The most awesomely spectacular and wide-ranging natural history series to have hit our screens, the crowning achievement of the BBC's Natural History Unit...Daily Mail
Sir David Attenborough's career as a broadcaster and naturalist has endured for an impressive 60 years. His accessible storytelling has inspired generations to learn more about the natural world and brought to life all creatures great and small on our television screens.
He joined the BBC as a trainee producer in 1952. While working on the Zoo Quest series (1954-64), he gained his first opportunity to undertake expeditions to remote parts of the globe to capture intimate footage of rare wildlife in its natural habitat.
He moved into management as Controller of BBC2 in 1965, during which time he introduced colour television to Britain, and then served as Director of Programmes for the organisation from 1969 to 1972. In 1973, he abandoned administration altogether to return his great passion – making natural history documentaries.
His stable of landmark BBC series include Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Trials of Life (1990), The Private Life of Plants (1995), Life of Birds (1998), Life of Mammals (2002), Life in the Undergrowth (2005), Life in Cold Blood (2008) and First Life (2010).
He has received honorary degrees from many universities across the world, and is patron or supporter of many charitable organisations, including acting as patron of the World Land Trust, which buys rainforest and other lands to preserve them and the animals that live there.
He is the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in black and white, colour, HD, and 3D formats.
Heavy metal and marine biology are not usually considered a natural pairing, but when they do come together you have The Blowfish a.k.a Tom Hird.
A highly experienced scuba diver, passionate about all animals and fascinated by the sea, The Blowfish has made it his mission to share his marine biological knowledge to educate adults and children alike on how we can protect and sustain the marine environment. Setting him apart from the 'regular' wildlife presenter, The Blowfish can't resist bringing his love for heavy metal to his shows. In 2014, Blowfish Live was launched where, armed with his bass guitar, he shares his love for marine biology to schools and science festivals.
The Blowfish's career highlights began in 2010 when he handled live snakes and reptiles on Blue Peter during a segment on animals found in the Amazon. The following years saw The Blowfish returning to CBBC to deliver educational segments on shows such as 'Absolute Genius with Dick and Dom' and 'How to Be Epic At Everything'. He has since become resident animal expert on Channel 4's 'Sunday Brunch.'
This year The Blowfish has joined BBC Earth in 'Fishing Impossible' which sees The Blowfish and two other presenters scouring the Earth for the most challenging and fascinating locations on earth to catch an array of fantastic fish.
Ben Fogle was born in 1973, the son of actress Julia Foster and broadcast vet Bruce Fogle. Educated at Bryanston School in Dorset, Ben went on to study Latin American Studies at the University of Costa Rica and University of Portsmouth, where Ben enrolled as an Officer in the Royal Naval Reserve, as a Midshipman.
Ben spent several years in Latin America, working on a turtle conservation project on the Mosquito Coast of Honduras and working in an orphanage in Ecuador.
In 2000 Ben volunteered to be marooned on Taransay, a remote windswept island in the Outer Hebrides as part of the BBC’s big millennium project Castaway 2000. Ben has since rowed the Atlantic Ocean, crossed Antarctica on foot, run across the Sahara and crossed the Empty Quarter on camel.
He has presented numerous hit programmes on the BBC, ITV and Channel 5 including, New Lives in the Wild, Extreme Dreams, Countrywise, Harbour Lives, Through Hell and High Water and Crufts.
He writes regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and has written six Sunday Times bestseller books.
He is an ambassador for WWF, Medecins Sans Frontier and Tusk, Centrepoint and the Princes Trust, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and patron of The Royal Parks Foundation.
Jônatas de Moura Penna, better known as Joe Penna, was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in 1987. He moved to the United States as a child and as he was unable to speak English when he first arrived, he spent a lot of his childhood looking at the internet. It wasn’t time wasted though; Joe is now a YouTube multi-millionaire.
Despite his parents’ expectations that their son would become a doctor, the teenage Joe had other ideas. He wanted to make videos, and his first online hit was a film of him completing a Rubik’s cube to the soundtrack of Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt, called The Puzzle. This low-budget outing became so popular that Joe decided to create another film, Guitar Impossible, which showcased him playing Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro on an acoustic guitar (he returned to a Mozart theme in 2010 when he made Root Beer Mozart, an ingenious film of him playing the Overture from The Magic Flute on six root beer bottles).
Guitar Impossible was even more successful than The Puzzle and this prompted Joe to leave the University of Massachusetts, where he was studying medicine, to concentrate on creating online content and producing videos full time. After a stint as a cinematographer filming music videos and commercials in Boston, he headed to the bright lights of Los Angeles, where he still lives.
His YouTube channel, MysteryGuitarMan, was launched in 2006. Since then, Joe’s love of music, coupled with creative editing and production, has helped him to make films which have amassed fans from around the world. His channel is one of YouTube’s most successful.
Joe’s also branched out into directing commercials for national television in the US, including making adverts for McDonalds and Coca-Cola. He’s made the jump into television as a presenter too, as the frontman of Xploration Earth 2050.
Born in Oldham in 1968 to banker parents, Brian’s first foray into the public spotlight was as the keyboardist of the British pop band D:Ream, who scored a number one hit with Things Can Only Get Better in the 1990s. After D:Ream disbanded, Brian turned his attention to science academia, completing his Doctor of Philosophy in high energy particle physics at the University of Manchester.
Brian now divides his time between being a Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) Advanced Fellow at Manchester University, working on the prolific ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland and as being a leading TV and radio broadcaster popularising astronomy and physics.
His most notable TV credits include fronting such award-winning BBC series as Wonders of the Solar System, Wonders of the Universe, Wonders of Life and Human Universe.
Dominic Monaghan has demonstrated incredible versatility in an acting career that has included such diverse characterizations as the Hobbit Merry in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Charlie Pace on ABC’s hit series Lost, a quantum physicist in the TV mystery FlashForward, and an electrical-powered mutant known as Bolt in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Dominic produced and starred in The Day, where he played the leader of a post-apocalyptic group being hunted by zombies. Other recent credits include the comedy TV series Goodnight Burbank and Crackle’s original series The Unknown.
A true nature lover and wildlife enthusiast, he recently wrapped shooting the second season of the Critics’ Choice Television Award nominated series, Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan. In each episode, Dominic takes the viewer along on an intimate, heart-pumping adventure as he tracks down and gets up close and personal with some of the planet’s most rare and life-threatening insects.
Before his worldwide success he became known in England for his role in the British television drama Hetty Wainthropp Investigations. His other feature film work includes Glenn McQuaid’s I Sell the Dead, (which was featured at Slamdance Film Festival), Colin Teague’s Spivs, Richard Jobson’s The Purifiers and Rebecca Cook‘s Shooting Livien. Dominic has also combined two of his life’s passions – photography and nature – and held his first exhibit in early 2008, Happy Accidents.
Born in 1968, author Steven Johnson is one of America’s leading media theorists and an acclaimed authority on the relationship between science, technology and personal experience.
Armed with an Ivy League university education in semiotics and English literature, he published his first book – Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms The Way We Create And Communicate – in 1997.
In 2005, he gained global recognition with Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, his fourth book and breakout title that provocatively proposed video games and TV advance cognitive skills and intelligence.
In addition to penning nine books to date, Steven has also spent his career spearheading innovation in digital media. He created the pioneering online publication FEED, the groundbreaking forum site Plastic, and the ambitious hyperlocal media site outside.in.
Steven is a contributing editor for the techno-savvy online magazine Wired, and his big-brained, multidisciplinary theories are regularly featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.
How well do you know our amazing planet?