David Attenborough  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Sir David Frederick Attenborough (pronounced Atten-burruh) OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS (born 8 May 1926 in London, England) is a broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the respected face and voice of British natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years. He is best known for writing and presenting the nine "Life" series, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, which collectively form a comprehensive survey of all terrestrial life. He is also a former senior manager at the BBC, having served as controller of BBC Two and director of programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s.

He is the younger brother of director and actor Richard Attenborough.

Parodies and artistic portrayals

Attenborough's accent and hushed, excited delivery have been the subject of frequent parodies by comedians, most notably Spike Milligan, Marty Feldman, The Goodies and South Park. Especially apt for spoofing is Attenborough's pronunciation of the word "here" when using it to introduce a sentence, as in, "He-eah, in the rain forest of the Amazon Basin..."

Attenborough is portrayed by Michael Palin in the final episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, where he searches the African jungle for the legendary Walking Tree of Dahomey (Quercus Nicholas Parsonus), sweating excessively and accompanied by native guides wearing saxophones.

In an episode of Are You Being Served?, "Anything You Can Do!", Mrs. Slocombe refers him by name, by mistake, she says Richard Attenborough.

Attenborough also appears as a character in David Ives' play Time Flies, a comedy focusing on a romance between two mayflies.

In the documentary In the Wild: Lemurs with John Cleese, while trekking through the forest in Madagascar, Cleese points as if to have seen an exotic creature and exclaims, "It's David Attenborough!"

On an episode of The Ricky Gervais Show, Karl Pilkington speculates that David Attenborough is likely careful not to kill any insect pests, imitating Attenborough's inevitable recognition that "that's where I make me money."

In the late 1980s, an Australian weekly programme called The Comedy Company featured a segment with "David Rabbitborough" played by Ian McFadyen. He got around in a safari suit touring the Melbourne suburbs in the same format as Attenborough, but his specimens were human beings and garden objects, like gnomes, garden hoses and water caps.

In the 1980s, a TV advertisement for Guinness featured an Attenborough impersonator investigating the odd "species" of humans who prefer bland lager to flavoursome stout.

In a Finnish TV commercial, Attenborough is impersonated, looking at fireflies - until the lights are turned on by a studio employee going to a soft drink vending machine.

Portuguese comedian Herman José played a caricature of Attenborough (David Vaitenborough, roughly translated as David Go-away) in the "Herman Geographycal Society" sketches in his TV Show Herman Enciclopédia (1997).

Another group of TV advertisements produced in 2008, this time for GEICO automobile insurance, has an Attenborough impersonator observing the Geico gecko making his sales pitch in various settings.

Attenborough's voice-over is included in the Japanese band Coaltar of the Deepers' song "Cell".




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "David Attenborough" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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