by Robert Williams
As the usual crew of Des, Mick, Wayne and Mike - but not Clive - visited Mrs Greasy's cafe one morning, little did they know that a bombshell was about to hit them.
"Where's Clive?!" said Mrs Greasy as she did the register.
"He's gone on another mysterious holiday," said Mick. (That's not the bombshell, by the way).
"Not again!" said Mrs G. "I can't afford to lose custom like this! Well...actually I can! When I become Britain's best cook!"
"I'm sorry?" said Des. "Did I mishear you there?"
"I've entered a nationwide competition to find the Best Cook in Britain 2000!" exclaimed Mrs G.
"And you seriously think you can win?!" said Des.
"The winner is going to get nationwide exposure!" said Mrs G. "They'll get to launch their own range of cookery books and own-branded kitchen implements. Even better, they'll get numerous television appearances and possibly even their very own show!"
"I think it's pretty safe to say you've no chance of becoming the best cook in Britain!" laughed Des.
"You may scoff!" said Mrs G. "But I'm extremely confident. Because the funny thing is, the closing date is tomorrow, and so far I'm the only entrant!"
The others gasped in horror.
Later that day, Des called an emergency meeting in his kitchen, for all members of the posse - Mick, Wayne, Mike and Dickie, but NOT Mrs Greasy (and obviously the holidaying Clive).
"I call this meeting to order!" said Des, standing up and banging on the table. "Now as you are well aware, Mrs Greasy is currently the only entrant into this competition, so by default she will be the winner," said Des. "Unless someone else enters this competition by tomorrow, we are in severe danger of Mrs Greasy becoming the best cook in Britain."
"Yeah!" exclaimed Wayne.
"Please be quiet, Wayne," said Des. "Now, as we are all well aware, this would not be a healthy state of affairs. Mrs Greasy is clearly the worst cook in Britain. To let her loose on the nation with her own cookery books and television shows would be a national disaster! Imagine it - millions of unwitting viewers try out her rice pudding recipe after seeing it on television. The hospitals wouldn't be able to cope!! Mrs Greasy cannot be allowed to give the entire population of Great Britain upset stomachs!! We've got to stop this calamity before it's too late!! I thank you."
Des sat down.
"Great speech Des," said Mick. "So what are we going to do about it?"
"I dunno," said Des.
"Well obviously there's only one thing we can do," said Mick. "You never know, some other decent cook may enter the contest by tomorrow. But we can't guarantee it. So we'll all have to enter to make sure she's not the only entrant."
"Do you want your own cookery series on BBC2?" said Des, singgering.
"Well not really," said Mick. "But it's got to be better than presenting anything on DMTV."
"But I can't cook!!" exclaimed Des.
"Can Mrs Greasy?" said Mick.
"Of course not," said Des.
"So there!" said Mick. "None of us are great cooks! But at least one of us has got to be able to beat Mrs Greasy, surely!"
"But I don't even know how to boil an egg!" exclaimed Des.
"Don't worry, Delia Smith's written a book on how to boil eggs," said Mick.
"But I don't even know how to open the door on my microwave!" exclaimed Des.
"Don't worry, Delia Smith's written a book on how to open the doors on microwaves," said Mick.
"But I don't even know how to eat!" exclaimed Des.
"Don't worry, Delia Smith's written a book on how to eat," said Mick.
"Bet you she hasn't," said Des.
"She has," said Mick. "Wayne's got a copy."
"Yeah and I'm stuck on chapter one!" exclaimed Wayne, who had his nose buried in 'Delia Smith's How to Eat Book 3'. "'Openin' yer mouth is the key to eatin'..."
"Mrs Greasy's got copies of all Delia Smith's books," said Mick. "She has them delivered in plain brown envelopes."
"It's a pity Clive isn't here," said Des.
"Did I hear you right?" said Mick.
"He may be an irritating, smarmy monkey," said Des. "But he can certainly cook!! Where's he gone on holiday?"
"I don't know," said Mick. "Look come on everybody, we've got to get practising!"
"Hey...I could call my show 'The Fully Clothed Chef'!" said Des. "Because, obviously, I would be..."
The crew spent the next couple of weeks honing their cookery skills - or rather trying desperately to gain some, in time for the contest.
"I would just like to say," announced Des on the morning of the event, "that I am confident of victory." But no one was listening.
The five of them turned up at BBC Television Centre where the live televised final of the Best Cook in Britain 2000 contest was to take place.
