03/01/2018 11:11 GMT

David Attenborough Says He’ll Retire When He Can No Longer Climb The Stairs

'I do dread not working.'

David Attenborough has revealed the one thing that will see him retire from the screen.

The 91-year-old broadcaster, who has been making programmes for 75 years, said he will finally stop when he can no longer climb the stairs.

Sir David was asked by the director of his latest film, ‘Attenborough And The Sea Dragon’, to repeatedly walk up a spiral staircase, but he told Radio Times that when he can no longer meet such demands he’ll bow out of making nature documentaries.

Sir David Attenborough

“I did it at least six times because of these bloody directors,” he told the magazine. “‘Could you turn a little sooner? Could you look over here? Could you walk down the steps, as well as up?’

“If I can’t walk up and down steps any more, that will stop me.”
He added: “Yes, I do dread not working, although there are things I can do without running up steps six times – books to be written, things I’ve never got round to. But at the moment it seems to be alright.”

The broadcaster, who is set to film several new nature series in 2018, added that he hoped he would be able to tell if he was no longer up to the job before he was told be somebody else.


“I would like to think I would be able to detect when I couldn’t find the right words any more,” he said.

“If I think I’m not producing commentary with any freshness, or which is apposite or to the point, I hope I would be able to recognise it before someone else told me.

“I spend a lot of time fiddling with the words.  I write a commentary, and feel it’s finished, then go back over it the next day and find it full of infelicities, clumsiness and redundancies. If  I thought I was turning in substandard work, that would stop me.”

Sir David’s popularity shows no sign of waning, with his latest series for the BBC, ‘Blue Planet 2’, becoming the most watched show of last year.

Since it was first broadcast on Sunday 29 October, the first episode has been seen by over 14 million people, when you add those who watched it live to the people who caught up online later.

Read the full interview with Sir David in this week’s Radio Times, out now. www.radiotimes.com

Radio Times
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