93-year-old environmentalist, broadcaster, and historian Sir David Attenborough is not only an extremely powerful advocate for natural life, but one of the most well-loved public figures in the UK. His voice — used to narrate a series of critically-acclaimed environmental documentaries, including Planet Earth, Blue Planet, and most recently, Dynasties — is synonymous with environmental action. Millions of people have watched his documentaries, and in 2019, several news media reported that 53% of people in the UK and the US report using less plastic due to the ‘Attenborough Effect’.
Attenborough has had a long and deep career with the UK’s state broadcaster, the BBC. He joined the organisation in 1952, becoming a producer for non-fiction broadcasts and getting his start in natural history through a presenting stint for Zoo Quest, a series about an animal collecting expedition. He later became Director of Programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 70s.
His series about the oceans, Blue Planet II, gained the highest UK viewing figure for 2017: 14.1m people. 15 species have been named in his honour, including a dragonfly, a goblin spider and a ghost shrimp.
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