The Problem with David Attenborough

The BBC have revealed that the greatest number of complaints received over the last twelve months have concerned the natural history broadcaster Sir David Attenborough. Sir David - who was knighted in 1985 for his services to chickens, and again the following year just to be on the safe side - has been making wildlife documentaries since the late Mesozoic period and recent comments seem to indicate that his material is becoming a little stale.

"Why, oh why, oh why, oh why must we continue to put up with Mr David so-called Attenborough and his tired old shtick about frogs and crocodiles and birds of paradise and stuff?" runs one typical letter, from angry viewer Hubert Himmler in Kettering. "I first started watching Mr Attenborough's programmes in the eighties, when most of the animals featured were new. Of course, it was all good stuff back then, very entertaining, but the world has moved on. Sadly it seems that Mr Attenborough has not, since he is still wheeling out the usual suspects. I watched a programme the other day and I swear it featured the same giraffe that I first saw twenty-five years ago.

"Come on David!" Mr Himmler goes on. "I appreciate all that you've done in the field of natural history filmmaking, but it's time someone mentioned the elephant in the room - especially when that elephant is old, listless and blocking my view of the TV. How about coming up with some new animals for us to look at? Surely science has reached the point where it can do something a bit more imaginative than just sticking ears onto the backs of mice? It wasn't all that long ago that your brother was rustling up dinosaurs for Jurassic Park, so I don't think that it's beyond the realms of possibility that you could knock up some kind of half-Meer cat, half-vulture crossbreed in the name of decent ratings.

"Oh I know that technology has moved on," concedes Mr Himmler. "And now you're able to show us the wonderful world of nature in glorious high definition and 3D. But let's be honest, love, if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck then it's still a bleeding duck and it doesn't matter how gloriously lifelike it seems, I'm still more likely to just switch over and watch a rerun of Columbo on another channel.

"So how about it?" Mr Himmler asks in conclusion. "How about giving us something with a bit more pizazz; something a bit more up-to-date? I gather talent shows are all the rage now, and if you told me I was in with a chance with seeing a juggling hippopotamus or a lion singing 'My Way', I'm pretty sure that I'd be glued to the set. In fact, I've got half a mind to pitch the idea myself."

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