8 times Sir David Attenborough was a total badass

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Sir David Frederick Attenborough: Naturalist, documentarian and all round legend.

With a long and distinguished career stretching all the way back to the 1950s, everybody’s favourite adopted uncle has been opening our eyes to the wonders of the natural world for generations, imparting his bottomless wisdom in that distinctively velvety and comfortingly calm voice of his.

With that much history behind him, it is unsurprising that Sir Dave has had more moments of badassery than you’ve had hot dinners.

Whether he’s adopting wild animals, saving the planet or dropping some serious knowledge on the President of the United States, Attenborough is truly one-of-a-kind.

8. When He Said Boo To This Sloth

Acting every bit the archetype of the brilliant British eccentric, Attenborough gets all up in a sloth’s face in order to prove just how uber chill they are. He then follows it down to the ground and narrates cooly as the sloth in question performs its weekly defecation ritual.

Only our fave Sir Dave could get away with watching a sloth take a dump on national television and make it equal parts fascinating, educational and even relaxing (frankly, he could narrate the apocalypse and make it sound like a relaxing day at the zoo).

In this clip, Attenborough is simply doing what he does best: Making the natural world funny, interesting, heart-warming and accessible, whilst at all times making sure that everybody watching wishes that he was our collective uncle.

7. When He Dropped Some Truth On Obama

“I have been a huge admirer of your work for a very long time” says the President of the United States, leader of the free world and possibly the most powerful man on the planet.

Damn right he’s a huge admirer. Even a man as powerful as the POTUS can’t fail to recognise Attenborough’s incredible contribution to the understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

During the interview (the full version of which can be found on The White House’s official Youtube channel) both Attenborough and Obama treats the other as a peer, discussing the future of the environment as equals.

The two men cover Sir David’s career, natural history and environmentalism and Attenborough repeatedly drops some serious knowledge about the importance of respecting our planet.

And, of course, Obama can barely contain a wide smile at the sound of David Attenborough’s iconic voice, he’s only human after all.

6. When He Had 11 Goddamn Species Named After Him

Attenborough is not only one of the greatest broadcasters ever to have walked the earth (and that’s a fact), but his contributions to the study of the natural world have been so great that he has a whole menagerie of animals named after him

These include the Mesozoic reptile Attenborosaurus conybeari, the Attenborough’s goblin spider Prethopalpus attenboroughi, and one of the world’s largest carnivorous plants Nepenthes attenboroughii – a huge, pitchered rat-eating plant.

Incidentally, the rat is the only type of animal the Attenborough doesn’t like, so no wonder he lent his name to a plant that eats them for breakfast.

The full list of plants and animals named after our David can be found on his extensive Wikipedia page (which is well worth a read anyway).

5. When He Was Extremely British About Some “Cannibals”

In a 1975 interview with fellow broadcasting legend, Sir Michael Parkinson, the dashing Sir Dave discusses the time he met a tribe of “cannibals” whilst filing in New Guinea.

He describes a scene in which his guide warns him that the men he would like to meet are “cannibals” and that he wouldn’t take him any further, to which he utters the fantastically British “Well, come on, lads, let’s have a talk about this”.

It is at this point that a large group of men in traditional dress begin to charge at them brandishing knives. Dave doesn’t bat an eyelid.

To further hammer home the fact that Attenborough doesn’t take any preconceived, “noble savage”, colonial crap from anybody, he then goes on to extend a friendly handshake to the leader of the group,who happily takes it and shakes him warmly by the hand.

Of course they’re not cannibals and Attenborough, as the wise and well educated demi-god that he is, will be the first to tell you where you can shove your Victorian-era exoticism.

4. When He Had 31 Honorary Degrees

Yeah, so you know how most normal people have a perfectly respectable 2:1 in media studies? Sir David Attenborough has a grand total of 31 honorary degrees from many distinguished universities, not to mention something like 8 BAFTAs and the countless other honours and accolades gathered over his career including, oh yeah, a knighthood.

He is also the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in black and white, colour, HD, and 3D.

He also has honorary Doctor of Science awards from Cambridge and has been made a freeman of both of the cities Leicester and Bristol. To round it all off, he has also been made an honorary fellow of no less that six distinguished colleges, societies and institutes.

Actually, while we’re at it, we should address the great man by his full title: Sir David Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE FRS FSA (that’s a lot of letters).

Not bad for a man who says that he just “wanted to try and understand the way the world works”.

3. When He Saved A Pangolin

As part of a programme in which Sir David selects 10 animals that he would choose to save from extinction on his imaginary ark, he tells the story of the time he saved a Pangolin from certain death and describing it as “one of the most endearing animals I have ever met”.

In 1956, he was approached by a man carrying a heavy sack who asked him if he wanted to buy a Pangolin.

Initially, he said no, on account of the fact that they’re very specialised and are a nightmare to keep in captivity, but upon learning that the man was planning on eating the little thing if he didn’t buy it, he handed over five shillings and became the proud adopted father of a Pangolin.

Attenborough describes his new companion as a “very engaging little creature” in his trademark twinkly style.

Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate how tasty Sir David was back in the day?

2. When He Revolutionised British Programming

When Attenborough took control of the newly launched and slightly failing BBC2 in 1965, he certainly had some big plans.

Sir Dave decided that he was going to give the channel a whole identity of its own, putting together an eclectic mix of arts, music, history, comedy, drama and travel programming and commissioning some of the greatest programmes to come out of Britain, including the legendary Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the landmark series Civilisation.

When the channel went over to colour, he took advantage of this at once by being the first to televise snooker (which, for obvious reasons, would not have worked on black and white television) as well as Rugby League.

But, despite being poised to become the next Director General of the BBC, Attenborough gave it all up to go back to doing what he loves best, making nature programmes (and aren’t we glad he did?). Even so, in his short tenure at the helm of the BBC, he did more to change the face of British television than anybody else and you can still see the effects tot his day.

Talk about a legacy.

1. When Told It Like It Is

Despite his avuncular, gentle exterior, Sir David has never been one to shy away from expressing his opinion about potentially controversial subjects, particularly environmentalism.

Attenborough was born in 1926, when the world’s population was just under two billion, with it now more than three times that, it’s no wonder he sees the human race as a frighteningly destructive force. In 2005 he described George W. Bush to be the era’s top “environmental villain” and in 2013 he told it exactly how it is:

“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now,”

Never one to mince his words, Attenborough is similarly upfront when discussing his views on Creationism:

“Well, it’s funny that the people, when they say that this is evidence of the Almighty, always quote beautiful things. They always quote orchids and hummingbirds and butterflies and roses.” But I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he’s five years old. And I reply and say, “Well, presumably the God you speak about created the worm as well,” and now, I find that baffling to credit a merciful God with that action.”

Attenborough has campaigned against the teaching of creationism in science lessons (for the blindingly obvious reason that it’s not bloody science) and continues to give zero damns about what anybody thinks of him.

What a guy.

sursa: whatculture.com

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