Sir David Attenborough 1926 – Present Day

 

David Attenborough

 

Father – Frederick Levi Attenborough
Mother – Mary Clegg
Spouse – Jane Elizabeth Ebsworth Oriel
Children – Susan, Robert

 

 

 

1926 (8th May)
David Frederick Attenborough was born in Isleworth, London to Frederick Levi Attenborough and his wife Jane. David was the couple’s second son, his brother Richard had been born in 1923. His father was principal of Leicester University and the family lived on the campus.
1928 (1st January)
David’s brother John was born to Frederick and Jane Attenborough.
1931 (September)
David began his education.
1934 (January)
David saw his first natural history programme.
1936 (during)
David and his brother Richard attended a lecture on conservation by Archibald Belaney, known as Grey Owl.
1937 (during)
David attended Wiggeston Grammar School for boys.
1937 (during)
David showed his collection of fossils and other natural specimens to archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes. She later sent David some specimens to add to his collection.
1942 (during)
David took geology classes at the University of Nottingham.
1945 (during)
David gained a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge University to study zoology and geology.
1947 (March)
David served in the Royal Navy as part of his National Service.
1947 (Summer)
David gained a degree in Natural Sciences.
1949 (during)
David took a job as a science textbook editor.
1950 (during)
David was rejected for a job as a radio talk producer with the BBC.
1950 (during)
David married Jane Elizabeth Ebsworth Oriel.
1951 (around)
Head of the Talks department of the BBC, Mary Adams, offered David a three-month training course which he accepted.
1952 (around)
A son, Robert was born to David and Jane. David has always kept the details of his children private so the date has been estimated.
1952 (during)
David began working full time for the BBC based at Alexandra Palace. His first natural history programme was Coelancanth about the rediscovery of prehistoric coelancanth.
1952 (during)
David produced a quiz show ‘Animal, Vegetable, Mineral’ in which scientists had to try to guess the origin of museum specimens.
1953 (during)
David produced the film music show ‘Song Hunter’.
1953 (during)
David produced a three part natural history series ‘The Pattern of Animals’ which looked at the lives of animals.
1954 (around)
A daughter, Susan was born to David and Jane. David has always kept the details of his children private so the date has been estimated.
1954 (21st December)
The first episode of a new show ‘Zoo Quest’, written produced and presented by David Attenborough with Jack Lester, a reptile curator, was shown on the BBC. This show filmed live animals in zoos and in their natural habitats.
1955 (during)
A second Zoo Quest series ‘Zoo Quest to Guiana’ was shown.
1955 (during)
Zoo Quest programme ‘Zoo Quest to West Africa’ produced and presented by Attenborough was shown.
1956 (during)
Zoo Quest series of six episodes ‘Zoo Quest for a dragon’ produced and presented by David Attenborough was shown.
1957 (during)
Zoo Quest series of six episodes ‘Quest for the Paradise Birds’ produced and presented by David Attenborough was shown.
1957 (during)
The BBC established the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol. David declined an offer to join the Unit as he did not want to move his family from London.
1959 (during)
Zoo Quest series of six episodes ‘Zoo Quest in Paraguay’ produced and presented by David was shown.
1960 (during)
David produced and presented a short documentary film ‘Elsa the Tamworth Lioness’. The programme followed Joy and George Adamson in their search for Lioness Elsa and her cubs.
1960 (21st April)
The first episode of ‘People of Paradise’ a six part series was shown on the BBC. The series focused on the people and geography of Oceania.
1960 (14th September)
Long-running series ‘Travellers’ Tales’ which was produced and sometimes narrated by Attenborough, was first shown on the BBC.
1961 (during)
David produced ‘Japan’ a programme about the history and culture of the Japanese.
1961 (during)
Zoo Quest series of five episodes ‘Zoo Quest to Madagascar’ produced and presented by David Attenborough was shown.
1962 (during)
David produced ‘Destruction of the Indian’ a three part series about how contact with the modern world has affected remote tribes of South America.
1963 (during)
David presented the ten part series ‘Attenborough and Animals’.
1963 (during)
Zoo Quest series of six episodes ‘Quest Under Capricorn’ produced and presented by David Attenborough was shown.
1965 (during)
David became controller of BBC 2 after Michael Peacock was promoted to BBC 1. He aimed to make the station a haven for diverse programmes especially the arts, science, natural history, comedy, drama and sport.
1965 (23rd August)
The first episode of the three part series ‘Zambezi’ was first broadcast. The series written and presented by David looked at the natural history of the Zambezi river in Africa.
1967 (during)
David wrote and presented ‘Life – East Africa’ a three part series of interviews with African conservationists.
1967 (3rd December)
The first episode of the long running series ‘The World About Us’ was first broadcast. David was narrator for the 20 episode series.
1969 (during)
David was appointed Director of Programmes at the BBC.
1969 (23rd February)
David ordered a series on the History of Western Art to be Made. The result was Kenneth Clark’s acclaimed ‘Civilisation’.
