Individual 2014

Individual Award: Sir David Attenborough

On the face of it, a personal award to an 89-year-old with a broadcasting career of more than 60 years behind him would seem valedictory, but one of the many remarkable things about David Attenborough is the energy with which he is still producing cutting-edge work in the field he has dominated for the duration of that career: the television natural history program. For a time, in the 1960s and early 1970s, it seemed as though he had made the logical career progression from innovative program-maker to successful broadcasting executive. As controller of BBC2 and director of BBC Television Programmes, he gave us classics as varied as Civilisation and Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Surely heading for the top job in British broadcasting, he decided instead to get back out into the world and give it the definitive filmed account of the evolution of species: the seminal 1979 series Life on Earth. Since then, the wildlife classics have followed at regular intervals, including the Peabody-winning The Private Life of Plants (1995) and The Life of Birds (1999), each one presenting the latest advances in zoological research, using the newest recording technologies to breath-taking effect. Life Story, the first natural history series shot in ultra-high definition, would have been unthinkable without his contribution. A Personal Peabody Award goes to Sir David Attenborough, zoologist, environmentalist and communicator, for continuing to bring his wonder at the natural world into our homes.