Matt’s View: Dimbleby getting inked suggests tattoos have jumped the shark

David Dimbleby

David Dimbleby - Credit: Archant

David Dimbleby is 75 years old, presents the BBC’s Question Time series and has anchored the corporation’s election coverage for more than 30 years.

He is now also the proud owner of a scorpion tattoo, which he had engraved onto his shoulder as part of a new documentary series, Britain and the Sea. Viewers, will, er, see, Dimbleby getting inked up on Sunday as he investigates how tattoo art was first introduced to the UK in the late 18th century.

“You are only old once. 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 told the Radio Times

“I thought it was wimpish having it just drawn on and I needed to man up. It’s sitting on my shoulder ready to attack my enemies”.

Quite who David’s enemies are that need to be repelled is unclear (Jeremy Paxman? John Humphries?) but if it truly is a life-long ambition of his to get a tattoo then fair enough.

Personally I’m fairly ambivalent when it comes to tattoos: I’ve never had the urge to get one done, and like most forms of art there are good and horrifically bad ones. I do wonder what the world will look like in 50 years time when there are a load of pensioners walking around with full sleeves and celtic signs on their necks. You suspect that what once looked good on young, taut, skin will not be so impressive on saggy arms covered in liver spots

But when one of the biggest symbols of the establishment gets inked, I think it’s time to consider whether tattoos have, like Fonzy in Happy Days, jumped the shark.

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What’s next? The Queen revealing she’s got massive angel wings on her back? Cliff Richard dropping in at his local parlour and demanding an image of barbed wire be wrapped around his arm?

An act that was once seen as one of defiance is now about as rebellious as owning a toaster: in fact, anyone who has been to a swimming pool or gym recently will confirm that those of us whose skin is unblemished are probably now in the minority.

It will be interesting to see whether the trend for heavy tattooing is here to stay or if it will prove to be a passing phases.

If it’s the latter, then I suspect they’ll be a lot of laser tattoo removers getting very rich.