Sir David Attenborough, Britain’s best-known natural history film-maker, once again took to our screens across the UK this week, presenting and narrating the BBC’s latest landmark series Frozen Planet. Unsurprisingly, this latest installment from Sir David drew in viewing figures of around 6.8 million, and critics have been united in their praise for the opening episode. The Frozen Planet website reveals that although Sir David first visited Antarctica 17 years ago, filming for Frozen Planet was his first ever visit to the geographical North Pole.
Now at the age of 85, and having begun his broadcasting career over half a century ago, Attenborough’s spectacular series for the BBC are surely responsible for many people’s passion for wildlife. In 1982, David Attenborough received the Panda Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Wildscreen Festival, and was knighted for his services to broadcasting in 1985.
Life on Earth was the first of David’s epic Life series, and told the story of the evolution of life on the planet within thirteen 50-minute programmes. Universally acclaimed by both press and public, it remains to this day the series that David is the most proud of and that has given him most satisfaction. In 1984, The Living Planet was screened, which surveyed the natural world from an ecological point of view and this was followed by the conclusion to the trilogy in 1990 – The Trials of Life, which dealt with animal behaviour.
Sir David’s passion for the natural world is clear, and Wildscreen is fortunate enough to have him on board as a Patron, make sure you check out his video introduction to ARKive. We are even lucky enough to include a couple of his own photographs in our collection.
You can read more about Sir David’s work on the WildFilmHistory website, another of Wildscreen’s initiatives, where you can explore the history of wildlife filmmaking, with ‘behind the scenes’ photographs, essential production information, and a unique collection of oral histories, including one from Sir David himself.
Frozen Planet continues next Wednesday at 9pm on BBC One for viewers in the UK. You can check out our blog on the first episode, and let us know your thoughts by posting comments, or joining in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.
Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher