It’s not Sheila Dillon’s fault that she has a dreary voice, but it is the fault of the BBC to inflict her on us week after week on the Food Programme. Her monotonous voice combined with relentlessly holier than thou topics make the Food Programme one of the dreariest on air. There was hope for a livelier affair when she announced that Paul McCartney was her special guest, but all he wanted to do was to drone on about why he won’t eat meat. But it was interesting to hear him repeat the oft-told story about why he became a vegetarian. He said that he was enjoying a leg of lamb for Sunday lunch on his farm cooked by his wife Linda when they suddenly realised that the meat they were eating came from the lambs which they could see playing in the fields. “They’re such lovely creatures, how can we possibly eat them” is the sort of sentiment usually expressed by 12 year old girls, but Paul McCartney has no conception of the idiocy of his response and shared this recollection without the least sense of shame. A better journalist than Sheila Dillon might have asked what happened to the lambs on his farm. Did the McCartneys give up farming sheep, in which case what happened to the lovely green fields outside their dining room window? Did they allow them to revert to bracken and gorse, which is what happens when sheep stop grazing fields? A bleak Sunday lunch of quorn burgers looking out onto a wilderness of bracken and gorse would have been an appropriate punishment for his sentimentality.
Did anything in the McCartney childhood presage these unfortunate events? Sheila Dillon looked for clues by asking Paul to describe what kind of food this middle-class grammar school boy was given. He said that every Sunday lunch he had Yorkshire pudding, as a dessert, served with golden syrup. I think this explains it all. Could anything be more perverted? We, in the West Riding, were aware that in some parts of the country people ate Yorkshire pudding as an accompaniment to the roast beef, instead of having it on its own as a starter with onion gravy, as Yorkshire folk do, but to eat it as a dessert is odd, even for a Lancastrian. I think this explains it all.