Sir David Attenborough: celebrating 95 years on Earth

Happy 95th Birthday,
Sir David Attenborough

Tomorrow, 8 May, is Sir David Attenborough’s 95th birthday and, to celebrate the special occasion, I have put together ten fascinating facts about this incredible individual who has managed to reach and inspire hundreds of thousands of people across the world during his time on Earth.

Sir David Attenborough was born in London, UK, on 8 May 1926. He grew up in Leicester, UK, with his younger brother, John, and older brother Richard, who also spent his life working in media as a famous actor and film producer. Since the age of 23, when David started working at an educational publishing house editing children’s science textbooks, he has dedicated his life to presenting and creating countless TV documentaries and books on our planet, becoming the world’s most recognisable nature broadcaster of all time.

Fact #1: who needs a driving licence?

And it’s not because he’s too famous to drive himself around, he’s just never passed his test because he hates driving.

Fact #2: the power of flight

In an interview with BBC Wildlife, when asked what superpower he’d want, he chose the ability to fly. “It would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?” he said. “I want to be able to just stretch my wings and take off.”

Fact #3: there’s one animal he hates

Despite being thought of as the animal’s champion, an individual fascinated by all of Earth’s creatures, it may come as a surprise to learn that there’s one that he absolute hates… rats! Perhaps it’s because of a rather unfortunate close encounter he had with one whilst sat on the loo in India, which popped up between his legs to say hello? The stuff of nightmares!

Fact #4: BAFTA extraordinaire

Sir David Attenborough is the only person in the world to have won BAFTA’s for work produced in black and white, colour, HD, and 3D.

Fact #5: never been

Thought to be one of the most travelled men in history – filming The Life of Birds (1998) clocked up 256,000 alone – David has never been to the middle of the Gobi Desert but, despite there being no animals, would love to go for the fossils.

Fact #6: a double knighthood

David became a Sir when he was knighted by the Queen in 1985, following the honour of being given a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) eleven years before this in 1974. However, in 2020, he received a second knighthood – the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George – in recognition of his services to television broadcasting and conservation within a foreign country and/or in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.

Fact #7: what’s in a name?

Having something named after you is considered to be the ultimate compliment. In David’s case, there are more than ten things – both living and extinct, as well as some that aren’t even animals at all – that have taken inspiration from his name including:
A dinosaur called the Attenborosaurus conybeare;
A butterfly named Euptychia attenboroughi, recognising his love of these winged insects;
A carnivourous plant found in the Philippines that digests animals the size of rats, known as Nepenthes attenboroughii;
A constellation named the Attenborough Constellation, which is in the shape of a whale;
A polar research ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, which was originally voted by the public to be named Boaty McBoatface in 2016.

Fact #8: globe trotter

It’s unsurprising to read that, as one of the most travelled human’s on Earth, Sir David Attenborough has set foot on every continent on the globe.

Fact #9: serving his country

Sir David Attenborough spent two years serving in the Royal Navy after being called upon following his studies in Natural Science in 1947.

Fact #10: which animal would you be?

In 2016, when David was interviewed ahead of the release of Great Barrier Reef, he revealed that if he could spend a day as any animal in the world, he’d be a sloth. And, to be honest, why not?

Image credits: WWF-UK/David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet
1. Sir David Attenborough pictured in the Maasai Mara, Kenya.-2
2. Sir David Attenborough pictured in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. David Attenborough_A Life On Our Planet
3. Sir David Attenborough with fossil in Leicerstershire, UK. David Attenborough _A Life On Our Planet
4. Sir David Attenborough pictured in Chernobyl, Ukraine. David Attenborough_A Life On Our Planet

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