In the early days of Radio 4's World at One programme, reporter Sue McGregor was asked by presenter Bill Hardcastle to do a story about the sizzling heat that had been enveloping Britain that summer. But he wanted a different angle for the story, and insisted she take some eggs out to Piccadilly Circus and attempt to fry them on the pavement. Of course, nothing happened, apart from a gloppy mess.
"So I nipped into Boots and bought a bottle of meths and lit it and then fried the egg. It made a splendid noise, and I remember at that point there were rather a lot of unwashed hippies gathered round the base of Eros and they got very interested in all these eggs and scooped them up and ate them. And when Bill discovered that I'd cheated he was furious. He reckoned we'd let the listeners down. I thought it was rather funny."
You can imagine the furore such subterfuge would cause now. The papers would be in uproar over the great fried egg cover-up. "Is this why we pay our licence fee?", Mr Angry from Tunbridge Wells would rant, while The Guardian would worry about the waste of food and the Financial Times about the waste of money. And I can just see the headline in The Sun: "You Must Be Yolking!"