Today's Birthdays

one click shows all of today's celebrity birthdays

Browse All Birthdays

43,625    Actors
27,931    Actresses
4,867    Composers
7,058    Directors
842    Footballers
221    Racing drivers
925    Singers
9,111    Writers

Get FamousLikeMe on your website
One line of code gets FamousLikeMe on your website. Find out more.

Subscribe to Daily updates

Add to Google

privacy policy

Famous Like Me > Writer > A > David Attenborough

Profile of David Attenborough on Famous Like Me

Name: David Attenborough  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 8th May 1926
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Attenborough with a pair of albatrosses in the series Life in the Freezer

Sir David Frederick Attenborough, OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS (born on May 8, 1926 in London, England) 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 and is on the advisory board of BBC Wildlife magazine.

He is the younger brother of director and actor Richard Attenborough.

Education and early career

Attenborough was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester and then won a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge, University of Cambridge, where he obtained a degree in (see[]) Natural Sciences.

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 BBC Television's Director of Programmes (making him responsible overall for both BBC1 and BBC2), but turned down the offer to become Director General of the BBC. In 1972, he resigned his post and returned to programme making.

Among the programmes he commissioned during his time as Controller of BBC2 were Match of the Day, Pot Black, The Likely Lads, Not Only... But Also, Horizon, Man Alive, Masterclass, The Forsyte Saga, The Old Grey Whistle Test and The Money Programme. This diversity of programme types reflects Attenborough's belief that BBC2's output should be as varied as possible.

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 life in and around the Arctic and Antarctica), The Life of Birds, The Blue Planet (about life in the oceans) and The Life of Mammals. Life In The Undergrowth, scheduled for later in 2005, will be about invertebrates.

Attenborough also narrated the long-running half-hour nature series Wildlife on One on BBC One (variously retitled Wildlife on Two, BBC Wildlife and Natural World depending on the channel it is repeated on), though his role has mainly been to introduce other people's film and he rarely appears 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 appointed CBE in 1974, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1983, and received a knighthood in 1985. In 1991 he was made a CVO for producing the Queen's Christmas broadcast for a number of years from 1986, and in 1996 became a Companion of Honour for "services to nature broadcasting." In 2004, Attenborough was awarded the Descartes Prize for Outstanding Science Communication Actions. In April 2005 he was awarded the Order of Merit, and received the honour on 10th June 2005 at Buckingham Palace. In 2005, he also received the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest.

In June 2004, Attenborough and Sir Peter Scott were jointly profiled in the second of a three part BBC Two series, The Way We Went Wild, about television wildlife presenters. Part three also featured Attenborough extensively.

The next month, another BBC Two programme, Attenborough the Controller, recalled his time as Director of Programmes for BBC2.

Some people, including the former BBC producer Brian Leith , have suggested that David Attenborough's 50 year career at the BBC making natural history documentaries and travelling extensively throughout the world, has probably made him the most travelled person on Earth ever.

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, except in Life on Earth, which was an entire series explicitly on the evolution of life. 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'.

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. His most recent TV series, The Life of Mammals, makes numerous direct references to evolution, in particular human evolution.


For a full list of films and programmes in which David Attenborough has been involved see David Attenborough at the Internet Movie Database


  • Zoo Quest to Guyana (Lutterworth Press, 1956)
  • Zoo Quest for a Dragon (Lutterworth Press, 1957)
    • (book club edition with 85 extra pages, Quest for the Paradise Birds, 1959)
  • Zoo Quest in Paraguay (Lutterworth Press, 1959)
  • The Zoo Quest Expeditions (Lutterworth Press, abridged compilation of the above three titles with a new introduction, 1980)
    • paperback (Penguin Books, 1982)
  • Quest in Paradise (1960)
  • Zoo Quest to Madagascar (1961)
  • Quest Under Capricorn (1963)
  • Fabulous Animals (1975)
  • The Tribal Eye (1976)
  • Life on Earth (1979)
  • Discovering Life on Earth (1981)
  • The Living Planet (1984)
  • The First Eden (1987)
  • The Atlas Of The Living World (1989)
  • The Trials of Life (Collins, 1990) ISBN 0002199122
  • The Private Life of Plants (BBC Books, 1994) ISBN 0563370238
  • The Life of Birds (BBC Books, 1998) ISBN 0563387920
  • The Life of Mammals (BBC Books, 2002) ISBN 0563534230
  • Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster (autobiography; 2002) ISBN 0563534613
    • paperback: ISBN 0563487801
  • Life In The Undergrowth (BBC Books, 2005) ISBN 0563522089 (due October 2005)


Attenborough has written the introduction or foreword for a number of books, including:

  • Life in the Freezer: Natural History of the Antarctic, Alastair Fothergill (BBC Books, 1993), ISBN 0563364319
  • Birds of Paradise: Paradisaeidae (Bird Families of the World series) Clifford B. Frith, Bruce M. Beehler, William T. Cooper (Illustrator) (Oxford University Press, 1998) ISBN 0198548532
  • The Blue Planet, Andrew Byatt, Alastair Fothergill, Martha Holmes (BBC Books, 2001) ISBN 0563384980.


Major programmes

A number of Attenborough's programmes have been available on video; most are now out-of-print. These DVDs are available (unless stated, dates are of original transmission):

  • Life On Earth (1979)
  • The Living Planet (1984)
  • Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives (1989)
  • Trials of Life (1990)
  • Life In The Freezer (1993)
  • The Private Life Of Plants (1995)
  • Life of Birds (1998)
  • State Of The Planet (2000)
  • The Life Of Mammals (2002)
  • Great Wildlife Moments With David Attenborough (compilation)
  • The Blue Planet (2001)
  • Deep Blue (2004, feature, based on The Blue Planet))
  • Wildlife Special: The Tiger
  • Wildlife Special: The Eagle
  • Wildlife Special: The Leopard
  • Wildlife Special: The Serpent
  • Attenborough in Paradise - and Other Personal Voyages Includes seven one- off documentaries:
    • Attenborough In Paradise - Broadcast 1996-04-08
    • The Lost Gods Of Easter Island - Broadcast 2000-04-24
    • The Amber Time Machine - Broadcast 2004-02-15
    • Bowerbirds: The Art Of Seduction - Broadcast 2000-12-17
    • The Song Of The Earth- Broadcast 2000-12-23
    • A Blank On The Map - Broadcast 1971-12-29
    • Life On Air - Broadcast 2002-11-20

Narrated by Attenborough

  • A Zed & Two Noughts (film drama)

Character voice

  • Voice of the museum commentary in Robbie The Reindeer: Legend Of The Lost Tribe

Other programmes

Author and producer

  • Zoo Quest
  • Eastwards with Attenborough
  • The Tribal Eye


  • 1986-1991, The Annual Queen's Christmas Message.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article David Attenborough