David Attenborough: ‘Making nature shows is much more fun than sitting in a corner!’

David Attenborough serves up more surprising stories about the natural world around us as his Natural Curiosities series returns on Watch on Tuesday (Watch, 8pm).

We caught up with him at London Zoo, one of the locations for the programme, to find out more…

What particularly appeals to you about this show?
“These are all interesting stories about animals or scientists. What’s nice about this is it’s all new aspects, new stances, new curiosities about life. Who would have thought that the Komodo dragon would have things in common with a greenfly, as we find out in the first episode? Many of these stories have not been told on television before.”

Is it important to you to cover new ground in these programmes?
“Yes, to a degree. The natural world is so infinite, if you spend all your time watching lions hunting wildebeest, it’s a lack of imagination on your part. There are a hell of a lot of good stories going about, and a lot of things in the animal world that we do not know about.”

You’re still very busy making programmes. Do you keep getting offered great projects that you can’t turn down?
“Well, if they turn up and I’ve got time, why wouldn’t I do it? I don’t go round knocking on doors, I have to say. There is more than enough that turns up by itself. I keep busy and I’m just extremely grateful I’m able to do so. Plenty of people my age are unable to do so because their legs don’t work or whatever. So I’m so grateful – it’s much more fun than sitting in the corner.”

Is there anywhere in the world that you haven’t been that you would like to go?
“I was asked that on Twitter, and I said I’d like to go to the Santorini Desert. The next minute somebody from the BBC rang me up and said: ‘Hey! Want to go to the Santorini Desert?’”

Do you recall your earliest memories of coming to London Zoo as a child?
“Certainly. I came to the Aquarium which, at the time, was a world innovation. There was no television or underwater films in 1936, so when you came to the London Aquarium it was just mind-blowing. It was a big day in a 10-year-old boy’s life.”

What other projects do you have coming up in 2014?
“I’m doing a series in 3D on the evolution of flight, which is why I’m going to Borneo. That will be on Sky 3D. I’m also doing a programme on birds of paradise and another one on frogs for the BBC.”

Do you have a particular favourite animal?
“I don’t really. I’ve had pets and I’ve bred bush babies, but the natural world is so full of fabulous things that it’s almost impossible to give an answer.”

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