Actress EMMA THOMPSON sparked a pie-throwing melee during her appearance on US talk show Late Show With David Letterman last night (24JAN06) when she hurled a creamy dessert at the veteran host.

The HOWARDS END Oscar-winner threw a pie at co-star Angela Lansbury in her latest film, NANNY MCPHEE, and was explaining to Letterman what the experience was like.

She recalls, "Proudest moment of my acting career, really.

"I didn't know that pie-throwing was so cathartic. It's heaven throwing pies. But they have to have weight to them - heavy cream."

Letterman stunned the actress by producing a cream pie and challenged her to test her skills by throwing a pie at his face.

The shocked actress stood up, took aim and threw, managing to cover half of the host's face with the pie, while the show's house band played RULE BRITANNIA in the background.

Thompson set off a chain reaction of cream pie throwing involving bandleader Paul Shaffer, the show's announcer and a cue card holder, which ended with Thompson herself getting a pie in the face from Letterman.