1969 (10th June)
A three part series ‘The Miracle of Bali’ produced and narrated by Attenborough was shown on the BBC.
1971 (29th December)
David wrote and presented ‘A Blank on the Map’, which was broadcast on the BBC. Filmed in New Guinea, the programme sought to discover a lost tribe.
1972 (12th November)
The first episode of ‘America: A Personal History of the United States’ by Alistair Cooke was broadcast. The thirteen part series had been commissioned by David Attenborough.
1973 (during)
David resigned his position with the BBC to produce freelance natural history and anthropology programmes.
1973 (during)
Attenborough presented ‘The Life Game’ a programme about genetics and evolution.
1973 (during)
David presented a series of short programmes entitled ‘Natural Break’.
1973 (during)
David Attenborough presented ‘Flying Prince of Wildlife’ a programme about Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands’ conservation efforts.
1973 (5th May)
‘The Ascent of Man’ which had been commissioned by Attenborough, aired on the BBC.
1973 (29th October)
The first episode of the natural history series ‘Eastwards with Attenborough’, written and presented by David, was shown on the BBC. The six part series focused on the natural history of South East Asia.
1973 (December)
David Attenborough wrote and presented ‘The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures’. This yearly event features a number of lectures by prominent scientists. David’s chosen theme was about the language of animals.
1974 (June)
David Attenborough was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.
1975 (during)
David Attenborough presented a children’s series ‘Fabulous Animals’ in which he read books about mythological creatures.
1975 (27th May)
The first episode of ‘The Tribal Eye’ written and presented by David Attenborough aired on the BBC. The seven part documentary series focused on tribal art, artefacts and customs.
1976 (26th November
The first episode of a six part series ‘The Discoverers’, narrated by Attenborough, was first broadcast. The programme featured pioneering explorers, discoverers and scientists.
1977 (6th January)
The long-running series ‘Wildlife on One’ narrated by David Attenborough was first shown on BBC 1. The programme ran annually for the next twenty-eight years and featured 253 30 minute episodes.
1979 (16th January)
The first episode of David Attenborough’s ground-breaking natural history series ‘Life on Earth’ was shown on the BBC. The thirteen episode series written and presented by Attenborough focused on the diversity and origins of life on Earth.
1980 (during)
David Attenborough was awarded an honorary degree by the Open University.
1980 (20th January)
The first episode of an eight part series ‘The Spirit of Asia’, narrated by David Attenborough, was first broadcast. The programme looks at the culture and religion of the people of Asia.
1981 (19th July)
David Attenborough presented ‘The Ark in South Kensington’ a programme telling the story of the Natural History Museum.
1983 (during)
David Attenborough was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
1984 (during)
David Attenborough was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Cambridge.
1984 (19th January)
The first episode of the natural history series ‘The Living Planet’ was shown on the BBC. Comprising twelve episodes, the series written and presented by Attenborough focused on how living things adapt to their environment.
1985 (during)
David Attenborough wrote and presented ‘The Million Pound Bird Book’ a biography of naturalist John James Audubon.
1985 (June)
David became Sir David Attenborough after being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
1986 (26th October)
David Attenborough co-presented ‘World Safari’ a programme featuring broadcasts from around the World.
1987 (8th March)
The first episode of the natural history series ‘The First Eden: The Mediterranean World and Man’ was shown on the BBC. The four episodes written and presented by Attenborough focus on man’s relationship with the natural habitats of the Mediterranean.
1988 (during)
David Attenborough was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science award from Oxford University.
1989 (23rd April)
The first episode of the natural history series ‘Lost Worlds Vanished Lives’, written and presented by David Attenborough was shown on the BBC. The four episodes focus on how live evolved using fossils and animation.
1990 (during)
David Attenborough was made an honorary Freeman of the City of Leicester.
1990 (3rd October)
The first episode of the natural history series ‘Trials of Life’, written and presented by David Attenborough was shown on the BBC. The twelve episodes focus on animal behaviour at various stages of life.
1991 (June)
David Attenborough was awarded Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) by Queen Elizabeth II.
1993 (during)
A dinosaur that was discovered to have lived in England was named the Attenborosaurus conybeari after David.
1993 (12th May)
David Attenborough narrated ‘QED Gallop to Freedom’ a programme about the release of Przewalski horses.
1993 (18th November)
The first episode of David’s natural history series ‘Life in the Freezer’, written and presented by Attenborough, was shown on the BBC. The six episodes focused on the natural history of Antarctica.
1994 (during)
David Attenborough presented ‘Heart of a Nomad’ a programme about explorer and writer Wilfred Thesiger.
1995 (5th January)
