Fans and fellow broadcasters were left reeling at the weekend after film-maker Sir David Attenborough confessed he was, ‘fed up of looking at animals all the time.’
In the middle of an address to the Natural History Society, he put down his notes and declared, ‘I can’t go on with this pretence any longer. I’ve been in the wildlife documentary business for than sixty years and I’m sick to the back teeth of it.
‘Narwhals, cheetahs, tree frogs or rhinoceroses, they’re all the same to me: mind-numbingly boring. I’d rather be smarmed over by Piers Morgan than watch one more killer whale chomping on a seal pup, pointless wildebeest migration across the sodding Serengeti – they just turn round and come back again you know – or ridiculous blue-footed booby mating ritual.’
‘Despite what people think, animals are neither interesting nor cuddly. Penguins are bad-tempered little blighters, meerkats can give you a nasty nip, and mountain gorillas like nothing better than farting in your face.’
The veteran broadcaster’s world-weary ‘been there, filmed that, got the BAFTA’ attitude is worrying his producers.
‘We’ve tried everything,’ said one. ‘We’ve had him crawling through bat-infested caves, hanging from dripping trees in the rainforest and, in the latest series, standing on an icecap in the teeth of a Force 9 blizzard. Nothing excites him any more. He just rolls his eyes, stifles a yawn and says, ‘Don’t tell me, more bloody animals!’’
Sir David is said to be looking for new, non-animal projects to bring zest into his jaded life.
‘I’ve offered my services as host on Take Me Out or as Dot Cotton’s love interest on East Enders. Failing that, I quite fancy being a fourth member of the Top Gear team. They never have to interact with animals – unless you count road-kill.’