Sir David Attenborough spiked by ‘active aggressor’ cactus on The Green Planet

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Sir David takes an active role in front of the camera in the latest series (Toby Strong/PA) (PA Media)
Sir David takes an active role in front of the camera in the latest series (Toby Strong/PA) (PA Media)

Sir David Attenborough was stabbed by a cactus with needles “like glass” in his new series on plant-life.

The veteran broadcaster travelled to California to study the cholla cactus, an “active aggressor” covered in “spicules of glass”, for his three-part BBC series The Green Planet.

As part of the exploration Sir David was challenged to “shove” a gloved hand into a cactus to demonstrate its aggressive nature and was stabbed by the “painful” needles – despite the heavy protection.

Rupert Barrington, series producer, said: “Any concern that his enthusiasm might have dimmed for the travelling were quickly put to rest.

“He shoved a gloved hand at a Cholla cactus to demonstrate its vicious defences.

“Through all this he took great delight in interactive with plants.”

Sir David described the dangerous plant: “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!

“The cholla is an active aggressor. I mean you feel you better stand back and you better watch out.”

The Green Planet is the first series focused on plant life that Sir David has narrated since his 1995 special the Private Life of Plants.

The show was made over four years, spanning 27 countries and uses technology that has hugely advanced with smaller lenses the camera to capture closer images.

Convinced to revisit the topic due to the new technology, Sir David revered the “extraordinary organisms”.

He added: “The thing that really is new is that in Private Life of Plants we were stuck with all this very heavy, primitive equipment, but now we can take the cameras anywhere we like.

“That in my view, is what brings the thing to life and which should make people say, ‘Good lord, these extraordinary organisms are just like us’.”

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