The mystery of the disappearing David Attenborough

Sir David's interview with Evan Davis on this morning's Today programme ended abruptly as the conversation turned to the subject of euthanasia. But did Attenborough hang up, was he cut off or was it simply 'a technical glitch'?

Mystery surrounds the abrupt ending of an interview between David Attenborough and Evan Davis on the Today programme this morning.


As Davis sought to quiz Attenborough on his views about euthanasia, the line suddenly went dead, giving the appearance that either Attenborough had hung up or a time-pressed producer had pulled the plug.

The interview was in danger of running into the daily 8:28am sports bulletin from Garry Richardson and he was on hand instantly to fill the void.

Attenborough was on the programme to talk about his new series Rise of Animals, which starts on Friday on BBC2. Having run through an outline of the two-parter, he was asked by Davis about population control, picking up themes explored by Radio Times in its recent interview with him.

But Davis then moved onto Attenborough’s own well being – “old age is not for cissies” was Sir David’s retort – and asked about euthanasia. Did the 87-year-old presenter support Stephen Hawking’s view that those in pain should be allowed to end their own life? Attenborough spluttered a little, expressed some surprise at the question, but said broadly that he did, though there were obviously major issues with any legislation on the matter. And then the line went dead.

Had the producer decided that Davis had strayed too far into Attenborough’s personal life? Was the programme running order too important to disrupt or did Attenborough feel the questioning had gone too far and simply hung up? Our guess is that Radio 4 will say none of the above and put it down to a technical glitch. Let’s see…