The first episode of the ground breaking natural history series ‘The Private Life of Plants’ was shown on the BBC. Using time lapse photography the six episodes written and presented by David Attenborough explore the world of plants.
1995 (14th April)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Great White Shark: The True Story of Jaws’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
1996 (1st January)
‘Survival Island’ written and narrated by Attenborough was first shown. The programme looked at the various species inhabiting South Georgia Island.
1996 (8th April)
David’s ‘Attenborough in Paradise’ was shown on the BBC. This programme focused on the life of the greater bird-of-paradise and other bird life found in New Guinea.
1996 (5th May)
David Attenborough narrated ‘Winners and Losers’ a programme looking at life forms first studied in the 1960’s documentary The Rare Ones.
1996 (June)
David Attenborough was awarded Companion of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II.
1997 (16th February)
David’s wife, Jane, died from a brain haemorrhage while David was filming in New Zealand.
1997 (26th November)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Polar Bear: The Arctic Warrior’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
1997 (3rd December)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Crocodile: The Smiling Predator’, narrated by David Attenborough was shown on TV.
1997 (10th December)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Leopard: The Agent of Darkness’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
1997 (17th December)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Eagle: The Master of the Skies’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
1997 (24th December)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Humpback Whale: The Giant of the Oceans’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
1997 (31st December)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Wolf: The Legendary Outlaw’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
1998 (27th March)
David Attenborough narrated ‘The Origin of Species: An Illustrated Guide’ a programme about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
1998 (21st October)
The first episode of David Attenborough’s series ‘The Life of Birds’ was shown on the BBC. The ten episodes written and presented by Attenborough focused on the lives of different bird species.
1999 (during)
David Attenborough narrated ‘Sharks- The Truth’ a programme about Sharks.
1999 (25th December)
The first of a seven part series ‘They Said It Couldn’t Be Done’, presented by Attenborough, was broadcast. The series features interviews with wildlife film makers from the Royal Geographical Society.
1999 (4th April)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Tiger: The Elusive Princess’, narrated by Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2000 (during)
David Attenborough presented ‘The Song of the Earth’ a natural history of music.
2000 (24th April)
David Attenborough wrote and presented ‘The Lost Gods of Easter Island’ a programme tracing the history of an Easter Island figure.
2000 (9th August)
Attenborough narrated ‘Living with Dinosaurs’ a programme investigating while prehistoric reptiles did not die out when dinosaurs did.
2000 (15th November)
The first episode of David’s three part series ‘State of the Planet’ was shown on the BBC. The series written and presented by Attenborough focused on scientific research into global warming and what solutions were available.
2000 (3rd December)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Lions: The Elusive Princess’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2000 (December)
David Attenborough presented the Christmas special ‘The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth’ a wildlife programme.
2001 (12th September)
The first episode of this eight part natural history series ‘The Blue Planet’, narrated by Attenborough, was first broadcast. The series focuses on the world’s oceans.
2001 (8th April)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Grizzly: Face to Face’, narrated by David, was shown on TV.
2002 (1st January)
David Attenborough presented ‘Great Natural Wonders of the World’ a sequel to ‘The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth’ shown in 2000.
2002 (3rd February)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Gorillas: On the Trail of King Kong’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2002 (10th April)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Serpent: Through the Eyes of the Snake’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2002 (20th November)
David featured in a programme ‘Life on Air’, presented by Michael Palin, which celebrated his 50 years in broadcasting.
2002 (20th November)
The first episode of David Attenborough’s natural history series ‘The Life of Mammals’ was shown on the BBC. The ten episodes written and presented by Attenborough focus on the evolution and habits of various mammals.
2003 (9th April)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Killer Whale’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2003 (20th July)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Elephants: Spy in the Herd’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2003 (3rd August)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Smart Sharks: Swimming with Roboshark’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2004 (3rd April)
