David Attenborough’s Christmas

How will the tireless broadcaster who brought us the Frozen Planet be relaxing over the festive season?

How will you celebrate Christmas this year?


A big family affair at my house in Richmond, as we have been doing for the past 20 years.  My son Robert will be coming from Australia, and both my grandchildren live in the UK now, so they will be there along with my daughter Susan. I have nephews and nieces on my late wife’s side of the family particularly, so they will be coming around to my house for the usual Christmas dinner and presents.

Who does the cooking?

My daughter Susan. I might do the Brussels sprouts, and I’m very good at cutting potatoes, but other than that, she’s in charge.

What presents would you like to receive?

I’m hoping for a satsuma at the bottom of my stocking! Truthfully, when you’re 85, you don’t want for very much. Just good company. And perhaps a bottle of red… or two!

Do you watch the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day?

Avidly! I have to say that or I’ll have the Duke of Edinburgh with a big stick coming after me. I produced the Queen’s speech for a few years in the late 1980s, so naturally I take a keen interest still. How many times have we met? Well, she knighted me – I still have the scar on my back – and one meets her at various charity functions and so on.

You commissioned the most popular Christmas specials of all time…

Morecambe and Wise? Yes. We’ve never seen the like before or since in terms of popularity. There were only three channels then of course, so it was possible in those days for BBC1 to get these enormous audiences, whereas it’s a different landscape now.

Is there anything as good as The Morecambe and Wise Show on television today?

Well, I’m sure there is, but I don’t watch much television any more. Certainly there is no sense of the Christmas programme, because television itself has changed so much.

What are your childhood memories of radio?

I was 13 when war broke out and radio became more central to our lives after that. There was It’s That Man Again and In Town Tonight. I can still remember the theme tune: “Da, dee, da da… And once again, we stop the roar of London’s traffic to bring you – ding-dong – In Town Tonight!

What in your career are you most proud of?

I always feel tremendously lucky, in truth. I never set out to document the natural world, but it was quite something to complete the Life series so that I now have a full set of DVDs on a shelf from Life on Earth to Life in ColdBlood. And it’s rather nice to have been involved in television covering such technical advances as moving into colour, and then filming outside broadcasts, and now filming in 3D.

Next year marks your 60th year in television. Will you ever slow down?

It’s not really work, it’s just having a ball. Would I rather be sitting in a wheelchair? Of course not!

Who would play you in the film of your life?


I’m not sure that I’m au fait with any modern actors, but as long as he was devilishly goodlooking, that would be all right.