After last night’s show, we all went down to the New Forest and ate some hedgehog with my old mate, Ray Mears. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been an admirer of the outdoors life. Although I hate the idea of blood sports, which I think are barbaric, I’m a man who appreciates the old ways of the countryside. Many a weekend, you’ll find me out in the wilds, gutting a wild boar or taking out a deer from half a mile away. I can put a bullet between a sparrow’s eyes from 100 metres. Naturally, it’s not something I like to make known to the general public who are a bit squeamish about such matters. Once they seen you up to your elbows in a bison juice, they tend to think only bad of you. They don’t understand that we’ve been doing this for millennia and a few modern niceties such as abattoirs and the Tesco frozen meat section shouldn’t divorce us from the realities of what it means to be meat eaters.
I suppose my love for the countryside developed when I was working on Granada Reports. They once sent me off to Kenya to do a piece about a North West couple who had opened a safari tour operation there. That’s when I first learned to use an elephant gun. That was back in the late 70s when there wasn’t the problems we have these days with the shortage of animals and too many people making a fuss about ivory. Which is why I do so little hunting these days. I restrict myself to animals which are in plentiful supply, perhaps the domesticated dog on the weekend or if it’s a special occasion I’ll take down an owl.
Being vegetarian, Judy won’t have anything to do with my meat. It’s a real shame. Hunting facts are one of my specialities. I also follow in a long tradition of celebrities who have done exciting things. Did you know, for example, that in his younger days, Ken Dodd once wrestled a bull to the ground? This was before golf became the sport of choice for comedians. All the great entertainers would get together in Spain and live out the life of slightly funnier versions of Ernest Hemmingway. They’d often go to Africa and hunt big game. Charlie Drake prided himself on his collection of gnu’s eyebrows while dear old Les Dawson was something of an expert in the trapping of finches.