The first of a two part programme ‘Satoyama: Japan’s Secret Water Garden’ narrated by David Attenborough was first broadcast. The two part programme is about Satoyama, a village in Japan and how the residents live in harmony with nature.
2004 (30th November)
The BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Bears: Spy in the Woods’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2005 (May)
David Attenborough was appointed patron of the UK Blood Pressure Association.
2005 (June)
David Attenborough was awarded the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II.
2005 (17th August)
The first episode of a five part series ‘Animal Crime Scene’, narrated by David, was first broadcast. The series looked at ‘murder’ cases in the animal kingdom.
2005 (23rd November)
The five part series about insects and invertebrates ‘Life in the Undergrowth’ was first broadcast. It was written and presented by David Attenborough.
2006 (during)
David Attenborough was made an honorary Fellow of the University of Leicester.
2006 (5th March)
The first episode of an eleven part natural history series ‘Planet Earth’, narrated by David was first broadcast. The series looks at the variety of life on the planet and was filmed in 64 different countries.
2006 (24th May)
The two part programme ‘The Truth about Climate Change’ written and presented by David Attenborough was broadcast. The documentary looked at global warming.
2006 (16th December)
David Attenborough was voted Greatest Living British Icon.
2007 (during)
David presented the programme ‘Gorillas Revisited’ which saw a return to the mountain gorillas of Rwanda first featured in the ‘Life on Earth’ series of 1979.
2007 (7th January)
David presented a biography of anthropologist Tom Harrison entitled ‘Tom Harrisson: The Barefoot Anthropologist’.
2007 (14th January)
The first of a two part BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Trek: Spy on Wildebeest’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2007 (21st January)
David presented ‘Climate Change: Britain Under Threat’ a programme examining the effects of climate change on Great Britain.
2007 (2nd September)
David Attenborough wrote and presented ‘Attenborough Explores…Our Fragile World’ a programme about the global environmental crisis.
2008 (4th February)
The five part natural history series ‘Life in Cold Blood’, written and presented by David Attenborough was first shown on the BBC.
2008 (30th March)
The first episode of a three part BBC Wildlife Special, ‘Tiger: Spy in the Jungle’, narrated by David Attenborough, was shown on TV.
2008 (16th November)
David narrated the Australian television programme ‘Humpbacks: From Fire to Ice’ about the humpback whale.
2009 (1st February)
The programme ‘Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life’ written and presented by David Attenborough, was first shown on the BBC. The programme examines Darwin’s theory of evolution.
2009 (11th February)
The six part series ‘Nature’s Great Events’, narrated by David Attenborough, was first broadcast.
2009 (26th May)
The programme ‘Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor: The Link’ written and narrated by David was broadcast. The documentary looks at a 47 million year old primate fossil.
2009 (October)
The ten part series ‘Life’ was first broadcast. It was written and narrated by Attenborough and features wildlife from all over the planet.
2010 (during)
David Attenborough was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
2010 (4th October)
‘The Death of the Oceans’ written and presented by David Attenborough was first broadcast. The programme looks at the pressure of the human population on the world’s oceans.
2010 (5th November)
The two part programme ‘First Life’ written and presented by David Attenborough was shown on the BBC. The programme looked at the origin of life on Earth using fossils as evidence.
2010 (25th December)
The natural history series ‘Flying Monsters 3D’ written and presented by Attenborough was first broadcast. The 3D film looked at pterosaurs.
2011 (21st April)
David narrated the programme ‘Desert Seas’ about wildlife off the coast of Saudi Arabia.
2011 (9th February)
David narrated the three part series ‘Madagascar’ about the unique wildlife of the island.
2011 (2nd March)
David presented the nature documentary ‘Attenborough and the Giant Egg’ about the extinct elephant bird of Madagascar.
2011 (26th October)
The first episode of the series ‘Frozen Planet narrated and presented by David Attenborough was first shown. The series looks at the natural history of the Arctic and Antarctic.
2012 (6th February)
The first episode of the three part wildlife series ‘Secrets of Wild India’, narrated by David was broadcast. The series looked at elephants, tigers and desert lions.
2012 (12th April)
David narrated the documentary ‘Superfish: Bluefin Tuna’ looking at blue fin tuna in the wild.
2012 (8th November)
David presented the documentary ‘Hummingbirds: Jewelled Messengers’ looking at the life cycle of hummingbirds.
2012 (9th November)
David wrote and presented ‘Attenborough’s Ark: A Natural World Special’ looking at ten endangered animals he would save from extinction.
2012 (26th May)
The three part series ‘Kingdom of Plant 3D’ written and presented by David Attenborough was first shown on BBC. The series looked at plants around the world.
2012 (24th October)
The feature length 3D documentary ‘The Penguin King 3D’ written and narrated by David Attenborough was released. The film looks at the lives of king penguins on the island of South Georgia.
