Sir David Attenborough confesses: 'I cheated on my biology exam'

Veteran natural history broadcaster has admitted cheating his way to a distinction

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The Independent Online

Sir David Attenborough, the legendary wildlife broadcaster and national treasure, has admitted he cheated his way to a distinction on a biology exam.

The 87-year-old naturalist confessed he emerged top of the class when he was a 17-year-old pupil at Wyggeston Grammar School, Leicester by surreptitiously determining crayfish would be the specimen dissected in the exam.

Sir David, who has presented natural history programmes for more than 50 years, made his confession during a visit to Bradgate Park, in Leicester, to launch an appeal by the local Rotary Club.

"We knew that the subject of the practical part of the biology exam was to be either a rabbit, a dogfish, a crayfish, a frog or an earthworm," he explained.

"It was during the war and we ate rabbits and dogfish, so it was not going to be them.



"There was not much to earthworms, so I figured it would be crayfish or frogs."

After a bit of digging, he eventually made his discovery when the school caretaker left a metal tin which had 'zoology practical' written on the side on a desk.

“When I got the chance I picked it up and shook it. It rattled so I knew it was crayfish."

Sir David was not selfish with his findings either. “I knew where I could get crayfish – the stream at Bradgate Park, so I headed there. I told all the other boys," he said.

He and his fellow students were all awarded distinctions in the exam.

"When the results came out the teacher came out with tears in his eyes. He said: 'You are the most brilliant class I have ever had in my career."