"Oh look, revolving doors," said Des. Mick congratulated Des on his remarkable powers of perception, and proceeded to enter the building via the aforementioned revolving door.
"Right, which way have we got to go then?" said Mick once inside. He received no answer. He then noticed he was standing alone. He turned round and to his horror he saw Des, Wayne, Mike and Dickie going round and round in the revolving doors.
"It's like going out with the kids," sighed Mick to himself. "Come on you lot!!"
"Faster!!! Faster!!!" exclaimed Des.
"Whoooo!!!" exclaimed Wayne.
"Come on Dickie, faster!!" yelled Des.
"This is fab-tastic fun!" exclaimed Dickie.
"Oh look, someone else has popped in to join us!" said Des, as an innocent member of the public took his life in his hands and joined the foursome in the revolving door frenzy. But when Des saw who it was, he suddenly stopped pushing and leapt out of the doors crashing into Mick who had hitherto been standing there with his arms crossed and tapping his foot. Dickie, Mike and Wayne, however, didn't notice and carried on going round.
"Let me out for goodness sake!!" exclaimed the newcomer.
"Push faster Des, come on!!" exclaimed Mike.
"I'm not Des!! I'm Clive!!"
The three of them gasped and, in shock, one by one, they tumbled out and crashed into each other. Clive was the last to fall out, and landed on top of a heap of idiots.
"Geroff Clive!!" exclaimed Wayne.
"Now just what are you doing here?" said Des, as the six of them had reassembled themselves and were upright.
"Well of course I came here to spend all day going round and round in revolving doors!" exclaimed Clive.
"That's funny, so did we!" said Wayne.
"I've come to take part in the Best Cook in Britain 2000 contest!!" exclaimed Clive. "I'm going to wipe the floor with Mrs Greasy!"
"I didn't know we had to clean up as well," said Des.
"I assume you've all entered as well," said Clive.
"Well someone had to prevent Mrs Greasy from winning!" said Mick.
"Well that's why I'm here!" exclaimed Clive.
"That's all right then, as long as she's beaten, it doesn't matter," said Mick.
Des was rather disappointed, though.
"I was rather looking forward to my own cookery show..." he said. "I don't want to switch on my television in the evening and see Clive's face leering out at me! It's bad enough in real life..."
Over in Studio 6, Mrs Greasy, who was ready and eager on stage, was arguing with host Ainsley Harriott.
"I'm sorry, Mr Ainsley, I really can't see what's the point in conducting this contest when I'm the only entrant! Why not just give the whole hour over to me and I'll show the nation how to cook some tasty morsels and of course not plug my cafe at all."
But Ainsley just grinned and rolled his eyes in the way only he can.
"You may laugh, Mr Ainsley, but I'll be presenting 'The Hidden Camera Show' next!" said Mrs G.
Mrs Greasy was then horrified to see five familiar faces - attached to their bodies - walk on.
"Hello Mrs Greasy!" said Clive, cheerfully.
"Mornin' Mrs G! It's yer ol' mate Wayne 'ere!" exclaimed Wayne.
"What are you all doing here?!" said Mrs G, perplexed.
"We've come to challenge you!" said Des.
Mrs G scoffed at them.
"In your dreams, matey! This my chance at last to prove I am the best cook in Britain! I'll walk all over you!!"
Before long, the audience had gathered, and the event was under way. The contestants stood at the edge of the stage just off-camera.
"Pssst, is that Harriet Ainsley over there?" whispered Wayne.
"Yes," said Des.
"But she looks like a man!" said Wayne.
"HEY-HEY!!!!" exclaimed Ainsley Harriott as he leapt onto the stage. "Welcome to the BEST COOK IN BRITAIN CONTEST 2000!!!"
"Excuse me Ms Ainsley, could you stop shouting?" said Des from the side. "You're giving me earache. It might compromise my cooking abilities."
Ainsley ignored him and carried on, while the seven entrants wondered what exotic dish they would be asked to produce.
They had to wonder a while longer. They were brought on one by one, and Ainsley spent ages chatting to each of them, asking them about their lives, showing embarrassing photographs and introducing them to the person they most wanted to meet.
"The person I most wanna meet is...Des!!" said Wayne.
"Oh hello Wayne," said Des who was there already. "It's me."
"Hi Des!!" exclaimed Wayne.
"You're supposed to say Mickey Mouse," whispered Ainsley in Wayne's ear.