2012 (16th November)
‘Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild’ a three part series looking at Attenborough’s career, written and presented by David, was first shown.
2013 (during)
David was made an honorary Freeman of the City of Bristol.
2013 (during)
David presented the two part programme ‘Plants Behaving Badly’. The first episode was entitled ‘Murder and Mayhem’ the second ‘Sex and Lies’.
2013 (1st January)
The first of a three part series ‘Galapagos 3D’ written and presented by Attenborough, was first broadcast on Sky 3D.
2013 (2nd January)
The first episode of the six part series ‘Africa’ narrated and presented by David Attenborough was first broadcast. The series looks at the nature of the continent of Africa.
2013 (29th January)
The first episode of the five part series ‘David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities’ written and presented by Attenborough, was first broadcast.
2013 (June)
David was fitted with a pacemaker.
2013 (3rd June)
The first episode of the four part series ‘Wild Cameramen at Work’ narrated and presented by David was first broadcast. The series looks at the work of wildlife cameramen.
2013 (15th June)
The first episode of the six part series ‘Micro Monsters 3D’, written and presented by David was broadcast. The series looks at bugs and insects.
2013 (20th September)
David wrote and presented ‘Attenborough’s Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates’ about the rise of vertebrates over 500 million years.
2014 (1st January)
‘David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive’ was broadcast. Written and presented by David the programme uses CGI to bring the museum’s skeletons to life.
2014 (18th February)
The second series of ‘David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities’ written and presented by Attenborough, was first broadcast. The second series featured ten half-hour programmes.
2014 (23rd October)
The first episode of the six part series ‘Life Story’ narrated and presented by Attenborough, was first broadcast.
2015 (29th January)
‘Attenborough’s Paradise Birds’ written and presented by Attenborough, was first broadcast. It features the history of Paradise birds.
2015 (1st January)
The first episode of the three part series ‘David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies 3D’ written and presented by Attenborough, was first broadcast.
2015 (2nd February)
The third series of ‘David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities’ written and presented by Attenborough, was first broadcast.
2015 (1st November)
The first episode of a seven part series ‘The Hunt’, presented by Attenborough was first shown on BBC TV. The series looks at hunting strategies of predators.
2015 (30th December)
The first episode of a three part series ‘Great Barrier Reef’, written and presented by Attenborough was first shown on BBC TV.
2016 (24th January)
‘Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur’, written and presented by David Attenborough, was broadcast. The programme looks at the excavation of remains of a giant dinosaur in Argentina.
2016 (May)
It was announced that a new British polar research ship would be called the RSS Sir David Attenborough.
2016 (9th May)
‘Attenborough’s Life That Glows’, written and presented by Attenborough was first shown on BBC TV.
2016 (11th October)
David narrated the two part documentary ‘Wild City’ focusing on the wildlife of Singapore.
2016 (6th November)
The natural history series ‘Planet Earth II’ presented and narrated by David Attenborough was first shown by the BBC.
2017 (6th March)
The fourth series of ‘David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities’ written and presented by Attenborough, was first broadcast.
2017 (29th October)
The natural history series ‘Blue Planet II’ presented and narrated by Attenborough was first shown by the BBC. The seven part series was a sequel to ‘Blue Planet’ and focused on life in the Oceans.
2017 (10th December)
‘Attenborough and the Giant Elephant’ written and presented by David was broadcast by the BBC. The programme tells the story of the elephant that inspired Disney to write Dumbo.
2018 (7th January)
‘Attenborough and the Sea Dragon’ a programme about the ichthyosaur, written and presented by David was broadcast.
2018 (16th April)
The programme ‘The Queen’s Green Planet’ presented by David Attenborough was first shown. In the programme David explored the gardens of Buckingham Palace with the Queen.
2018 (4th June)
David narrated the programme ‘David Attenborough’s Tasmania’ shown on Australian TV.
2018 (11th November)
The first episode of the five part series ‘Dynasties’ presented and narrated by David Attenborough was first shown by the BBC. The series looked at five endangered species and their struggle to survive.
2019 (5th April)
David has been named as presenter and narrator on a new eight part nature series ‘Our Planet’ to be shown on Netflix.
2019 (30th June)
David Attenborough appeared at Glastonbury to thank the festival for being plastic free. He also announced a new show ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’ that will air in the Autumn.

 

Published Dec 29, 2018 @ 8:30 pm – Updated – Oct 1, 2019 @ 12:35 am

 

Harvard Reference for this page::

Heather Y Wheeler. (2018). Sir David Attenborough 1936 – Present Day. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/sir-david-attenborough. Last accessed December 8th, 2019