Published On: Fri, Jan 11th, 2013

Great Personalities. Sir.David Attenborough

Sir.David Attenborough

David Attenborough born in London, UK on the 8th May 1926, the younger brother of actor and director Lord Richard Attenborough.David Attenborough is Britain’s best-known natural history film-maker. David was brought up in Leicester and went to Clare College, Cambridge to study Natural Sciences; after graduating in 1947, he was called up for 2 years national service in the Navy.On leaving the navy he briefly worked as an editor for a children’s book for a publishing company. However, in 1950 he applied to the BBC for a job. Initially he was rejected, but, his CV remained on file and shortly afterwards was given a 3 months training schedule to work as a BBC broadcaster. He proved to be a good worker and quickly progressed through the ranks of the fledgling BBC TV service. He became in charge of all non-fiction broadcasts and was soon associated with various natural history programmes such as The Pattern of Animals and Zoo Quest.He was Controller of BBC2 (1965-68), during which time he introduced colour television to Britain, then Director of Programmes for the BBC (1969-1972). However in 1973 he abandoned administration altogether to return to documentary-making and writing.

His career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned nearly five decades and there are very few places on the globe that he has not visited.Over the last 25 years he has established himself as the world’s leading natural history programme maker with several landmark BBC series, including: Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Trials of Life (1990), The Private Life of Plants (1995), The Life of Birds (1998), The Life of Mammals (2002) and Life in the Undergrowth (2005).

In recent years David has become increasingly outspoken on issues such as environmental damage, global warming and extinction of particular species. He has stated that human overpopulation and global warming (caused by human activity) are the root cause of much of the world’s growing environmental problems. He has lent his voice to organisations such as WWF in their fight to protect certain species and campaign for wildlife.He has accused US politicians of ducking the issue of climate change because of the economic cost of tackling it and warned that it would take a terrible example of extreme weather to wake people up to the dangers of global warming.

Sir David Attenborough has been given more honorary degrees from Britain’s universities than any other person.Sir David tops a league table of academic honours, after receiving at least 29 honorary degrees from the country’s universities, more than any other person, according to a table of Britain’s most honoured compiled by The Sunday Telegraph.

In 1985, Sir David was knighted for his services to broadcasting and over the years he has received a number of other awards and distinction. In addition to honorary degrees, these have included:

1966    Silver Medal of the Royal Television Society

1966    Silver Medal Zoological Society of London

1981    UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize

1983    Fellowship of the Royal Society

1984 Honorary Doctor of Science, Cambridge University

1985    Gold Medal Royal Geographical Society

1985    International Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, New York

1988    Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, Oxford University

1991    President British Association for the Advancement of Science

1991    Gold Medal Royal Television Society

1993    The Golden Camera Award, Berlin

1996    Companion of Honour

1998    Honorary Fellow, Zoological Society of London

1999    Honorary Fellow, The Linnean Society

2004    Peterson Medal, Harvard University

2004    Caird Medal, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

2005    Awarded Order of Merit


In addition, he has been knighted, had species named after him and the Sir David Attenborough Studio is planned for London’s Natural History Museum in 2008.An estimated 500 million people worldwide watched Life On Earth.

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