David Attenborough filmography

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Main article: David Attenborough

The following is a chronological list of television series and individual programmes where David Attenborough is credited as writer, presenter, narrator or producer. In a career spanning seven decades, Attenborough's name has become synonymous with the natural history programmes produced by the BBC Natural History Unit.

1950s[edit]

Year Title Duration Subject Credit(s) DVD Release
1954 Zoo Quest 6x30min An animal-collecting expedition to Sierra Leone with London Zoo curator Jack Lester and cameraman Charles Lagus, in search of the elusive Picathartes gymnocephalus Writer, presenter, sound-recordist and producer No
1955 Zoo Quest to Guiana 6x30min For the second Zoo Quest expedition, Attenborough and Lagus introduced British television viewers to the natural history of South America Writer, presenter, sound-recordist and producer No
1956 Zoo Quest for a Dragon 6x30min This Zoo Quest series features the first known footage of the Komodo dragon Writer, presenter, sound-recordist and producer No
1957 Quest for the Paradise Birds 6x30min Attenborough's first trip to the island of New Guinea in an attempt to film the courtship displays of the native birds of paradise Writer, presenter, sound-recordist and producer No
1959 Zoo Quest in Paraguay 6x30min For the fifth Zoo Quest, Attenborough and Lagus returned to South America and visited the grasslands and wetlands of Paraguay Writer, presenter, sound-recordist and producer No

1960s[edit]

Year Title Duration Subject Credit(s) DVD Release
1960 The People of Paradise 6x30min A series on the anthropology and natural history of the South Pacific Writer, presenter, sound-recordist and producer No
1961 Zoo Quest to Madagascar 6x30min An expedition to film and collect animals in Madagascar, including lemurs, at the time little-known in Europe Writer, presenter, sound-recordist and producer No
1963 Attenborough and Animals 10x25min Attenborough's first series for children, in which different species were compared Presenter No
1963 Quest Under Capricorn 6x30min The final Zoo Quest series, filmed in the Northern Territory of Australia, was also Attenborough's final natural history series before moving into BBC management Writer, presenter, sound-recordist and producer No
1965 Zambezi 3x50min During a break from studying for an anthropology degree, Attenborough filmed a journey down the Zambezi Writer and presenter No
1969 The Miracle of Bali 3x50min Attenborough visited the Indonesian island of Bali to film the traditional music and culture Narrator and producer No

1970s[edit]

Year Title Duration Subject Credit(s) DVD Release
1973 Eastwards with Attenborough 6x30min Attenborough's first natural history series after resigning as BBC Controller took him to South East Asia Writer and presenter No
1973 The Life Game 1x90min a "Science Special" on genetics and evolution, written by Nigel Calder and produced by Adrian Malone Presenter No
1973 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 6x60min Attenborough joined a list of distinguished names who have presented the annual science lectures aimed at children, on the subject of The Language of Animals Writer and presenter No
1975 The Explorers 10x50min A series of drama-documentaries recreating the voyages of famous explorers, at the time the most expensive series ever commissioned by the BBC Introducer and narrator No
1975 Fabulous Animals Unknown A series for children's television which featured Attenborough reading from books on mythological creatures Presenter No
1975 The Tribal Eye 7x50min A series on tribal art, of which Attenborough is a keen collector Writer and presenter Yes
1976 The Discoverers 6x30min A series on pioneering explorers, discoverers and scientists in the field of natural history Narrator No
1977 Wildlife on One 253x30min This series of half-hour natural history programmes for BBC One ran annually until 2005 Narrator No
1979 Life on Earth 13x55min Covering the history of life on Earth, this acclaimed series was three years in the making and notable for its groundbreaking footage Writer and presenter Yes

1980s[edit]

Year Title Duration Subject Credit(s) DVD Release
1980 The Spirit of Asia 8x60min The cultures and religions of the people of Asia Narrator No
1981 The Ark in South Kensington 1 episode A one-off programme to celebrate the centenary of the Natural History Museum in London Presenter No
1984 The Living Planet 12x55min The follow-up to Life on Earth was another ambitious global series looking at the variety of habitats on the planet Writer and presenter Yes
1985 The Million Pound Bird Book 1x60min Attenborough presents a programme on the American naturalist John James Audubon, whose book of life-size bird paintings had recently fetched £1 million at auction Writer and presenter No
1987 The First Eden 4x60min A series on the Mediterranean, examining the natural history of the region and the impact that successive human civilisations have had on the environment Writer and presenter Yes
1989 Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives 4x40min A series on fossils, a passion that Attenborough has had since childhood Writer and presenter Yes

1990s[edit]