"Des isn't Mickey Mouse!!" exclaimed Wayne. "Harriet, you don't know nuthin'!"
The man who had dressed up as Mickey Mouse, and was standing just backstage wondered if he would get paid after all.
Finally Mr Harriott cut the chat and got to the important bit.
"Now tonight, I'd like you all to cook...fish and chips!!"
"Ah, piece of cake," said Mrs Greasy.
"No, no, it's not a cake!!" grinned Ainsley.
"Shove off Harriet," said Mrs G.
They each went to their worktop and got cooking.
"Good grief," moaned Clive. "I've spent weeks practising my cooking skills day and night! I have mastered everything from lentil spinach soup to shrimp salad! And they want me to do fish and chips! I knew beating Mrs Greasy would be a pushover, but at least I do like a BIT of a challenge!"
"Have you quite finished Clive?" said Des. "Your wittering is compromising my cooking abilities."
The contestants busily cooked away, albeit with constant interruptions by Ainsley and special guest star Mr Blobby. Meanwhile Mrs G put up a big sign on the front of her table plugging her cafe. This was quickly removed by the floor manager.
"No advertising!" he exclaimed.
"Picky," said Mrs G.
Before long, they had cooked up their dishes, and were ready for the judging. They each stood as the panel - consisting of those cooking luminaries Gary Rhodes, Rolf Harris, Lionel Blair and Nasty Nick Bateman - came to each in turn and tasted each contestant's intrepetation of fish and chips.
"I'm so sorry about your electric shock," said Mike to Gary Rhodes.
"Can you taste what it is yet?!" said Des to Rolf Harris. "Remember me?" Des and Rolf had previously met on their trip to Australia, but Rolf had wiped the incident from his memory.
The panel came to Wayne first and each of them tried a sample of his fish and chips. They munched for a moment and then to the audience's delight dashed off stage with their hands over their mouths.
"Huh?!" said Wayne.
When the judges had finished throwing up off stage, they came back on to try Mike's effort. They all took one taste - and ran straight off stage again. Mike couldn't understand it.
"What's wrong?" said Mike. "It tastes fine to me!"
"Let me try," said Wayne. He tried one of Mike's chips. "No, it's yummy!"
Des's version of fish and chips had the same effect - and then even Mick's, to his own surprise.
"This lot must work in the BBC canteen!!" laughed Ainsley Harriott.
Then there were two contestants left - Mrs Greasy and Clive. Both were confident of victory. Clive peered over at Mrs G's plate to see the disaster area that she called fish and chips. It was her usual effort of soggy chips and even soggier fish that had all sort of merged together into one horrible gooey mess.
Rolf, Gary, Lionel and Nasty stuck their knives and forks in and tried to sample her dish. Failing that, they tried a spoon. To the others' disbelief they did not rush off the stage, but instead just nodded, and whispered to each other.
Finally came to judge the odds-on favourite, Clive. He was very impressed with his own effort - it looked like the perfect fish and chips. So he was astounded, not to mention the others, when after trying a sample, the judges ran off stage with their hands over their mouths.
After the judges had compared notes, they came to a unanimous decision. With all the contestants gathered round, Ainsley announced that was the Best Cook in Britain 2000 was:
"Oh thank you very much Mr Ainsley," said Mrs G.
"It's a fix!" exclaimed Des.
"It's a national scandal!" exclaimed Clive. "I suspect double dealing!"
The judges droned on about how wonderful and innovative Mrs G's dish was.
"I've never tasted fish and chips like it!" said Nasty Nick.
"Fish and chips - for the 21st century!" said Gary.
Even weeks after the event, and Mrs Greasy had become a national celebrity, Clive was still whinging about the result. He joined Des and Mick round Des's house to watch the first edition of Mrs Greasy's cookery show on BBC2. It coincided with the launch of her new book 'Mrs Greasy's How to Cook Properly Volume 1 by the Official Best Cook in Britain 2000 Mrs Greasy'.
"For goodness sake," said Clive, "how possibly can the best cook in Britain be decided by an Australian wobble-boarder, a showbiz fiend, a dancer bloke and a spikey-haired bloke?!"
"Rolf Harris hasn't got spikey hair!" said Des.
"The result cannot be valid!" exclaimed Clive. "This fiasco is in the hands of just four TV celebs who don't know anything about cookery! They might just as well have asked Wayne to judge it!"
