UK: Delia serves up her last show on TV

Delia Smith

Delia Smith - Credit: PA

DELIA Smith has called time on her television career and said programme makers were now sacrificing education for entertainment.

The cook, who first appeared on television more than 40 years ago and has sold millions of cookbooks, said 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.”

Ms Smith said she had turned down a recent approach from the BBC 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 that have proved a hit at dinner tables across the country.

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

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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.

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