Susan Morrison: Crime pays for penguins in search of the spotlight

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See they’ve arrived then, our pandas. Well, they’re not really our pandas. We got them from RentaPanda.

Edinburgh, a city that’s seen it all, has gone panda-crazy. Why, there are even people wandering about the city dressed as pandas to honour our new arrivals. I saw lassies with big black eyes dressed in fluffy monochrome outfits in Newhaven Asda. No, hang on, they were still in jammies with last night’s mascara all over their faces. Easy mistake to make.

But whilst we go ape for the furry cuties, I warn you, there will be stirrings of resentment. A zoo is a dangerous place to make enemies.

Who’s looking at the stick insects now, eh, when there’s Pandacam to watch? To be honest, the stick insects didn’t really do that much. In fact, for all we know, they might have just Sellotaped some twigs to a branch and said, that’s stick insects, that is. I wouldn’t know, would you? Take the rhino, standing stoic in his pen. He’s only got one claim to fame. You go and see that rhino and the only thing it has to offer is a jar of green poo, which the keeper proudly produces like a mum with a particularly putrid nappy for you all to sniff. Well, rhino, my boy, you’re just going to have to up your game.

As for the monkeys, well, I wouldn’t turn my back on them for a second. It’s all very well for them to be swinging on tyres gurning like Bruce Forsyth leering at a contestant on Strictly, but who’s going to be looking at them when the pandas roll into town, eh?

And then the ousted star attraction, the penguins. Well, it’s going to take more than a parade of tiny waiters to keep your place at the top of the bill now. Take a leaf from your wild cousins on the Beeb, who have surged in the public’s affections because one was filmed nicking pebbles. Crime, my little black and white friends, that’s how you’re going to get your place back. Pebble-nicking is a start, but I suggest a little light bank robbing to get you on the telly. Admittedly, driving the getaway car will be difficult with flippers, but think of the Crimewatch reconstruction.

It’s a tragic thought that our dole offices will soon be overrun with out-of-work penguins and Madagascan tree frogs looking for a change of career. Unless, one dark night, those pesky monkeys get loose and we suddenly find our rented pandas have been switched for a pair of sulky teens in jim-jams.