Magazine article The Spectator

David Attenborough

Magazine article The Spectator

David Attenborough

Article excerpt

One day it will sink in what David Attenborough has done. Before him natural history was limited by one's own experience.

Now it is shared culture. We have been there, thanks to him, when corals spawn under a full moon, when killer whales snatch sea lions off a beach, or when New Guinean tribes first meet westerners. He has given wildlife celebrity status. After thousands of hours of narration and presentation, and despite affectionate parodies, he is yet to grate upon our ears.

He is a scientist who brings insights, a technician who has helped pioneer new filming techniques, a lyricist whose scripts are masterpieces of concise poetry. Don't forget he was also a producer who commissioned both Civilisation and The Ascent of Man, and then resigned to present the best of the three great documentary blockbusters of the 1970s: Life on Earth. …

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