Friday, 18 January 2008

When Beavers Attack

The mystery of Fred Talbot's disappearance deepens.

Judy was hanging out her newly-washed triple-trussed safety brassieres this morning when she saw something grinning at her from the bushes that run alongside the rear patio. Naturally, she gave a scream and fainted there on the spot. When I ran out to see what was wrong, I found our beaver lurking in close proximity to her left leg, a morbid grin fixed across its wet, salacious lips. I saw immediately what had happened. From somewhere, the poor creature had unearthed an object that looked remarkably like a human jawbone. The object had become stuck on the beaver’s oversized teeth and were preventing the beaver from going about its normal business of making a documentary for the BBC down at the lake.

Still feeling a little cautious about how I handle an animal owned by TV license payers, I immediately rang Bill Oddie who jumped on his bicycle and peddled around. Together we managed to lure the beaver back down to the lake where we penned him against the bank for a closer inspection.

‘This isn’t a jawbone,’ squealed a delighted Oddie once he’d prised the grin from the beaver’s mouth. ‘It’s the upper half of a set of dentures.’

‘Dentures?’ I said, reaching for them. ‘And what would a beaver be doing with dentures?’

Oddie looked to the still, dark waters of the lake. ‘And you’re yet to be convinced that Fred Talbot’s not down there?’

‘Impossible,’ I replied and looked at the smile in my hand. Could this really be the same grin that had welcomed in many a warm front and warned of overnight ground frost from a floating map moored to the Albert Dock? There was only one way to find out.

‘We need to get these dentures checked out by an expert orthodontist,’ I said as Bill began to frolic in the mud with the beaver. ‘We need somebody to confirm that these teeth match Fred the Weatherman’s smile.’

There is, of course, only one person we know who has the medical training to make such a identification.

‘I got here as fast a human legs and diesel engine could carry me,’ said Stephen Fry, jogging down to the lake. He was wearing his Oscar Wilde had and favourite green cape, while in his hand he carried a shooting stick with the large handle in the shape of H.G. Well’s naked buttocks. ‘Might I enquire, Dick, why your lady wife is currently lying on the patio?’

‘Ah,’ I said, no doubt blushing a touch. ‘That’s because I completely forgot about her in all the excitement. She fainted when the beaver reared its grinning head.’

‘The same beaver with the teeth you want me to inspect?’

‘The very same,’ I said, handing him the dentures.

‘You are indeed fortunate,’ he said, inspecting the teeth. ‘I spent my last Whit holiday taking all the qualifications required to work as an orthodontist. Do you know I fixed Jade Goody’s underbite last year?’

I gave an involuntary shiver. ‘Working for the enemy, Stephen? That’s not like you.’

‘It’s hard to say no when one has the chance to wire that woman’s mouth shut.’ He turned the teeth over in his hands. ‘These dentures are well worn and have the distinctive bite characteristics of a man who speaks with his mouth full and gets overexcited at moments of even mild stress.’

‘That could easily be Fred,’ I said, remembering many a meal when his enthusiasm for a cloud would get the better of him.

‘I need to compare it with pictures of the man.’

‘I’m sure we have a few of those tucked away,’ I said and gestured up to the house.

On the way back, I got Stephen to help me lift Judy from the cold patio and into the conservatory where she’d be warm as she slept off her shock. I then took Fry and Oddie into my study where I keep the chest containing all my old souvenirs of my days on This Morning.

‘Inconclusive,’ said Fry half an hour later. He sat back and let the magnifying glass fall to his knees. ‘These teeth could easily have belonged to Fred but they could have also belonged to one of a number of men with strong jaws and slightly erratic natures.’ He looked toward Bill who was curled up asleep on the rug. ‘For instance, these teeth could easily have belonged to Bill.’

Bill gave a quite mutter, no doubt dreaming about chasing owls through a semi-deciduous forest.

‘Well that means that mystery only deepens,’ I said as I lay the teeth on my desk next to my unfinished Airfix model of Crown Prince Willem Hendrik.

‘Indeed it does,’ said Stephen. ‘If only you could find the bottom set, we might be able to make a positive match. Until then, there’s little more I can do.’

‘Thanks,’ I replied, patting the Great Man on the knee. ‘Fancy a game of Scrabble while the babes are asleep?’

‘I thought you’d never ask,’ said Stephen as I stepped lightly over my little bearded friend.

‘I’m afraid the excitement of the morning had come too early in the year for him,’ I explained to Stephen as we softly closed the study door on the sleeping Oddie. ‘If he doesn’t get a good four mouths of winter hibernation, he can be so irritable come the spring.’


The Titch said...

I am surprised that Stephen Fry did not try to eat the beaver. I believe wet beaver is a delicacy on a par with pussy.

Richard Madeley said...

Dear God, above! I blame Dreamy for this outbreak of risqué material. If Judy sees this, she will throw a fit. We may be on Channel 4 but can't we keep this clean? You haven't even ask ed me about the search for poor Fred.

bertas said...

Sorry in the fit of giggles :)... how is the search for poor Fred going then? :)

Richard Madeley said...

Yes, Bertas, but giggling at what? Surely not The Titch? Oh save me...

However, if you really want to know how the search for Fred is going, I can only say it's progressing slowly. We've had posters printed and are now offering £15 in book tokens as a reward.

Selena Dreamy said...

Dear God, above! I blame Dreamy for this outbreak of risqué material.

Admittedly, that was a sorry - and I fully concede, inappropriate - use of an otherwise excellent term...

Richard Madeley said...

Selena, not all of us are sexy art-directors with exotic tastes and a proclivity towards old millionaires and their musclebound chauffeurs. Some of us are gentle souls who do our best to educate the world via late afternoon chat. You now see what happens when you encourage a man like the Titch? One little remark and you ruin all the good work done by the medication and physical therapy.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Oh for goodness sake - pussy and beaver jokes! It's disgraceful - there are no similarities whatsoever between the two animals.

The Titch said...

Oh come on Bretwalda... the beaver and the pussy are similar in that they are both furry animals and are both edible ...quite delicious & juicy when cooked properly.
Dick...stop being such a prude...if I really wanted to tell a rude food joke I would have asked you..
"Whats the difference between pussy and parsley?"

AxmxZ said...

Evil beaverses!! Stephen is right to steer clear of them.

I wonder where he had his cane made. I want a cane with some sort of grabbable ass on the handle. I can hold ass-auditions.

Lola said...

This is all getting quite out of hand - what about poor Fred? In among all the multiple entendres we have a missing weatherman, possibly at the bottom of a lake, his skeletal form being chewed by a large water-dwelling rodent... Have you spoken to his agent? Have you?

Richard Madeley said...

Bretwalda, I agree. It's shocking what a family friendly man should have to put up with. Scriblerus never had to deal with this filth.

Titch, I can't help but be a prude. It's written into my Channel 4 contract. And besides, I don't like upsetting Bretwalda. She has a very sensitive disposition.

Ax, I've asked him where he had his grabbable ass cane made and he won't divulge any more than saying 'Stockholm'.

Lola, that's the problem. His agent has disappeared to. That might not be as suspicious as it sounds. Being a weatherman, he didn't have such a big agent. In fact, it was just his local greengrocer so his disappearance might just be seasonable migration to do with the price of onions. As for Fred, he's still missing. I'm considering have shirts made for us all to wear.

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