Happy Birthday Sir David Attenborough! As I am sure we all know, last week marked this great mans’s 90th; a person who has more than anyone changed our relationship with the natural world, enthusing countless generations to appreciate the variety of life on our planet. His dedication, passion, relentless enthusiasm has undoubtedly inspired more people in our world to care and want to make a difference. I certainly am on this pathway because of him as well as other incredible individuals (including my mum!).
SO what makes him our natural treasure?
1# His enthusiasm
From collecting fossils as a child in Leicester, to loving creatures big and small, ugly and beautiful, his appreciation for all animals is why we love him so. He even says he is no animal lover, much to the bewilderment of many. However he is the ultimate curious intellect and shares a fascination for all of nature, and not the gushy anthropomorphic rantings of a bunny hugger…
2# His knowledge
Not only has he racked up 32 honorary degrees from Universities across the country (more than anyone else), but having studied natural sciences at Cambridge then Anthropology later…his knowledge of all living creatures and the biological, chemical, physical process that govern them is second to none. Go on, ask him a question!
3# THAT voice.
His dulcet, hushed tones, as well as powerful vocals mix into just about the most recognizable natural history narration voice of all time. David = Nature God. His warmth and clarity both hooks and fascinated you. I think I’ve spent most of my waking life listening to his voice either through the television or radio podcasts. I’m even starting a petition for a David Attenborough Tom Tom guide…
“..And here, we have the Lyre bird…”
4# Humble by nature
Despite his numerous awards, degrees, honours..he still remains a humble and grateful being…he loves economy class and never forgets to greet or thank you…
5# He’s been there for you: in B&W, Colour, HD, 4K, 3D and 360 baby
He is the only person to have produced television in B&W, Colour, HD, 4K, 3D and more recently with his VR dinosaur 360 video clip. He’s so with it even us youngsters have to keep up with him. I reckon a holographic projection David will be available soon…
Sir David Attenborough joined the BBC as a trainee in 1952, and his early career included the highly different television debate programme, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? But his audaciaous and determined nature meant that he wanted to show audiences new ways of making films and a life outside the television studio. The result was the hit series ‘Zoo Quest,‘ which combined live studio presentation with footage shot on location for the first time. He made us CARE about the natural world through education and entertainment.
7# He’s SO quotable
A master of verbal carpentry, his written scripts result in some memorable quotes, here are my personal faves;
“A hundred years ago, there were one and a half billion people on Earth. Now, over six billion crowd our fragile planet. But even so, there are still places barely touched by humanity.”
“Our planet may be home to 30 million different kinds of animals and plants. Each individual locked in its own life-long fight for survival.”
GO on, give us another…
8# His wicked sense of humour
We’re no stranger to his witty, whimsical and wicked sense of humour. He’s been asked onto several major chat shows more than twice and his gentleman like attire and charm is irresistible. Even Cameroon Diaz can’t get enough of our David! More recently during an interview on BBC Radio One, Sir David was asked to narrate the video for Adele’s new song. He even gave it the trademark Attenborough voice-over.
“Like all pop stars, she needs to hunt to survive,” he begins. “The lesser spotted Adele is about to be everywhere again.”
9# He’s travelled more than anyone in history
Since his television career back in the 1950’s he started travelling around the world, and is now the most travelled person in the HISTORY of mankind...that’s some impressive migrating. It seems his life has been perfectly timed where he saw the world in its former pristine self… And so he’s not only just seen more wildlife, people and places than anyone else but also witness the greatest amount of change than anybody who has ever lived.
10# He’s simply the best #WishYouWereMyGrandad
All that said, we simply love him because he is our natural treasure and we all want him to be our grandad…he started the beginning of natural history filmmaking, and still is an amazing filmmaker and producer in his own right…love you Dave’s XOXOX
Here I write about my own encounter with the lesser spotted David, over 2 years ago…..
It was 6am, Spanish time. And yes, it was the summer, BUT Sir David Attenborough tickets were on sale for his lecture on Alfred Russell Wallace in Cardiff New Theatre! I was poised with my mouse cursor ready to buy a ticket after refreshing the page… then to utter dismay all the tickets had sold out after 2 minutes of pending. I was overwrought. It happened by coincidence that I had a week long field trip to Dale Fort, in Pembrokeshire on the 18th September, and the very same day that David was giving his lecture, and so I had to book a ticket! So I put my self on wait list and hoped for the best. After a week, forgetting that I had even applied, I received an email saying I had 2 places to book tickets-result! Booked them instantly….then I thought about actually getting there.
“Out of Darwin, Gregor Mendel and Wallace, who do you believe has contributed the most to society.”