David Dimbleby gets a tattoo at 75

“You are only old once,” veteran broadcaster tells Radio Times after getting a scorpion tattooed on his back

At 75 one is never too young to get a tattoo – just ask David Dimbleby.


The veteran broadcaster has fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition and had a scorpion tattooed on his right shoulder.

“You are only old once,” he tells this week’s Radio Times describing his trip to the tattoo studio. “I have always wanted a tattoo. I thought I might as well have it done now. It’s a dream come true for me.”

The opportunity arose while making his new maritime series, Britain and the Sea. In describing how tattoo art was introduced to the UK as a result of Captain Cook’s South Seas adventures, he was offered the chance to have one of his own. But he declined, feeling he was too old.

“So instead they did something with black pencil that can be washed off. But when I saw it in a preview of the film I thought: ‘That’s a bit feeble.’ I thought it was wimpish having it just drawn on and I needed to man up.”

With cameraman in tow, he took himself off to the Vagabond tattoo studio in east London.

“It took about 30 minutes — an hour in all —and I thought of Winston Churchill having his done while mine was being done. It wasn’t painful at all, it just zings a bit.”

He chose the scorpion because Scorpio is his star sign, adding: “It’s modest. It can’t be seen unless I choose to show it to someone. I’m rather fond of it actually, this little scorpion sitting on my shoulder ready to attack my enemies.”

Asked what his wife Belinda makes of his tattoo he said: “I think she’s mildly amused. I believe she wanted a tattoo once, but has never got around to it. Maybe I’ll be able to persuade her.“