Brian Cox made physics sexy, so they say. Now, David Attenborough, age 86, as he celebrates an indomitable 60 years of broadcasting, has said that he would eventually like to pass over natural history responsibilities to Cox. 

"If I had a torch I would hand it to Brian Cox," Attenborough generously stated. While the prospect of our television screens not being graced by the presence and sound of Attenborough's voice over the sight of a dancing bird is a terrifying one, Cox is probably the best option. 

What Attenborough has done so well in achieving is igniting interest in the world around us. He provides largely useless information (given that few of us live in the depths of the Madagascan rainforest, or the coldest, darkest regions of the Arctic) but makes it utterly invaluable viewing and listening. His shows are a talking point for the watercooler, for the pub, for the dining table. Likewise, in many respects, Cox has done a similar thing for the big wide universe and all its mysteries, making what seems to be the unknowable -  stars millions of light years away, or histories so far back it's beyond our normal comprehension - seem far more knowable in analogies and phrases that bring the sky down to earth. 

Professor Cox paid tribute to Attenborough at a celebration of him at a Radio Times event, reports the Telegraph. Cox said of Attenborough that he had "genuinely made a difference to the world in which we live".  And, seemingly truly humbled by Attenborough's words said: "David is not ready to pass on the torch yet, that's the first thing to say. But it's an honour. I'm actually lost for words and I'm rarely lost for words."