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David Attenborough

Sir David Frederick Attenborough, born May 8, 1926 in London, (the younger brother of director and actor Lord Richard Attenborough), is the presenter of many ground-breaking and award winning BBC wildlife documentaries, and a former senior manager for the BBC. He has travelled widely, originally to collect animals for zoos. He is also an anthropologist.

Table of contents
1 Education and early career
2 Major series
3 Achievements
4 Views on creationism
5 Reference

Education and early career

Attenborough was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester and Clare College, Cambridge.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1947 and, after two years' service, worked for a publishing company, eventually joining the BBC in 1952. His association with natural history programmes began in 1954 with the series, Zoo Quest.

From 1965 to 1968, Attenborough was Controller of BBC2 (as it was then styled). From 1969 to 1972, he was the BBC's Director of Programmes.

Major series

Foremost among Attenborough's TV documentary series are the trilogy: Life on Earth, The Living Planet and Trials of Life. These examine the world's organisms from the viewpoints of taxonomy, ecology and adaptive fitness respectively.

In addition to these series, he presented more specialised surveys including The Private Life of Plants, Life in the Freezer (about adaptation to cold climates), The Life of Birds, The Blue Planet (about life in the oceans) and The Life of Mammals. At the end of 2003, he was working on The Life of Insects.

Attenborough also narrated the long-running half-hour nature series Wildlife on One on BBC ONE (sometimes retitled Wildlife on Two for BBC TWO, or just BBC Wildlife), where he only made two or three appearances on camera


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awarded him the Desmond Davis Award in 1970, and a Fellowship in 1979. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1983 and knighted in 1985. In 1997 he was awarded doctor honoris cause by Ghent University (Belgium).

It has been speculated that during his 50 year career at the BBC, travelling the world making natural history documentaries, David Attenbororugh has been to more places and seen more things, than anybody else on the planet.

Views on creationism

Attenborough's documentaries exposed millions to the diversity of life on Earth, including, of course, viewers who subscribe to the belief that all life was directly created by God, known as creationism. In his series, Attenborough rarely explicitly speaks about the mechanisms of evolution. Instead, he describes the advantages of each adaptation in high detail -- why flowers are shaped in a certain way, why birds and animals migrate, how mechanisms of mimicry can serve as protection or to attract insects and animals, and so forth.

As such, his work has been cited by some creationists as exemplary in that it does not "shove evolution down the viewer's throat". Others have written Attenborough letters and asked him to explicitly refer to God as the creator of life. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, he has responded publicly:

"My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that's going to make him blind. And [I ask them], 'Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a God who's full of mercy'." [1]

He has explained that he feels the evidence all over the planet clearly shows evolution to be the best way to explain the diversity of life, and that "as far as I'm concerned, if there is a supreme being then He chose organic evolution as a way of bringing into existence the natural world."

In 2002, Attenborough joined an effort by leading clerics and scientists to oppose the inclusion of creationism in the curriculum of state-funded public schools which receive private sponsorship.[1]


His autobiography is Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster (2002). Hardcover edition: ISBN 056353461-3; paperback edition: ISBN 056348780-1\n