David Attenborough birthday special: 5 must-watch documentaries by natural historian
Sir David Attenborough has captivated audiences across the globe with his awe-inspiring documentaries—a statement that is undeniably true. The renowned broadcaster, biologist, and natural historian has left an indelible mark on understanding the world around us with his impactful storytelling. As he celebrates his 97th birthday on Monday, let's take a moment to reflect on some of his most remarkable and unforgettable documentaries.
'Wild Isles' (2023)
This five-episode documentary, which premiered on March 12, was one of the most-anticipated documentaries of 2023. Wild Isles celebrates the wonders of the islands of Britain and Ireland, showcasing some of the more dramatic habitats on Earth. Filmed on more than 200 shoots over the span of three years, the series explores how grassland, woodland, freshwater, and ocean habitats support different kinds of wildlife.
'Extinction: The Facts' (2020)
A startling yet essential documentary about the species at risk of extinction, Extinction: The Facts follows the serious storyline of a sixth mass extinction, led by humans, and its aftermath of biodiversity loss and climate change. The documentary deals with the heavy subject matter of human activity, such as illegal wildlife trade, poaching, and overfishing, pushing around 1M species on the planet to extinction.
'A Life on Our Planet' (2020)
A Life on Our Planet is an account of Attenborough's 60 years of incredible work while illustrating the devastating changes our planet has gone through in the same period of time. Encapsulating wild places, it illustrates the "living world in all its variety and wonder." This documentary is an insightful examination by Attenborough on the defining moments of his illustrious career as a naturalist.
'Frozen Planet' (2011)
Yet another masterpiece by Attenborough, Frozen Planet outlines life in the Arctic and Antarctic. Comprising seven episodes, the show chronicles the natural history of icy regions and how the threats like climate change and global warming affect native animals. With breathtaking panoramic shots of glaciers and arctic volcanoes, the documentary shows rarely-seen footage of polar animals, like polar bears, Adelie penguins, and fur seals.
'Planet Earth' (2006)
Filmed over five years across 64 countries, Planet Earth is yet another quintessential epic by the nature documentary mammoth Attenborough. Each of the 50-minute episodes takes the viewers to some of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders—from the deepest oceans to the polar ice caps—making it one of Attenborough's best documentaries. Commissioned by BBC in 2006, it was among the most expensive documentaries series then.Share this timeline