The BBC have (although not officially) revealed that they’ll be making a third series of everyone’s favourite nature show, Planet Earth. The second iteration of the series is still fresh in our minds, and also our erratically beating hearts (we have those goddamn snakes and that lizard to thank for that), but the wheels are in motion on the next session.
The only thing is, so far there’s been a Planet Earth every 10 years (because they take so long to make), so a third installment would be ready in 2026, when Dave is 101 years old. A producer spoke to The Express and addressed this issue:
“Who knows, we hope David will be with us. You never know. If he's here, he'll be doing it. That's for sure. He is the voice of natural history. He's the voice of Planet Earth II, and if he's still willing to do it, then he'll do Planet Earth III.
“I think it's fair to say without him it definitely wouldn't be the same, no. All of us owe so much to Sir David for making the series what it is. There's no way else to tell the stories than he does.”
Thankfully, Planet Earth has fewer instances of Dave actually being on location, so a stint in the voiceover booth might be enough to do the job. It’s gotta be a tad tiring at that age, if we’re being honest here.
But you know how these things work – the BBC will most likely go ahead with it anyway (*cough* Top Gear), so they’ll probably try and find a new presenter. But who? Well, here are my extremely considered suggestions, should the unthinkable happen:
1. Morgan Freeman
This is an obvious choice – he’s the king of voiceovers. He’s lent his smooth baritone voice to nature docs before, and to great effect – just look at March of the Penguins. Also, he’ll be pretty much the same age as Dave was when he made the second series. Loadsa time.
2. Nigel Marven
Lovely man, great voice, huge enthusiasm and hefty experience – he’s got all the qualities needed to front the show. The only thing is, sometimes it’s most fun when you’re watching him get involved himself – diving into a river and wrestling a giant anaconda for example – maybe he belongs in front of the camera, and not behind it.
3. Chris Packham
Come on everyone, it’s Chris Packham, isn’t it? He’s a shoe-in, he has to do it. I absolutely love Chris Packham and will listen to him talk about anything, particularly nature – there is nobody more enthusiastic about the subject than him. Sort it out BBC, he’s fucking great.
4. Noel Fielding
Oh I dunno he’s doing everything the hell else isn’t he. Why not? And animals are quite wacky aren’t they? Like those baboons with the silly arses. Or capybaras – they're dumb.
5. Paul Martin
Is David Attenborough widely recognised as the nicest man on television? Why yes, he is, but in actuality, he’s not quite at the top – there’s an under-the-radar contender that’s currently being ignored.
That man is Paul Martin, who is so nice that I enjoy watching him in anything, regardless of what it’s about. It’s usually about antiques (Flog It), but I reckon he could do lizards too. If Noel Fielding can do cakes, Paul Martin can do lizards.
6. Michaela Strachan
If Packham’s on the list, then absolutely blato Strachan has to be. The pair were wildlife to a generation of kids and they still obsess over foxes and otters and rats and stuff nowadays. Knowledge combined with enthusiasm does wonders for a show like this.
P.S. Packham and Strachan, sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G, ennit?
7. Leonardo DiCaprio
Yeah, he’s a big name, but Planet Earth is worldwide, and popular over in the US, too – so Leo might not be a huge stretch. He’s also narrated and produced docs before, and has a keen interest in animal welfare (and therefore animals), so wouldn’t be a clueless host. Oh, and he looks a bit like a wolf, and I bet there’ll be a wolf in series three.
8. Dawn French
I did have Clare Balding on the list, because I like her and she has a great voice, but then I remembered she used to kick horses for a living so had to take her off, because of the whole ‘animals’ thing. But then I thought of Dawn French, who I like a great deal, and who also has a very soothing voice. I’m not sure on her animal-kicking history, but I still rate she’d be a top fit.
9. Ricky Gervais
Ricky has made known his love of animals numerous times before – in interviews, on Twitter and through support for animal charities, and he can do straight-faced quite well, too. There isn’t really any reason to turn Planet Earth into a comedy show, although a few quips here and there wouldn’t go amiss. Like when one of those baboons gets their silly arses out, for example.
10. Dave Benson Phillips
I think it would be worth getting Dave on board just so that he could narrate a scene where a skunk ‘gunged’ another skunk. Or where a lion ate a zebra and ‘gunge’ fell out. Or if a slug left a trail of ‘gunge’ on a branch. Or a small schoolchild ‘gunged’ his teacher on a kids’ TV show.
11. Mike Dilger
Here’s another bloke who I like because of his voice and over-enthusiasm for animals. He currently does all the wildlife stuff on The One Show which is the worst show on TV, so it would be great to give him an upgrade and let him front the biggest and best nature show on telly. I’m in. #DilgerForPlanetEarth
12. Kate Humble
I LOVE KATE HUMBLE.
All good suggestions, I think you’ll agree. But come on, it’s gotta be Chris Packham, really, hasn’t it? I’ll be boycotting it if he doesn’t land the gig.
Only joking I’ll watch it even if Noel Fielding presents it.
I’d watch it even if one of those baboons with the silly arses presented it.
All irrelevant though, really, because Attenborough will definitely still be about. He’ll be about long after you and I kick the bucket, and he’ll be about after our kids do to. That’s the good thing about being God, you get to live forever.