David Dimbleby’s tattoo ‘may be the first of many’

"He was very up for it," says the producer of Dimbleby’s new show Britain and the Sea, after the veteran broadcaster had a scorpion tattooed on his back

The tattoo that took Britain by storm this morning could be only the first of many… 


When Radio Times revealed today that – at the ripe young age of 75 – David Dimbleby had had a scorpion etched on his shoulder, the reaction in the press and across social media ranged from surprise to delight, amusement to admiration.

The veteran broadcaster, who presents Question Time on BBC1 each week, told us how he had decided to follow in the footsteps of some other great Britons while filming his new maritime history series Britain and the Sea. 

“It took about 30 minutes – an hour in all,” said Dimbleby, “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.

“You are only old once,” he added. “I have always wanted a tattoo. I thought I might as well have it done now. It’s a dream come true for me.”

In fact, so taken is Dimbleby by his new body art, that he may not stop at a single solitary scorpion. 

“This may be the first of a number [of tattoos],” said Alexander Leith, producer of Britain and the Sea.

“He’s always harboured a desire to have one,” Leith told RadioTimes.com. “When we first filmed the sequence in Plymouth, I think he wasn’t completely convinced that he was going to do it there and then but he had a bit of time to think about it and decided that he’d go ahead. As soon as he made his mind up he went and did it. It was great.”

Leith added that Dimbleby “was very stoic” about the procedure. “There was no passing out and no unhappiness,” he said. “This may be the first of a number.”

“I’m very fond of the sequence in programme one about Captain Cook and his voyages of exploration,” added Leith. “Cook brought tattoos to Britain, and David got a tattoo himself. He was very up for it.”

Britain and the Sea begins on 18 November at 9pm on BBC1