His voice is often imitated but never quite equalled, much to the BBC’s benefit. But now Sir David Attenborough is to follow the path of several other of the corporation’s stars, by jumping ship to arch-rival Netflix.
Sir David is to narrate a new nature documentary series for the internet streaming service, which the BBC has said threatens its investment in the sort of programmes for which the 92-year-old is best known.
The naturalist will lend his signature tones to the script for ‘Our Planet’, described as a “landmark” series filmed over four years across 50 countries, it has been reported.
‘Our Planet’ charts a similar course to the BBC hits ‘Planet Earth’ and ‘Blue Planet’ and is helmed by the same director. It will focus on the world’s most fragile habitats.
Sir David will continue to work for the BBC, and is expected to work on a new series, ‘Frozen Planet’, due to air in 2021.
“It wasn’t at all hard to persuade David,” Alastair Fothergill of Silverback Films, the Bristol production company making ‘Our Planet’ for Netflix, told The Times.
The streaming giant has deep pockets, and is believed to have an annual content budget of £6.1bn ($8bn).
The BBC has a total expenditure of £4.77bn ($6.2bn), which, unlike Netflix, includes the budget of its expansive news division.
It comes after the California-based streamer said that it expects to add around nine million more subscribers to its services globally over the next three months.
Earlier this year, Netflix bought the global rights to the BBC hit ‘Bodyguard’ in a deal with producers ITV.
While Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May made headlines in 2015 by choosing to re-form their popular BBC show ‘Top Gear’ as ‘The Grand Tour’ on Netflix-rival Amazon Prime Video.
CORRECTION: This article was updated on 9 November to correct a mention of ‘The Grand Tour’, which airs on Amazon Prime Video, not Netflix as originally stated.