Sir David Attenborough Gets to Meet the Birds; `A Whole Programme about Eggs? You Can't Be Serious - the Viewers Will Hate It'; in a New TV Series Sir David Attenborough Explores the Intricate Varieties of the Feathered Kind

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), October 16, 1998 | Go to article overview

Sir David Attenborough Gets to Meet the Birds; `A Whole Programme about Eggs? You Can't Be Serious - the Viewers Will Hate It'; in a New TV Series Sir David Attenborough Explores the Intricate Varieties of the Feathered Kind


FOR Sir David Attenborough, even with 40 years of wildlife broadcasting behind him, it was a familiar reaction by the BBC management.

"When I came up with the idea for Life on Earth, it was the same,'' he says. "I remember one senior BBC boss saying: `A 13 part series starting with green sludge and working up - and you expect to get people excited with that? It can't be done'."

Well, Attenborough, now 72, has proved time and again that it can be done.

With his unshakeable enthusiasm and the famous whispered urgency of his narrative, Attenborough has enchanted and educated television viewers around the world with, first, Life on Earth, then The Living Planet, The Trials of Life and the Private Life of Plants - proof that the Leicester- born broadcaster definitely does have the uncanny ability to make green sludge interesting.

And he is at it again, this time looking skyward, with a 10-part series on The Life of Birds, and early indications suggest that the series is going to be a blockbuster.

Work on the programme took three years and spanned 42 countries and Attenborough alone flew 256,000 miles in its making - the equivalent of travelling to the moon.

But what should have been the crowning achievement of his career was marred by tragedy. Almost 18 months into filming, Attenborough was in New Zealand when he was told that Jane, his wife of 47 years, had suffered a brain haemorrhage. He rushed home immediately.

"She never recovered consciousness, but she knew I was back because she clasped my hand,'' he said. She died one day short of our 47th wedding anniversary.''

He adds simply: "It was a very happy marriage.''

The strength and devotion of the marriage was, in fact, legendary. Lady Attenborough, as she became known after her husband was knighted in 1985, did not accompany him on his film trips, but never failed to meet him from the airport when he returned home.

She endured the inevitable long absences which his foreign film commitments forced on them, and combined the raising of their two children, Robert and Susan, with the running of her husband's business and household finances.

What Attenborough misses most about her now, he says, is her `presence', but he takes great comfort in the memories of her which permeate their home in Richmond, south west London.

With typical commitment Attenborough completed the series, partly as a result, no doubt, of his fascination with the subject matter.

He says: "I am fascinated by what birds do and I like to speculate about why they do it. That's what the series is about. I have come away from the series with a greater insight and sympathy for birds.

"We tend to take them for granted, but when you look at them in detail, they are absolutely extraordinary things. There are birds who fly from the north to the south pole; there are even birds who remain on the wing for three years, non-stop.''

Other wonders are on display; Attenborough shows us how the Japanese carrion crows have reinvented the wheel - by using cars stopping and starting at traffic lights to crack the shell of nuts; he shows us how the Australian lyrebirds can perfectly mimic the songs of other birds and modern sounds, like car alarms, camera lenses and chain saws - an ironic talent, as Attenborough confirms. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sir David Attenborough Gets to Meet the Birds; `A Whole Programme about Eggs? You Can't Be Serious - the Viewers Will Hate It'; in a New TV Series Sir David Attenborough Explores the Intricate Varieties of the Feathered Kind
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.