Wildlife presenter and father of eight Terry Nutkins, 66, dies after nine-month battle with leukemiaThe father of eight and grandfather of eight died in Scotland yesterdayHe had presented The Really Wild Show, Animal Magic and other wildlife TVHis love of animals was confirmed when as a child he would bunk off school and climb over the fence of London Zoo
Tributes from the world of television have flooded in for the much-loved broadcaster”His enthusiasm and genuine love of animals will have inspired generations of children throughout the country,” BBC said
Legend: Wildlife broadcaster Terry Nutkins died yesterday after a nine-month battle with cancer
Television legend Terry Nutkins has died after a battle with leukemia.
The father of eight, 66, became a household name after presenting BBC shows The Really Wild Show and Animal Magic.
He died on Thursday and his passion for the animal kingdom and nature was an inspiration to millions of children.
Well known for his ebullient personality and unruly long hair, he also lost the tops of two fingers after they were chewed off by an otter called Edal when he was 15.
His big break came when he joined Johnny Morris on BBC favourite Animal Magic.
He then took on a role on the The Really Wild Show in 1986 and enjoyed seven years of great success alongside Chris Packham, Nicola Davies and Sue Dawson.
Mr Nutkins also appeared on Growing Up Wild and Pets Win Prizes.
Speaking about how his passion for animals was born, Nutkins would bunk off school and then climb over the fence of London Zoo.
The keepers took him under their wing and allowed him to muck out the elephant enclosure.
“It all came about after one day I decided I didn”t want to go to school, so instead I crossed Regent”s Park, climbed over the fence of the zoo and ended up near the elephant enclosure. That”s when my love ofanimals was completely confirmed,” he said.
“The keepers liked my enthusiasm and cheek, and so I learned all I could from them, about some of the most dangerous animals in the world.
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Tragic: Terry, pictured with his wife Jackie, who lived together with their family in rural Scotland
Happy family: Nutkins surrounded by the people he loved, including six of his eight children, his wife and dogs
“I had this instinctive bond with these animals. I usedto go home at night and when I went to bed, I didn”t wash my hands because I liked to smell the elephants on them,” he told the Guardian.
His agent John Miles said Mr Nutkins died at home in Scotland.
“He had fought for about nine months or so with acute leukaemia, he said.
The Londoner, who is survived by his wife, eight children and eight grandchildren, made his home in Glenelg on the west coast of Scotland, near the Isle of Skye.
Mr Miles said: “He was an absolutely lovely guy and just loved animals, and he was never happier than when hewas with animals. We will all miss him very, very much.”
Likeness: Terry with a bust made for him in 2010 at the Royal Horticultural Society Show in Cheshire
Loved: Celebrities have rushed to pay tribute the the wildlife expert who inspired millions of children
Fellow television presenters paid tribute to Mr Nutkins last night.
Philip Schofield described him as a “delightful man and a passionate naturalist”, while Ben Fogle said the animal lover was one of his “childhood inspirations”.
Nutkins grew up near Marylebone station and bunked off school to help out at London Zoo, where his expertise with animals became obvious.
He was sent to Scotland at the age of 11 to work with Ring Of Bright Water author Gavin Maxwell and help care for wild otters.
Maxwell eventually became his legal guardian and Nutkins made the west coast of Scotland his home.
Animal lover: Terry had an affinity with wildlife that children loved – pictured here with a baby seal
TWITTER TRIBUTES FLOOD IN FOR WILDLIFE LEGEND TERRY NUTKINS
@TVsSimonKing:So sad to Learn that Terry Nutkins has passed away. Sincere condolencesto all his loved ones. He was a true enthusiast and fine naturalist
@SonaliShah: RIP Terry Nutkins. A man so many of us grew up watching on TV.
@thekeithchegwin: RIP Terry Nutkins. Was lucky enough to work with. Such a lovely, kind, gentle and generous man. Will miss you loads
@dickndom:such sad sad news about the passing of Terry Nutkins. one of the greatest broadcasters of children”s TV. a massive loss. RIP Terry.
@gregjames: So sad to hear about Terry Nutkins. What an absolute icon. Him on TV was my childhood
@Number10cat: On behalf of all animals, everywhere, a big thank you to Terry Nutkins for a life spent teaching the world to love us a little bit more.
@Schofe: So sad to hear of the death of Terry Nutkins. I worked with him often in my “broom cupboard” days. A delightful man & passionate naturalist
@Benfogle: Very sad to hear the sad passing of Terry Nutkins. He was one of my childhood inspirations.
His mentor Johnny Morris, who was the main presenter of Animal Magic and gave Nutkins his break in TV was open about the fact that he regarded Terry as his protege and left his house tohim when he died in 1999.
His TV career was more limited to guest spots later in his career. He was on Ready Steady Cook, Celebrity Ghost Stories and also tribute documentary to Australian “crocodile hunter” Steve Irwin.
Away from television he was a passionate conservationist and helped restore Fort Augustus Abbey on Loch Ness in Scotland.
Celebrities have rushed to give tributes today.
Veteran presenter and friend Phillip Schofield tweeted: “So sad to hear of the death of Terry Nutkins. I worked with him often in my “broom cupboard” days. A delightful man & passionate naturalist.”
Ben Fogle said: “Very sad to hear the sad passing of Terry Nutkins. He was one of my childhood inspirations.”
Director of children”s programmes at the BBC Joe Godwin said: “Terry Nutkins was a natural children”s presenter – warm, passionate and devoted to communicating the wonders of the natural world to his young audience.
“Like many, I grew up watching him on the BBC”s first ever natural history programme made especially for children – Animal Magic.
“He went on to present The Really Wild Show for seven years. I”m sure his enthusiasm and genuine love of animals will have inspired generations of children throughout the country.”