Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough speaking at the launch of the Dinosaur Gallery at New Walk Museum

Sir David Attenborough speaking at the launch of the Dinosaur Gallery at New Walk Museum

Sir David Attenborough is best known as a naturalist and broadcaster and is widely respected for his contribution to numerous natural history films.

Born on 8th May 1926, David is the younger brother of the actor, Richard Attenborough, and after their father gained a position as Principal of what was then the University College in Leicester, the family moved into College House, Leicester. The University’s 18-storey Attenborough Tower is named after their father who remained at the College until 1951. The brothers attended the Wyggeston Boys School and David developed a love of natural history from his visits to Leicester New Walk Museum where he helped to classify fossils.  He later gained a place at Clare College, Cambridge to study Natural Sciences and graduated in 1947.

After two years National Service in the Navy, David gained his first job with the publishing house, Hodder and Stoughton before joining the BBC in 1952 as a trainee producer.  He quickly progressed through the ranks of the BBC and in 1954 he began a series called ‘Zoo Quest’.  By 1965 he had become Controller of BBC2 with responsibility for bringing colour television to Britain.  In 1973 he decided to return to his first love of Natural History and in subsequent year was was responsible for producing such major series as ‘The Living Planet’ and ‘Life on Earth’.

David Attenborough was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Leicester in 1970 and in 2006 received the University’s highest honour when he and his brother were named Honorary Distinguished Fellows  to mark his contributions to the establishment and continuing support for the city of Leicester.