Don’t kill Sir David! BBC scraps plans to film Attenborough, 96, interacting with chicks in the British Isles over fears he could catch BIRD FLU
- Sir David Attenborough, 96, was warned against handling fledgling seabirds
- Experts warned the chicks may have bird flu – and catching it could be fatal
He has based his television career on getting close to nature. And Sir David Attenborough was hoping his latest series would give him the chance to interact with fledgling seabirds.
But his plans were scuppered after experts warned the chicks could have bird flu – and catching it would probably be fatal for the 96-year-old broadcaster.
For his first-ever series about wildlife and plants in the British Isles, Sir David was to be filmed as Manx shearwater chicks left their underground burrows on Skomer Island, off Pembrokeshire in west Wales, to begin a 6,000-mile migration. Producers hoped the chicks would climb up his arm and take off from his head.
The BBC has scuppered plans to allow Sir David Attenborough, 96, to handle fledgling seabirds in his latest series
Experts warned the chicks could have bird flu – and catching it would probably be fatal for the elderly broadcaster
But executive producer Alastair Fothergill scrapped the plan when, two weeks before filming, reports emerged of avian flu on neighbouring Grassholm Island.
So instead, two infrared cameras were used – one facing Sir David and the other trained on a boulder a few feet away where the chicks would take flight – still creating a special TV moment. Sir David also filmed puffins on the island.
The five-part series Wild Isles, which was shot over three years, begins on BBC1 at 7pm on Sunday with an episode that also features killer whales, white-tailed eagles and dormice.
Sir David said: ‘I’ve been lucky enough to travel to almost every part the globe and gaze upon some of its most beautiful and dramatic sights. But I can assure you that nature in these islands, if you know where to look, can be just as dramatic and spectacular as anything I’ve seen elsewhere.’
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