Look anywhere online this week and you’d be hard-pressed not to see some reference to Sir David’s birthday tomorrow. The BBC’s Earth Youtube channel has released a series of light-hearted tributes in anticipation of the big day. You can find two of the best below.
Sir David’s career in television spans almost as long as his career in naturalism, which began with a science degree from Cambridge.
Sir David is the recipient of over 30 awards, including a knighthood (obviously) in 1985 and a BAFTA Fellowship. He’s not one to rest on his laurels, either. He’s still working, not only continuing to produce excellent nature docos such as the recently announced ‘Planet Earth II’ (starting production this year) but also using his influence in humanitarian projects. Barack Obama even interviewed Attenborough in 2015 to discuss the future of the planet. Not many other broadcasters can claim that kind of authority.
There’s a very simple reason that Sir David Attenborough is so popular. It’s not his enormous body of work, or even the quality of the work (though that’s certainly important). It’s a little to do with his affable nature, his everyman appearance, and that he’s just plain likeable. But mostly it’s his infectious and boundless enthusiasm for his work and the natural world that demands universal admiration and respect. There’s not a single person who I can think of who will ever fill his shoes, and that brings with it a tinge of sadness. He is 90, after all.
Since the 1980s, Attenborough has had several species named after him, which is a fair honour in itself. However, you may have heard that the naming rights to a multi-million Pound UK research vessel were opened to public suggestion earlier this year, and that the most popular entry was Boaty McBoatface. I thought that was awesome enough, but yesterday news broke that while the ship itself will not be named that (that particular honour goes to one of its subs) - the official name will be the RRS Sir David Attenborough. It’s rather fitting, don’t you think?