Sir David Attenborough stabbed by ‘dangerous’ cactus while filming new BBC series

The legendary broadcaster was the victim of a brutal stabbing at the hands of a Californian cactus – which bombproof material couldn’t even help protect him against

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Sir David Attenborough has been up close to fearsome predators including lions and polar bears over the course of his career as a wildlife documentary maker – but it is a cactus that has savaged him in the most painful way.

The 95-year-old broadcaster faced off against the cholla cactus in California while filming new docu-series The Green Planet for BBC One.

The star has been getting up close and personal with a range of plants across the globe for the new series which will explore the intricate lives of plants and the ecosystems that flourish around them.

Sir David was equipped with the best protective gear available to be able to approach the cactus – but it turns out a double protective layer of a Kevlar under-glove and a welding glove was not enough to protect him against the prickly plant.

Sir David Attenborough was savagely stabbed by a cactus on his new BBC show


Getty Images)

Recounting the agonising moment he was stabbed in the hand by the cactus, Sir David said: “The cholla really is a physical danger.

“It has these very dense spines in rosettes, so they point in all directions.

“And if you just brush against it, the spines are like spicules of glass, I mean they are that sharp and they go into you and you really have trouble getting them out.

“So that is a really dangerous plant. The cholla is an active aggressor. I mean, you feel you better stand back and you better watch out.”

Cacti are a prickly bunch



And it seems Sir David has executive producer Michael Gunton to blame for being stabbed by the plant – as it was his idea to send the broadcasting legend into the danger zone.

Michael explained: “One of the joys of going on location is thinking up horrible things to get [David] to do.

“So what we did, because it was so dangerous, was we got a Kevlar under-glove, and then on top of that, a welding glove.

“So you can imagine that’s about as good protection as you could possibly get.

“So, David bravely put his hand inside this cholla cactus, as requested. And halfway through it, these spikes still managed to get through those two bits of protection.

“And it’s quite painful, isn’t it?”

Over the course of the series, Sir David will be seen travelling from the USA to Costa Rica and across Europe uncovering different plants in a range of different terrains.

Deserts, tropical forests, frozen tundras and aquatic worlds will all be explored by the national treasure.

The Green Planet begins on BBC One on Sunday at 7pm


Paul Williams)

While the BBC have explained how the show – had its global premiere in Glasgow in conjunction with the Cop26 summit on tackling climate change last November – will differ from The Private Life of Plants which aired 26 years before as the latest technologies will bring viewers even closer to the vegetation than ever before.

The network said in a statement that the new series will show: “how science and technologies have advanced, and how our understanding of the ways in which plants behave and interact has evolved.”

The Green Planet begins on BBC One on Sunday 9 January 2022 at 7pm.

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