Historical records matching Sir David Attenborough
About Sir David Attenborough
Attenborough's contribution to broadcasting and wildlife film-making has brought him international recognition. He has been called "the great communicator, the peerless educator" and "the greatest broadcaster of our time". His programmes are often cited as an example of what public service broadcasting should be, even by critics of the BBC, and has influenced a generation of wildlife film-makers
Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE FRS FZS FSA (born 8 May 1926) is an English broadcaster and naturalist.
His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for 60 years. He is best known for writing and presenting the nine Life series, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, which collectively form a comprehensive survey of all life on the planet. He is also a former senior manager at the BBC, having served as controller of BBC Two and director of programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s. He is the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in each of black and white, colour, HD and 3D.
Attenborough is widely considered a national treasure in Britain, although he himself does not like the term. In 2002 he was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote. He is a younger brother of the director, producer and actor Richard Attenborough.
Attenborough was born in Isleworth, west London, but grew up in College House on the campus of the University College, Leicester, where his father, Frederick, was principal. He is the middle of three sons (his elder brother, Richard, became an actor and his younger brother, John, an executive at Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo). During World War II, through a British government initiative known as Kindertransport, his parents also fostered two Jewish refugee girls from Europe.
Attenborough spent his childhood collecting fossils, stones and other natural specimens. He received encouragement in this pursuit at age seven, when a young Jacquetta Hawkes admired his "museum." He also spent a considerable amount of his time in the grounds of the university and aged 11 he heard that the zoology department needed a large supply of newts which he offered via his father to supply for 3d a newt. The source, which wasn't revealed at the time, was a pond less than 5 metres from the department. A few years later, one of his adoptive sisters gave him a piece of amber filled with prehistoric creatures; some 50 years later, it would be the focus of his programme The Amber Time Machine.
Attenborough was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester and then won a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge in 1945, where he studied geology and zoology and obtained a degree in natural sciences.] In 1947 he was called up for national service in the Royal Navy and spent two years stationed in North Wales and the Firth of Forth.
In 1950 Attenborough married Jane Elizabeth Ebsworth Oriel; the marriage lasted until her death in 1997. The couple had two children, Robert and Susan. Robert is a senior lecturer in bioanthropology for the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University in Canberra.