwich City fan - and one of the club's directors - she attracted attention during the half-time break of a home match against Manchester City in February 2005.

At the time Norwich were fighting an ultimately unsuccessful battle against relegation from the Premier League.

In an attempt to rally the crowd, she grabbed the microphone from the club announcer on the pitch and said: "A message for the best football supporters in the world: we need a 12th man here. Where are you? Where are you? Let's be 'avin' you! Come on!".

Norwich lost the match 3-2. Smith denied suggestions in the media that she had been drunk.

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