It would be impossible not to mention the name of David Attenborough in a conversation about broadcasting legends. The man is a British institution; an idol to many and a staple diet for the bulk of the population's televisual habits. He is, however, only human, and someone will have to take the reigns when he's no longer able to frolic with monkeys of brave the Antarctic's cold winds

And to that end, it would appear as though Professor Brian Cox is the man chosen by Sir David to teach the world their lessons via the tellybox. "If I had a torch I would hand it to Brian," he told an audience at the annual Radio Times Covers Party at Claridge's in London. "He's contributed to science, and thereby contributed to society, to Britain and indeed the world. That's what great science communicators can do," he said.

Cox - understandably delighted with being praised so highly by one of Britain's greats, duly returned the hefty compliment. "It's very important for us in our industry to recognise that when you do great things, as Sir David has done continually for 60 years, they genuinely make a difference to the world in which we live. Sir David, thank you for inspiring me," he said. And following the event, former pop star Cox was still talking about it, saying he was honoured by Attenborough's praise.

"Obviously I couldn't have expected that. David is not ready to pass on the torch yet, that's the first thing to say - I'm sure he's got many more series he's going to make. But it's an honour. I'm actually lost for words and I'm rarely lost for words..."