(Scene: BBC Radio Five Live studios, earlier today. The presenter is just hitting his stride.)
"On today's phone-in we ask, in the horrific wake of the terror attack by a fox on two baby girls in west London at the weekend, should foxes be culled? Call or text in your thoughts to us here in the studio. Our first caller is Deborah from East Grinstead. Good morning, Deborah."
"Yes, hello. I just wanted to say that the fox problem has to be dealt with straight away. They're an absolute nightmare round my way. All I have to do is open my back door and I am literally overrun by scores of the dangerous beasts who generally hang about looking cocky in my garden. I caught one chewing on the corner of my son's play mat the other day. When I screamed he just looked at me with utter contempt. The fox didn't look too impressed either."
"The fox was chewing your son's play mat?!"
"That's right. I even found one sleeping in my son's bed one time. Not a care in the world. I literally vomited when I saw it lying there as if it owned the place."
"The fox was sleeping in your son's bed?"
"It was. The story has a happy ending though. My husband scooped it up and threw it out of the window. Took ages to scrape it off the patio mind you. I just cannot believe the arrogance of these creatures."
"And this wasn't an isolated incident?"
"Goodness no. They're literally a plague round here. I was at my wits end. If I didn't have them systematically exterminated I don't know what I'd do."
"Thanks for your call. Bill is on line two. Morning, Bill."
"Morning, Nicky. Big fan of the show. The foxes are a problem aren't they? These alien creatures infesting our beautiful English countryside. And now our gardens!"
"Hang on a minute, alien creatures? Surely foxes have been a part of the British countryside for thousands of years?"
"Yes but they don't play by our rules. It's against nature. We live in constant fear in our house. I'm scared to let my kids out to play in the garden now. They must be destroyed! The foxes I mean. Kill them all!!"
"Kevin is on line four. Kevin, you don't believe foxes should be culled?"
"Hello Nicky. No, no I do not. I fervently believe that foxes should not be cold. Can we not just give them nice warm jackets to wear or something?"
(Bill on line two cuts back in)
"Oh for goodness' sake, this is just the kind of lily-livered nanny-state hogwash that has sent this country into decline since new Labour came into power. We should take action against these frenzied beasts NOW, not mollycoddle them. I think it's time to lift the ban on fox hunting now that we have a strong, right-thinking government again."
(presenter cuts in again)
"Interesting point. What do other listeners think - is Bill right? Is it time to take action and lift the ban? Or should it stay in place? And what about the timing of this whole business, is it a bit strange that the mainstream media are becoming so obsessed with a story like this five minutes after the Tories have come back into power? Gordon is on line twelve."
"Political. Correctness. Gone. Mad. Honestly, I'm surprised at you, Nicky. Surprised that you could be so easily influenced by the spoutings of the loony left! Of course fox hunting should be brought back. It's what made this country great. We need to rid the country of them now. Won't someone think of the children!!"
"Beryl is on the central line. Beryl?"
"Yes I just wanted to say that I think it's terrible the-the sheer hostility and hatred that people are showing for these beautiful animals. We are all God's creatures after all. Can we not just live and let live?"
(Bill and Gordon both try to interrupt; the presenter interjects)
"Hang on, one at a time. Gordon, talk to Beryl."
"Let me get this right. What you are actually saying here Beryl is that you want the foxes to win, right?"
"I didn't say that at all. I was merely saying we have to learn to be tolerant and understanding towards these animals. Perhaps if we stopped leaving our bins overflowing on the street and disposed of our litter more appropriately, this might discourage them hanging around our urban environments. That and stop leaving food for them in our gardens."
"Don't you tell me what to do! Our brave soldiers aren't out there laying down their lives on the front line in Algeria-"
"Wherever - so that the likes of you can come on here and ABUSE ME for giving my honest opinion. I think you should apologise, Beryl. Your hate-filled rant has left me quite shaken."
"Well I-I'm very sorry if what I said hit some kind of nerve with you, but consider this. If you - and other callers to this programme - had substituted the word 'fox' with 'jew' in your various diatribes then you would have been using exactly the same language that the Nazis used seventy years ago. Albeit they would have said it in German, obviously."
"Oh great, so now I'm a Nazi am I?! Not that Mr Hitler didn't talk a lot of sense at times. But still, stop oppressing me you evil cow!"
(Gordon spontaneously combusts; hate-filled lynch mob and nation's press gather outside Beryl's house; Nicky hands over to Philip Eden with the weather; The End)
Friday 24 March 2017 - 1 SEVEN NEWS 863,000 2 SEVEN NEWS / TODAY TONIGHT 806,000 3 NINE NEWS 773,000 4 NINE NEWS 6:30 732,000 5 BROADCHURCH 640,000
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