Entertainment & Arts

Terry Nutkins, TV wildlife presenter, dies aged 66

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Media captionWatch a clip of Johnny Morris and Terry Nutkins hosting Animal Magic, first aired in December 1979.

TV presenter Terry Nutkins, famous for appearances on BBC nature programmes like Animal Magic and The Really Wild Show, has died at the age of 66.

Born in London in 1946, Nutkins helped out at London Zoo as a child and later helped author Gavin Maxwell care for otters on the west coast of Scotland.

The wildlife expert spent seven years on Animal Magic and was later seen on Growing Up Wild and Pets Win Prizes.

The father of eight was being treated for leukaemia when he died on Thursday.

Image caption Nutkins was renowned for his natural ebullience and unruly hair style

Nutkins' love of animals was undimmed by an incident when, aged 15, he had the top joints of two of his fingers bitten off by a wild otter named Edal.

Renowned for his natural ebullience and unruly hair style, he played a major role in the restoration of the historic Fort Augustus Abbey on the shores of Loch Ness.

In his childhood, Maxwell, the author of Ring of Bright Water, became Nutkins' legal guardian so that he could remain in Scotland to assist him.

Naturalist and broadcaster Johnny Morris, the main presenter of Animal Magic, also regarded Nutkins as his protege and left his house to him when he died in 1999.

In recent years he made guest appearances on Ready Steady Cook, Celebrity Ghost Stories and a tribute documentary to Australian "crocodile hunter" Steve Irwin.

TV presenter Philip Schofield was among the first to pay tribute to the broadcaster, remembering him as "a delightful man and passionate naturalist".

"So sad to hear of the death of Terry Nutkins," he wrote on Twitter. "I worked with him often in my 'broom cupboard' days."

Wildlife presenter Ben Fogle described Nutkins as one of his "childhood inspirations", while comedian Ricky Gervais said he was a "thoroughly nice chap".

John Miles, Nutkins' agent, said he had died at his home in Scotland after a "brave" nine-month battle with acute leukaemia.

"He just loved animals," Mr Miles told BBC News. "He fought many causes to make sure animals were looked after, and the environment in general."

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Media captionTerry Nutkins: "He had a lot of strange pets, but he just loved animals"

"Terry was a fun, ebullient and enthusiastic naturalist," said the wildlife film-maker Simon King. "He expressed this through his work on television and through his conservation efforts.

"He had a great love of animals and will always be remembered for that."

Joe Godwin, director of BBC Children's, described Nutkins as "a natural children's presenter" who was "warm, passionate and devoted to communicating the wonders of the natural world to his young audience".

"I'm sure his enthusiasm and genuine love of animals will have inspired generations of children throughout the country."

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