Year Title Duration Subject Credit(s) DVD Release
1990 The Trials of Life 12x50min The final part of the original Trilogy of Life deals with the animal behaviour, with each episode focusing on a particular stage of animals' lives Writer and presenter Yes
1993 Life in the Freezer 6x30min A collaboration with Alastair Fothergill, this was the first series devoted to the natural history of Antarctica Writer and presenter Yes
1994 Heart of a Nomad 1x60min Attenborough interviews the British explorer and writer Wilfred Thesiger for a Channel 4 documentary Presenter No
1995 The Private Life of Plants 6x50min In the first of his more specialised Life series, Attenborough brought the world of plants to life using innovations such as timelapse photography Writer and presenter Yes
1996 Winners and Losers 2x45min A look at how the subjects of early wildlife filmmaker Eugene Schumacher's 1960s documentary The Rare Ones have fared in the intervening years Narrator No
1996 Attenborough in Paradise and Other Personal Voyages Various Collection of seven documentaries recorded between 1971-2004 Writer and presenter Yes
1998 The Life of Birds 10x50min For this series, infrared cameras were employed for the first time to film nocturnal birds such as kiwis and shearwaters Writer and presenter Yes
1998 The Origin of Species: An Illustrated Guide 1x30min Broadcast as part of a BBC season on evolution, this programme used library footage to help explain Charles Darwin's theory Narrator No
1999 Sharks - The Truth 1x50min A programme which seeks to dispel some of the received wisdom surrounding shark behaviour, broadcast as part of BBC One's Shark Summer season Narrator No
1999 They Said It Couldn't Be Done 7x60min On the eve of the millennium, Attenborough interviews a series of leading wildlife film-makers in front of an audience at the Royal Geographical Society to discover the secrets behind some of their most famous programmes Presenter No

2000s[edit]

Year Title Duration Subject Credit(s) DVD Release
2000 State of the Planet 3x50min Attenborough's first overtly environmental series examines the detrimental impact that modern man is having on the natural world Writer and presenter Yes
2000 Living with Dinosaurs 1x50min A profile of crocodiles, turtles and other modern reptiles whose ancestry can be traced back to the dinosaurs Narrator No
2000 The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth 1x50min A Christmas special in which Attenborough travels to some of the world's wildlife hotspots to view spectacular natural events Presenter No
2001 The Blue Planet 8x50min A landmark series on the natural history of the world's oceans, executive-produced by Alastair Fothergill Narrator Yes
2002 The Life of Mammals 10x50min To follow up The Life of Birds, Attenborough turned his attention to the mammals, the most successful group of modern animals Writer and presenter Yes
2002 Great Natural Wonders of the World 1x60min A sequel to The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth, this programme featured natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon and was again screened at Christmas time Presenter No
2004 Satoyama: Japan's Secret Water Garden 2x52min Documentary about how the local residents of a village in 'Satoyama' live in harmony with nature. Narrator No
2005 Animal Crime Scene 5x60min A series which combined the traditional wildlife documentary format with that of a crime drama Narrator No
2005 Life in the Undergrowth 5x50min Developments in macro and close-up film technology enabled the world of invertebrates to be brought to the screen for the first time Writer and Presenter Yes
2006 Planet Earth 11x50min Billed as "the ultimate portrait of our planet" by the BBC, this is the most expensive documentary series ever made Narrator Yes
2006 The Truth about Climate Change 2x60min Attenborough is convinced by the evidence for man-made global warming, and uses archive footage from his previous series along with contemporary film to show how climate change is affecting the world Writer and presenter Yes
2006 Gorillas Revisited 1x60min The story of Rwanda's mountain gorillas reunites Attenborough with the crew who filmed his famous encounter in Life on Earth Presenter No
2007 Climate Change: Britain Under Threat 1x60min Following his recent documentary on the global issue of climate change, Attenborough fronted this programme on the implications for Britain Presenter No
2007 Tom Harrisson: The Barefoot Anthropologist 1x60min Part of a season on anthropologists screened on BBC Four, this programme profiled Tom Harrisson, famous for discovering early human remains in Borneo Presenter No
2007 Attenborough Explores... Our Fragile World 1x60min Broadcast on digital channel UKTV Documentary, this specially commissioned programme saw Attenborough again tackle the global environmental crisis Writer and presenter No
2008 Life in Cold Blood 5x50min Attenborough concluded his globetrotting documentaries with the final part of the specialised Life series, featuring reptiles and amphibians Writer and Presenter Yes
2008 Humpbacks: From Fire to Ice 1x50min A documentary made for Australian television on the humpback whale Narrator No
2009 Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life 1x60min Attenborough presents a personal study of the theory of evolution Writer and presenter Yes
2009 Nature's Great Events 6x50min The film techniques of Planet Earth are deployed to dramatise some of the greatest annual wildlife events on the planet Narrator Yes
2009 Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor: The Link 1x60min A special documentary to coincide with the announcement of a 47 million-year-old primate fossil Writer and narrator Yes
2009 Life 10x50min A landmark series documenting some of the more unusual survival strategies that animals and plants around the globe have evolved Writer and narrator Yes

2010s[edit]

