TV

There’s a new Sir David Attenborough show on the way to your TV

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Dave Fawbert
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Sir David Attenborough Dumbo

Look, we don’t know quite how to put this, but we have some bad news for you: Sir David Attenborough is not immortal.

Yes, we were really hoping that he was but, from all available evidence, it appears that one day he may leave this mortal coil.

Which makes it all the more important that we use him - and his wonderful, incredible, unsurpassed voice and knowledge - to the absolute maximum while we still can.

So, now that you’ve made peace with that bad news, some good news: there’s a special new one-off Sir David Attenborough show in the works.

BBC Natural History have announced that they have commissioned a show with the working title: Jumbo: The Life Of An Elephant Superstar.

It will see Sir David investigate the life and death of the world’s most famous elephant - a celebrity animal superstar who inspired the movie Dumbo - with unique access to Jumbo’s skeleton at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

According to the BBC: “He’ll be working with a team of scientists, conservationists and elephant experts to unravel the complex and dramatic history of what many thought was the largest elephant in the world.

“How big was he in reality? What clues can be found in Jumbo’s bones? How did he live and how did he die? And can they explain his terrifying night rages?

Jumbo the elephant

 Jumbo The Elephant, photographed around the time he was purchased By P.T. Barnum from the London Zoo In 1882

“Arriving in London Zoo in 1865, Jumbo fast became a firm favourite of Queen Victoria and her children, nicknamed the Children’s Pet. Yet behind the scenes, this gentle giant was living a double life - smashing his den, breaking his tusks and being pacified by large amounts of alcohol. Then, quite suddenly, London Zoo caused public outrage by selling Jumbo to PT Barnum’s circus in America, where he travelled with his keeper to start a new life. But while his time in America would turn him into star with 20 million people coming to see him, his life ended tragically and mysteriously.

“As well as Jumbo’s skeleton, David explores the lives of wild elephants to explain Jumbo’s troubled mind, and he discovers how our attitude to captive elephants has changed dramatically in recent years.”

Sir David Attenborough? Elephants? Dumbo? Yes please, count us very much in for this.

And, if you’re in the mood for even more good news, there’s another four excellent-sounding shows that have been commissioned: Big Cats (“an in-depth look at the lives of the cat family”), T Rex (“Naturalist Chris Packham exposes the myths surrounding the most famous and iconic predator to have ever walked the earth”), First Year On Earth (“We follow six wild baby animals”) and Wild Cities (“The world’s most extraordinary wildlife living in the newest and fastest changing habitat on the planet - human cities”).

The BBC’s Tom McDonald said: “It has been a brilliant 12 months for Natural History at the BBC with Planet Earth II, Spy In The Wild and Wild Alaska Live among the very many highlights which have delivered huge viewing figures. These new titles will combine never-before seen animal interactions, cutting-edge photography, brilliant storytelling and expert voices to surprise, delight and inform the audience in completely new ways. At the heart of each of these commissions is is innovation: in form, in content and in capture.”

(Images: Rex/Disney)

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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