Entertainment News

  • 31 December 2013, 20:37

David Attenborough's 'Ghastly' Night Shifts

Sir David Attenborough says he struggled to acclimatise to night shifts during filming for his new documentary.

The 87-year-old historian admits he found 20 nights shooting at London's Natural History Museum a gruelling experience.

He told Sky News: "The first night you think, 'My God this is rather interesting'. Night two you think, 'Yes, well I hope this isn't going to go on much longer'. On day three you think, 'This is absolutely ghastly. Where is a bar of chocolate to console me?'

"But then by night four you are switched and it's as though you have gone to Australia. You're time-lagged.

"But lots of people at 87 spend their nights awake for worse reasons than mine."

His 90-minute film Natural History Museum Alive 3D brings his favourite ancient creatures to life with spectacular 3D and CGI effects.

As he explores the museum alone in the middle of the night, Sir David offers his scientific insight as he appears to interact with a sabre-toothed tiger, giant predatory birds, snakes, and dinosaurs.

"I have a bit of a qualm because here I am, a natural historian, and I'm supposed to be dealing with real creatures and what I say is supposed to be true and yet now I have to act a bit, to pretend there's a Dodo there," he says.

"Am I trying to deceive people? Well, we got rid of that problem by making some of the creatures we bring to life simply skeletons - they don't even have skin or feathers or scales, so that people know that this is a trick.

"But I hope they will believe in me as a natural historian enough to know that we're making it as truthful as we can, but at the same time playing this particular game.

"This museum is the great treasure house of natural history. I was a boy in the 30s and living in the Midlands, and to come to London to the Natural History Museum was an enormous thrill.

"It's an astonishment. Kids come in and their jaws sag."

Sir David, who has been making nature documentaries since the 1950s, insists he has no plans to retire and says he is still brimming with ideas for programmes.

"There are a lot of people at 87, friends of mine, who aren't in the position to be doing what I'm doing," he said.

"They don't get about as much or can't remember as much. Who knows what old age is going to do to you?

"And the fact that I feel relatively spry, I feel that I would be very ungrateful if I decided I wasn't going to take advantage of that good fortune.

"Last night I was finishing a script on the evolution of flight amongst animals."

Sir David'sNatural History Museum Alive 3D airs on Sky 3D and Sky1 HD on New Year's Day.

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