Britain's longest running soap opera - the Royal Family - has decided to take on the tricky issue of genetically modified crops. This is not the first time a British soap has confronted the issue. One of the key characters in "The Archers", a radio soap that tells the everyday stories of everyday country folk, was arrested but later acquitted for allegedly causing criminal damage to a modified crop that was being grown by one of his uncles. But when the Royals hang out the dirty linen, it is much more entertaining.

The plot is as follows. Charles, the eldest son who is in awe of all things natural, continues to witter on about the dangers of creating conditions in which "genetic manipulation seeks to transform the process of biological evolution into something altogether different" (see BioCentury, May 22). Philip, the blunt talking father who has little time for his