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Delia hangs up her TV apron
Delia hangs up her TV apron

For 40 years, Delia Smith has patiently tried to teach Britons to cook, reaching out from the television in the evening to calm chaotic kitchens across the land.

But now she has decided enough is enough.

Smith, who began her screen career in the 1970s and has sold millions of cookbooks, said she would continue demonstrating her easy and reliable recipes in online tutorials, but her television days were over.

"When I started, there was further education in the BBC; now you have to entertain," she told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"You have someone telling me I haven't got time to show this, or I haven't got time to show that."

Smith recently ended a contract to promote upmarket supermarket chain Waitrose, after which she said her former bosses at the BBC were immediately on the telephone asking when they could film her next program.

"And I said, 'No, thank you'. I am afraid to say this is the end when it comes to Delia on the telly," she said.

Such is Smith's influence that anything she endorses immediately flies off the shop shelves, a phenomenon known as the "Delia effect", which has earnt a place in the Collins English Dictionary.

Her other major love is football - she is a joint majority shareholder in Norwich City along with her husband, Michael Wynn Jones.