On the 200th anniversary of the great scientist’s birth, Sir David Attenborough muses on how he changed the world
At the age of 82 Sir David Attenborough is still looking for adventure. So later this year he will pack his thermals and head back to Antarctica to see how places he has visited in the past have been affected by global warming.
He is not as mobile as he was but, as he points out: “I’m not walking there, I tell you. In the polar regions it’s a doddle if you’ve got all the gear. Got all the gear, no problem.” Then, with the immaculate timing that he has developed over decades of yarn-spinning, he adds: “Until something goes wrong. If you are walking around on a glacier near the South Pole and you lose a glove…” pause for effect… “you’ve probably lost your hand. It’s a serious business.” But just in case anyone should think that he is taking his endeavours too seriously, he notes: “If you’ve got an aged presenter you have a back-up of really tough, hairy-chested, string-vest men. If he drops his glove they’ve got another one.”
Sir David continues to be the most popular, crowd-pleasing wildlife expert and this year will be a good one for sightings. When he is not off filming in Antarctica for a future project, he will be working on his script for an autumn blockbuster series, Life. He has narrated next month’s BBC One series Nature’s Great Events. And the highlight of the BBC’s coverage of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of publication of On the Origin of Species (broadcast next week) is an Attenborough one-hour special, Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life.
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