Who Can Replace David Attenborough?

With Frozen Planet unfolding with typical gob-smacky magnificence it may seem like a disrespectful time to consider this, but what the buggery fuck are we going to do when David Attenborough pegs it?
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'Penguins aaaahhh'

Seriously. The glaciers and the whales and the sunsets and the camerawork and the music and all that are as superb as we’ve come to expect from BBC nature programmes but it’s Attenborough that makes Frozen Planet. Same as every other programme he’s involved with. Everything he’s ever done has been magnificent and that friendly, authoritative, enthusiastic, whispered voice is an integral and irreplaceable component.

Or is it? When (and obviously I hope it isn’t for many centuries yet) Dave pops his well-worn mountain boots we will need a new voice to ease us through the machinations of the natural world and there may just be someone out there that can maybe, possibly, if we’re lucky do the job.

The likes of Andrew Sachs and John Hurt have already staked their respective claims to the crown and it would seem inevitable that the likes of Stephen Fry and Ian McKellan throw their actorly hats in the ring when the time comes. But what we need is something more left-field, something unexpected, something memorable.

Here are my suggestions……

Mark E Smith


Raddled shouter-in-chief with The Fall.


It’d be ace. Just imagine it – a shoal of krill swim through the icy waters, zigging hither and zagging yon in a dazzling shimmering dance. A shadow emerges from the depths below, coming slowly into focus its huge jaws close around thousands of the helpless crustaceans as the mighty behemoth breaks the surface of the water with jets of water shooting in all directions. A majestic sight which can only be enhanced by Smith yelling over the top ‘I’m a 50-foot long whale and I like it-aaahh!’

Get him booked before he dies (which could realistically be any day now).

Tim Gudgin


About-to-retire voice of Saturday afternoon TV footy results.


We simply cannot allow such a familiar voice to disappear from the airwaves. Anyway, he’s spent decades perfecting the voice-rise/ voice-fall method of reading out the soccer scores; he’d be able to transfer it with ease to nature progs. He’d make his voice rise when a vole escapes an eagle and make it drop when that eagle then catches a rabbit. When two mountain goats lock horns but neither comes out the victor he would simply employ the even tone he uses for score draws.

Obviously all nature programmes would have to be shown on Saturday teatime.

A majestic sight which can only be enhanced by Smith yelling over the top ‘I’m a 50-foot long whale and I like it-aaahh!’

Johnny Cash


Country music living legend. Who’s dead.


Just imagine that voice. That sub-woofer-rumbling bass baritone coming through your surround sound. Like the voice of God himself telling you about the sex life of penguins.

I realise he’s dead but Cash recorded literally thousands of songs in his lifetime, couldn’t Rick Rubin wade through the vocal takes and piece together a coherent narrative? Surely Cash mentioned porpoises or ice flows in some of his songs?

Sean Connery


SEAN CONNERY! For fuck’s sake.


He would clearly lend the right authority and gravitas to any programme. Those stentorian Scottish tones running over scenes of a wildebeest being ripped apart by jackals would reassure the viewer while simultaneously reinforcing the onscreen drama.

The only problem is that speech defect. We’d have a generation of kids growing up thinking the sheash are full of Shordfish and that inshectsh get shtuck in shpidersh websh.

Jenny Agutter


Her out of the shower in American Werewolf in London.


I really shouldn’t have to explain myself with this one.

Leslie Philips


The ultimate sophisticate. The archetypal Englishman - suave, debonair, charming.


The only voice alive that could describe a black widow spider eating its mate after sex then add ‘ding-dong’ and ensure the whole experience was at once educational and hilarious.

Peter Dickson


The bloke who does the X Factor voice-over.



Not satisfied with these suggestions? Add your own below, you ungrateful tosspots.

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