Animals or Attenborough?

This year marks the 90th birthday of the Nation’s Granddad, David Attenborough, so it seems like the perfect time to reflect on all his fabulousness. Everybody loves a good nature documentary, but the real question is why; what exactly is it that makes us drop everything to stare at a pack of elephants casually strolling about? Is it the animals or is it Attenborough?

Attenborough has taken us around the world without any of us having to lift a finger, other than to turn the volume up (or down when things get a little too intense). From Africa to the Arctic, it’s all been covered in breath-taking detail. With around 4.4 million of us tuning in to watch his latest documentary, The Hunt, which was definitely not for the faint hearted (or vegetarians for that matter), David and his famous voice put rival documentaries to shame. Although the likes of Steve Backshall have given it their best shot, it’s time to come to terms with the fact that there really is nobody who does it better than Attenborough. Who can resist that oh so soothing voice after a long day; even the animals appear to be lulled into a surreal sense of calm. That is when they aren’t trying to rip each other’s heads off.

It’s clear that the combination of a voice made in heaven and a couple of cute polar bear cubs, rolling around in the snow looking like they’re modelling for the next John Lewis Christmas advert, is impossible to resist. But what we really can’t get enough of is the drama. Nature’s very own episode of EastEnders brought to life by Sir David’s witty commentary and, of course, an emotional rollercoaster soundtrack. We’ve witnessed love, hate, heart-breaking separations, and don’t forget all those brawls at the watering hole. Essentially it is fascinating to observe the ups and downs of these magnificent creatures and the unexpected similarities we are able to spot in our own behaviour. Although we don’t typically find ourselves scrapping over a pool of murky water (I hope), there’s no denying that we are able to laugh, cry and scream throughout, which, in my opinion, is entirely down to a cleverly scripted commentary and ingenious editing.

Attenborough’s documentaries speak to us in a way that no others can. With the aid of some outstanding filming he creates only the best, which is why surely we love Attenborough more than the animals. Right?


Megan Fryer


Image courtesy of 

Leave a Reply