Attenborough died in 1972, admits BBC

DAVID Attenborough has been faked using lookalikes and special effects for nearly 40 years, the BBC has revealed.

Briers even helped himself to Attenborough's CBE

The corporation revealed the role has been played by, among others, David Jason, Richard Briers and Anne Diamond, with ‘David Attenborough’ being a brand name, like ‘Doctor Who’.

As technology progressed, an Attenborough was created by the Jim Henson studio, with eight puppeteers working on his sense of wonderment alone, before CGI technology became sufficiently advanced so it would not look like Max Headroom talking about geese.

BBC producer Bill McKay said: “The original Attenborough died of an infected ball when a chimpanzee bit him in Tanzania in ’72 while he was filming The Hairy Planet.

“Mike Yarwood stepped in for some final bits of voice-over and if you watch the scenes about monkey wanking, Attenborough starts sounding like Hughie Green.”

The BBC finally declared Attenborough’s death to the Inland Revenue under new rules forcing broadcasters to declare their tangible national treasures. The balance sheet has now been reduced to an original Stephen Fry and a mark II Danny Baker.

McKay added: “Nowadays we’ve got the CGI Attenborough that we can put in front of a volcano, an iceberg or in the midst of a walrus mating session. And for the staff Christmas party one of the lads programmed it to do the Beyoncé dance to Single Ladies.

“It was hellish.”