He may appear as a stiff upper-lip BBC presenter, but David Dimbleby has revealed he recently had his first tattoo inked onto his shoulder at the age of 75.
The Question Time revealed he has had a "modest sized" scorpion tattoo inked onto his right shoulder, symbolic of his Scorpio star sign.
Dimbleby decided to get the permanent body marking after exploring tattoo artistry as part of his latest programme Britain and the Sea.
The commentator, who has been been presenting the BBC’s general election coverage since 1979, was offered an inking while investigating how tattoos were introduced to the UK as a result of Captain Cook’s South Seas adventures.
Originally thinking he was too old, Dimbleby declined, accepting a body marking in black pencil instead.
Second thoughts made him push ahead. “When I saw it in a preview of the film I thought, ‘That’s a bit feeble.’ I thought it was wimpish having it just drawn on and I needed to man up,” he said.
Dimbleby visited the Vagabond tattoo studio in east London, followed by cameramen for the 30-minute procedure. “I thought of Winston Churchill having his done while mine was being done. It wasn’t painful at all, it just zings a bit,” he told the Radio Times. Dimbleby said: 'I'm rather fond of it actually, this little scorpion sitting on my shoulder ready to attack my enemies'
“I’m rather fond of it actually, this little scorpion sitting on my shoulder ready to attack my enemies. It’s beautifully done, actually. It’s a work of art. They have these 3D tattoos now that are done using photographs, which are just astonishing, but I wasn’t about to have one myself.”
Paul Hill and Rebecca Morris from Vagabond told The Independent they were surprised to hear that Dimbleby wanted a tattoo. "When the BBC first approached us in regards to a presenter wanting a tattoo, David was the last person we imagined!" they said.
"We thought it was brilliant - why not! He's not the oddest client we have ever tattooed, but probably the most unlikely. He was very easy going considering his profile and proved that tattooing is accessible to all walks of life."
The commentator revealed he “wasn’t tempted to have any private parts decorated”, in reference to pop star Cheryl Cole’s entirely-rose covered bottom.
“You are only old once,” he told the magazine. “I have always wanted a tattoo. I thought I might as well have it done now. It’s a dream come true for me.”
Dimbleby follows the trend for pensioner tattoos set by Lady Steel, who opted for a pink jaguar on her shoulder as a 70th birthday present to remind herself that “you’re never too old to do mad things”.
His wife Belinda may be next to succumb to the ink, with Dimbleby suggesting, “I believe she wanted a tattoo once, but has never got around to it.”