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EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: It’s a million-pound bonanza for busy bee Sir David Attenborough 

Unstoppable naturalist Sir David Attenborough is refusing to let the grass grow under his feet, aged 95 — and it’s paying off handsomely.

For I can disclose the broadcaster has recorded profits of £1 million a year for the past three years from his nature books and television programmes, making his mission to help save the Earth a valuable one indeed.

Latest accounts show his media firm, David Attenborough (Productions) Limited, is sitting on a cash pile of £2.9 million for trading in 2019, up £800,000 on 2018.

A £1 million profit has been declared for 2018 and 2017 — and in the latter year, a £700,000 dividend was paid on the surplus cash.

Unstoppable naturalist Sir David Attenborough is refusing to let the grass grow under his feet, aged 95 — and it’s paying off handsomely

‘David’s [the age of] 50 to 52 in how he thinks and how he does things,’ explains Keith Scholey, who produced Attenborough’s film A Life On Our Planet last year.

‘He’s got no interest in retiring whatsoever. As time is running out, he’s doing everything he can now to help to make a difference.’

Sir David, who supports many environmental and wildlife charities including WWF, World Land Trust and Cool Earth, owns 54 per cent of the firm, while his son, Robert, and daughter, Susan, are also shareholders.

But his robust finances cannot tempt the national treasure to slow down.

The broadcaster has recorded profits of £1 million a year for the past three years from his nature books and television programmes, making his mission to help save the Earth a valuable one indeed

The broadcaster has recorded profits of £1 million a year for the past three years from his nature books and television programmes, making his mission to help save the Earth a valuable one indeed

In the past four years, David has recorded eight television series, a string of one-off programmes and appeared as a guest on countless other shows.

Prince Charles and Camilla recently enjoyed his documentary, The Year Earth Changed, which was screened at a party for the Elephant Family charity (founded by Camilla’s late brother Mark) earlier this summer.

The Queen is also a fan of his shows and it is said that her decision to ban plastic bottles and straws from royal estates was in response to his BBC Blue Planet series.

Latest accounts show his media firm, David Attenborough (Productions) Limited, is sitting on a cash pile of £2.9 million for trading in 2019, up £800,000 on 2018

Latest accounts show his media firm, David Attenborough (Productions) Limited, is sitting on a cash pile of £2.9 million for trading in 2019, up £800,000 on 2018

Sir David says the climate crisis means he still has many ‘woe is me’ shows in the pipeline.

‘You might say that, in the past, we’ve concentrated on an idealised world where the animals are plentiful and abundant and so on, but I don’t think you can accuse us of that these days,’ he said earlier this year. 

‘I’m doing plenty of ‘woe is me’ programmes at the moment!’

Spare a thought for cricket legend Kevin Pietersen, the latest victim of the climate crisis.

This month’s torrential rain has flooded the fire pit next to the swimming pool at his home on the exclusive Wentworth Estate, Surrey. 

‘It’s unreal how high the water table is in August. I’m literally having to pump water out of our fire pit every day. Insane!’ he moaned yesterday. 

An unsympathetic fan replied: ‘Bet your diamond slippers don’t fit as well.’

Nuts to the diet! Gwynnie tucks in

Not even abstemious Gwyneth Paltrow could resist temptation while on holiday in Italy with her husband, TV producer Brad Falchuk.

‘My diet went totally ouf of the window,’ admits the actress, 48. 

‘I had wine and pasta and dairy and everything I’m not supposed to have — it was great, and I’d never been happier.

Not even abstemious Gwyneth Paltrow could resist temptation while on holiday in Italy with her husband, TV producer Brad Falchuk

Not even abstemious Gwyneth Paltrow could resist temptation while on holiday in Italy with her husband, TV producer Brad Falchuk

‘It’s hard to make a specific smoothie in a hotel room. I just kind of give up.’

At home, she follows the Paleo diet, which mirrors foods (nuts, berries, fish) that could be hunted and gathered during the Paleolithic era.

Shaggy-haired comedian Russell Brand is turning his £3.3 million house in Henley-on-Thames into a zoo — or near enough, says wife Laura. 

‘We’ve got two dogs, eight cats and five chickens. 

‘One of our cats had six kittens — but they’re not tiny any more,’ explains artist Laura, 34. 

‘They’re all over the place. But we’re mad and fell in love with all of them.’ 

Laura (mum to Mabel, four, and Peggy, three) adds: ‘It does a lot for our family energy — the feeling of love and nurture.’ 

Novelist Harris has Chips with everything 

Robert Harris proved even the most heavyweight reads can have a light touch with his 992-page political and historical blockbuster, The Cicero Trilogy.

But even in his own downtime, the best-selling novelist — and most influential writer on Roman politics since Anthony Trollope — is enveloped by political intrigue. 

For inside his summer suitcase he’s packing the latest book about the legendary politician and diarist Sir Henry ‘Chips’ Channon.

Robert Harris proved even the most heavyweight reads can have a light touch with his 992-page political and historical blockbuster, The Cicero Trilogy

Robert Harris proved even the most heavyweight reads can have a light touch with his 992-page political and historical blockbuster, The Cicero Trilogy

‘I shall be lugging round the 1,000-page second volume of the unexpurgated diaries of Chips Channon, due to be published in September,’ Harris tells me. 

‘This is a masterpiece about a period that fascinates me — a time machine that transports the reader back to British politics and high society at the end of the 1930s, as Europe stands on the brink of a catastrophe that will destroy the very world it describes.’

Philip’s boat races to victory

Prince Philip would have been proud to know his former boat, Bluebottle, was triumphant at the world-famous Cowes regatta.

The traditionally-built wooden vessel raced last week for the first time in 60 years after a restoration by Cowes boat-builder David Heritage, and won its dragon class at the competition. 

Bluebottle was a wedding gift to The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh from the Island Sailing Club in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

The Duke sailed the boat competitively for several years and took it out frequently with his son Charles.

Downton Abbey has failed to elude the ‘pingdemic’. 

The Countess of Carnarvon, who runs Highclere Castle, where the ITV drama was filmed, laments its effect on her guests, who pay from £24 to come. 

‘Some of our visitors have changed tickets five times,’ she says. ‘Many have watched Downton Abbey the same number of times.’ 

Violet answers call of the wild  

She’s a fixture of the London social scene, but Lady Violet Manners is not afraid to enter the political fray.

The Duke of Rutland’s eldest daughter, 27, has waded in on the very divisive topic of rewilding — a method of conservation, which, though it could improve biodiversity, remains highly controversial.

Lady Violet Manners, 27 is not afraid to enter the political fray

Lady Violet Manners, 27 is not afraid to enter the political fray

‘It’s become increasingly trendy to support rewilding,’ she says. 

‘It has its merits and undoubtedly needs to become a part of our countryside, but rural farming is still essential and necessary.’

Lady Violet, who grew up at her ancestral home, Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, adds diplomatically: ‘I listen to our wonderful farmers, and hear the case for rewilding. 

‘But, ultimately, it’s in need of moderation — not polarised extremes.’

Harry Potter star Ralph Fiennes has inspired historian Lucy Worsley to be more of a diva.  

‘For my recent talk at Cambridge Arts Theatre, they said: ‘We’re putting you in the dressing room with the bed in it, which Ralph Fiennes asked for when he was here,’ ‘ she says.

‘It makes me think I need to upgrade my list of requests. Currently, it lists only a cup of tea.’


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