Year Title Duration Subject Credit(s) DVD Release
2010 David Attenborough's First Life 2x60min BBC Two series on the earliest-known complex organisms, referencing the latest fossil evidence Writer and presenter Yes
2010 Flying Monsters 3D 1x70min Attenborough's first collaboration with Sky, a 3D film about pterosaurs Writer and presenter Yes
2011 Madagascar 3x60min The natural history of Madagascar Narrator Yes
2011 Attenborough and the Giant Egg 1x60min The story of Aepyornis and its implications for the modern-day conservation efforts Writer and presenter No
2011 Desert Seas 1x60min Wildlife filmmakers are given unprecedented access to the coastal seas off Saudi Arabia Narrator No
2011 Frozen Planet 7x60min The natural history of the polar regions Narrator/presenter Yes
2011 The Bachelor King 3D 1x75min Sky 3D film charting the lives of king penguins on South Georgia Writer and narrator Yes
2012 Secrets of Wild India 3x60min Indian wildlife series, broadcast on Nat Geo Wild Narrator No
2012 Superfish: Bluefin Tuna 1x60min National Geographic documentary following cameraman Rick Rosenthal's attempts to film bluefin tuna in the wild Narrator No
2012 Kingdom of Plants 3D 3x60min Sky 3D series filmed at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Writer and presenter Yes
2012 Attenborough's Ark: A Natural World Special 1x60min David Attenborough picks his top ten endangered animals that he thinks should be saved from extinction. Writer and presenter No
2012 Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild 3x60min Attenborough looks back at the unparalleled changes in natural history that he has witnessed during his 60-year career. Broadcast in the US as Attenborough's Life Stories Writer and presenter Yes
2012 Hummingbirds: Jewelled Messengers 1x45min Documentary on hummingbirds, the ultimate creatures of the air. Presenter No
2013 Plants Behaving Badly 2x45min 2-part special on plants. Presenter No
2013 Galapagos 3D 3x45min Sky 3D series in which Attenborough explores the history of the Galapagos Islands. Writer and presenter Yes
2013 David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities 15x30min Attenborough profiles the curious animals that continue to baffle and fascinate him. Series 1 was broadcast on Eden in 2013 and Series 2 on Watch in 2014 Writer and presenter Yes
2013 Africa 6x60min BBC series in which Attenborough explores life in Africa. Narrator/presenter Yes
2013 Micro Monsters 3D 6x60min Sky 3D series looking at Insects Narrator/presenter Yes
2013 David Attenborough's Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates 2x60min Attenborough looks at how the vertebrates evolved Writer and presenter Yes
2014 David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive 1x60min Sky 3D one-off special. Attenborough looks at some of the more intriguing extinct specimens at the Natural History Museum in London by bringing them to life. Writer and presenter Yes
2014 Life Story 6x60min Major BBC One series telling the story of the journey through life Narrator/presenter Yes

Other programmes[edit]

In addition to writing, presenting, narrating and producing his own documentaries, David Attenborough has made regular appearances as an on-screen and off-screen participant in other film-makers' documentaries and on other numerous television programmes. The following list includes some of his more notable appearances plus long-running shows:

Year Title Duration Subject Credit(s) DVD Release
1955 The Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-58 6x30min An occasional series following the progress of Vivian Fuchs and his Commonwealth expedition's successful overland crossing of Antarctica Presenter and producer No
1961 Adventure Over 150 episodes The BBC's flagship travel series from the early 1960s, for which Attenborough is credited as narrator or producer of over 30 programmes Narrator and producer No
1973 Natural Break 15x10min A series of short programmes based on archive footage, produced by John Sparks Presenter No
1982 Omnibus 1 episode Series 16, Episode 6. Attenborough interviews Lucie Rie about her studio pottery Presenter No
1983 Natural World Unknown BBC Two series still on air, for which Attenborough has narrated or presented 60 episodes Occasional narrator, writer or presenter No
1993 Wildlife 100 Unknown To mark the 100th episode of Wildlife on One, Attenborough selected his favourite episodes from past series for this special Narrator No
1995 BBC Wildlife Specials 22x50min A series of BBC nature documentaries Narrator Yes
1996 Q.E.D. "The Secret Life of Seahorses" 1x45min Attenborough lends his voice to an episode of BBC One's regular half-hour science series, featuring seahorses Narrator No
2002 Attenborough the Controller Unknown Archive footage and interviewee No
2002 Attenborough in Conversation with Mark Lawson Unknown Interviewee No
2003 Great Wildlife Moments Unknown Archive footage Yes
2006 Favourite Attenborough Moments Unknown Archive footage No
2006 Planet Earth: The Future Unknown Interviewee No
2007 Sharing Planet Earth Unknown Presenter No
2009 Horizon Unknown "How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?" Investigation into whether the world is heading for a population crisis. "The Death of the Oceans?" Investigation into whether it is too late to save their remarkable biodiversity. Presenter No
2010 Genius of Britain 5x60min A Channel 4 series celebrating the achievements of British scientists. Attenborough contributed pieces on Christopher Wren and Joseph Banks Guest presenter Yes
2010 Attenborough's Journey 1x60min Attenborough tells anecdotes from his broadcasting career as the cameras follow him filming First Life Presenter Yes
2013 When Björk Met Attenborough 1x60min Attenborough collaborates with Björk on this Channel 4 documentary which looks at music in the natural world Co-presenter Yes

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]