"I think they should have done a phone vote," said Des.
"Eh??!!" said Mick.
"Apparently interactive digital viewers had the opportunity to taste our fish and chips through their remote controls," said Des. "Shhh, now, 'The Greasy Kitchen' is about to start."
They sat though thirty minutes of excruciatingly bad television consisting of Mrs Greasy squinting at the autocue and teaching her viewers to cook extremely badly.
"And I'll you see all you lovely viewers on Saturday night on a new series of 'Mrs Greasy's Hidden Camera Show'!" said Mrs G at the end.
"I can sense disaster," said Des.
The next day it happened. Outbreaks of food poisoning occurred simultaneously across the United Kingdom. Innocent people had been trying Mrs G's recipes following her television programme and book release. Hospitals were inundated.
"This is all going really well," said Mrs Greasy in their cafe meeting that morning. "Over five million people saw my broadcast last night! I am becoming a household name!"
"'Ere, anyone want to try this black puddin' I cooked from Mrs G's book?!" exclaimed Wayne.
"Are you insane?!!" exclaimed Clive. "Stupid question really..."
"I'd rather eat my shoes, Wayne!" exclaimed Des.
"What flavour are they?" asked Wayne.
"What I cannot understand," said Clive, "these are being described as isolated incidents of food poisoning! No one has considered the idea that Mrs Greasy might be responsible!"
"That's because it's total rubbish," said Mrs G.
"We know your cooking is," said Des. "But the finger of suspicion points at you!"
"Didn't your aunt tell you it's rude to point!" exclaimed an angry Mrs G.
"I must do my public duty," said Clive. "I must inform the nation of this outrage!"
"Then I will bar you from my cafe forever!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy.
"Even better!!" exclaimed Clive.
"All right then...I'll remind PC Plod of your criminal record!"
"What???!" exclaimed Clive.
"Remember the time you nicked a packet of smarties from the shop!" said Mrs Greasy.
"Then he went back and asked for a 20 per cent refund because he didn't like the brown ones!" said Des.
"Oh good grief Mrs Greasy, I was nine years old!!" whinged Clive. "At least I was good at maths..."
The gang opted to continue the meeting later in Des's kitchen, without Mrs Greasy.
"I suspect foul play," said Clive.
"I can't find a recipe for duck in her book!" said Des.
"There's something fishy going on," said Clive.
"Or fish!" said Des.
"I can smell a rat," said Clive.
"There definitely isn't a recipe for that!!" exclaimed Des.
"I'm going to dig up some dirt," said Clive.
"This is no time to do the gardening!" exclaimed Des.
"There are too many inconsistencies," said Clive.
"Just like 'The Chronicles of Des and Mick'," said Mick.
"I think I have the answer!!" proclaimed Clive. "Mrs Greasy bribed the BBC!! She paid those celebrities to pretend to throw up over our cooking, well my cooking anyway, and praise her own! And now she's bribed the whole corporation to hush up the fact that she is responsible for today's spontaneous outbreaks of food poisoning!"
"Naaah," said Des.
"Well can you think of a more logical explanation?" asked Clive.
"Naaah," said Des.
"I have a duty to the health of the nation," said Clive.
"So it's not because you wanted your own television show?" said Mick.
"I think the whole thing's totally genuine myself," said Des. "Just one of those things..."
Clive went off to make anonymous phone calls to the newspapers and broadcasting organisations. Before long, the news broke - and Mrs Greasy was taken in for questioning by the BBC.
To the others' amazement she was found to be almost completely innocent. It turned out Gary, Rolf, Lionel and Nasty actually did prefer her cooking over the others. Clive was forced to pay out compensation to the foursome - and Mrs G - when an anonymous caller, who referred to himself simply as Des Wednesday from Tolworth, told the newspapers and broadcasting organisations that Clive had tried to disgrace them.
"Well yes I did try to bribe them a little bit," said Mrs Greasy on the news. "But only with the promise of free food at my cafe. Funny, they haven't turned up yet..."
However some university professor finally did make the link between Mrs G's television appearance and the widespread illnesses the following day, and her book was immediately withdrawn from sale, and her BBC2 series was axed and replaced by repeats of 'The Good Life'.
"Thanks to you, Clive Kippers, I'm back to being an ordinary cafe owner without a television series!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy, back in her ordinary cafe. "Now if you would excuse me, I must serve these four gentlemen over here. What would you like to eat, Lionel?..."