I’ve recently been having a jolly good time reading Sir David Attenborough’s book – ‘Life on Air’.
Britain has, and always will have, a soft spot for Sir David Attenborough. He’s the grandfather, friend, adventurer everyone wishes they had or knew. He could do a series called ‘David Attenborough discovering your window box’ and everyone would undoubtedly tune in because we love and trust in everything he does. Making this legend’s acquittance is at the top of my bucket list. There are few people roaming this earth that make me genuinely glad they’re alive. Sir David Attenborough, or Davey A as I sometimes affectionately refer to him, is one of these people for me.
On page thirteen of the book I was bemused to come across the following:
‘And there it was – a note from Mary Adams. David Attenborough is intelligent and promising and may well be producer material, but he is not to be used as an interviewer again. His teeth are too big.’
This made me chuckle for a number of reasons.
- How insignificant this comment seems in relation to the career that followed
- I have never once noticed his teeth
- How mortifying it must be to have made such a vacuous comment and then be called out for it in print
- Even though you have ‘big teeth’ you can still become a Sir and a national treasure – REJOICE!
The moral of this story may be watch what you say in private, it might be published in literature to live on well past your time on this earth. Or when someone says you can’t do something because of your big teeth (or insert other appearance ‘defect’ here) remember not to give a flying fox – Sir Attenborough didn’t and look where he is. If having ‘big teeth’ doesn’t hold you back from having one of the longest and most prolific TV careers of a generation, achieving a Sir-hood and being loved by a nation, then we can all take heed. A spotty face, extra pudge or a large nose are no contest to substance.
Attenborough has one of the most magnificent voices on TV. He could narrate someone drinking a cup of tea and I would be engrossed. Never have I heard a voice before which so easily draws my attention and sucks me into whatever experience he is having with him. His tones project a great deal of curiosity and comfort. Inquisitiveness is a thread which runs through the book – seeming to be a main motivation behind everything he does.
‘I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored.’
I will always admire and wish to emulate his sense of adventure. He took it to the next level recently when filming ‘Conquest of the Skies’. I sat bursting with pride (I feel like I know him on a person level now) while Sir David, at 88 years old, jumped into a harness and was pulled to a hanging position in the mouth of a cave. It looked as awesome as it sounds. He then waited for an entire village of bats to cascade past him all whilst remaining his ever-present composure. What. A. Hero.
Something has happened with this book which is a first for me. I’ve read the whole thing as if he is narrating in his familiar voice in my head. It’s been rather fun actually. If you’re a Davey A fan (and why wouldn’t you be?) this book is an absolute delight. It’s bursting with eloquence, wit and of course animals! Some of my favorite parts include anecdotes of adventures. I now have a vivid image of Sir Attenborough lying ‘like sardines’ with six people in a tent made for two, drenched and wondering whether the British public would appreciate the struggle they had gone through to capture a ‘small aquatic carnivorous plant’. It never made it into the programme funnily but sure is an entertaining story.
I believe the country will be in mourning when he retires but we can take comfort in knowing that we can binge watch his box sets forever more.
‘Well I’m having a good time, which makes me feel guilty too. How very English’
If you fancy having a peruse at this delightful book the following will take you straight through to Amazon.com