“Forty two sports over 16 days with more than 3000 hours of live BBC Olympic TV coverage.” Yes: Rio 2016 delighted many – but not, it seems, veteran naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
The legendary presenter, who celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year, told RadioTimes.com that the BBC should have had a few more alternatives up their sleeves for people who didn’t like sport during the Olympics fortnight.
“It would be nice if someone said, ‘Well actually there are a few people in the country who don’t want necessarily to see people with very few clothes on jumping off something’.”
So did he think the BBC overdid its coverage?
“Well, it’s only for two weeks. But I would like it if someone had actually sat around and said, ‘What are we going to provide for people who don’t watch sport’. And be content that they actually get a minority audience. That’s the important thing. And the BBC is the one organisation that can do that. It can say, ‘OK we don’t’ mind, there are people who don’t watch sport, we will provide them with something worth watching’.”
During the Rio Olympics, much of the BBC schedule was given over to coverage of the various sports, with live coverage across BBC1 and BBC4 at all hours, day or night. Promising that “a moment will never be missed”, the Corporation also had Red Button coverage and live streaming on the BBC Sport website.
While some may have been put off by the sport, others were quick to praise the BBC Olympic coverage, with letters in the Radio Times praising what was on offer.
“Its blanket coverage brings so many different sports into our view, and the great team of presenters commentators and analysts entertain, educate and draw in the next generation,” said one letter.
Attenborough was speaking to promote his latest series of Natural Curiosities, which is returning to Eden next year. After first premiering on Eden in 2013, the programme has also since aired on BBC2 and has been sold to more than 40 countries around the world.