To millions of TV viewers in the 1970s heyday of the BBC it seemed like nothing could touch David Attenborough.
This man had approached a colony of gorillas, bonded with them and had been accepted by them. During this epoch-making series of events he whispered to us, the onlookers, as he got closer and closer to the terrifying tribe before revealing them to be essentially like us - family minded, peace-loving beings.
Yet now, decades later, the strange and bizarre truth of Sir David's relationship with the gorillas is starting to emerge - and it's not always a pleasant tale.
George the Gorilla, now retired to a sheltered treehouse but in 1979 deputy head of the tribe Attenborough made contact with, has described the BBC man's behaviour as "exploitative at best, predatory at worst" as he spoke to The Groomer Magazine yesterday.
"He got too close. We were all lying about - as we do - in a clearing in the jungle. We were bored it's true. We were looking for something different and Attenborough sensed this.
"Naturally, we were insatiably curious at the approach of this guy. We could have just torn his head off but no.........this was the 70s and we were cool about the whole thing. He was attractive to some of the females - his flared trousers etc. Us males didn't want to be seen as uptight. We left alone but we weren't happy. And now you can see the tragic legacy of it all every time you set foot in the jungle."
To perfectly illustrate George's remarks, beneath his treehouse a young gorilla could be seen ambling slowly about in crudely tailored palm leaf chino trousers, his head cocked slightly to one side and intoning: "In a very real sense, I desire not one but two bananas for my supper......
.......and this is one consummate professional who knows how to get them."