His name (and voice) are synonymous with wildlife television, and today, veteran broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough turns 94 years old.
To celebrate the icon’s birthday, here are some top facts about Sir David that you may not know:
- As a child, Attenborough would collects fossils, stones and other natural specimens.
- He studied geology and zoology at Cambridge in 1945, and obtained a degree in natural sciences.
- His first attempt at a media job was to work as a radio talk producer with the BBC, but he was rejected as he wasn’t deemed “suitable” for the platform.
- He first joined the BBC television network in 1952, handling non-fiction broadcasts.
- His first natural history programme produced for the BBC was the three part series Animal Patterns. The first programme he presented was Zoo Quest in 1954.
- Despite his interest in nearly all animals, Attenborough is not a fan of rats. “I don’t like rats, I’ve never made a secret of that – they are the ultimate horrible thing,” he told the BBC.
- His brother was the Oscar-winning actor/director Lord Richard Attenborough (of Jurassic Park fame among other accolades). Sadly, Lord Richard lost his daughter Jane, granddaughter Lucy and Jane’s mother-in-law Audrey in the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Lord Richard passed away in 2014.
- In 2016, Attenborough said his career high was “the first time I put on scuba gear and dived on a coral reef”.
- Attenborough holds 32 honorary degrees from British universities.
- He is the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in each category of television – black and white, colour, HD and 3D.
- At least 15 species of flora and fauna have been named in Attenborough’s honour, including a small Tasmanian snail that was named Attenborougharion rubicundus in 2017.
- He has two children, Robert and Susan, with his late wife Jane Elizabeth Oriel (who passed away in 1997).