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Ten of the best David Attenborough documentaries

Ten of the best David Attenborough documentaries

Ten Best David Attenborough Documentaries

The traditional layout for this kind of article goes something like this: I tell you what I think are the ten best of XYZ, and beneath each mini heading, I explain why each entry deserves to be on the list. But the truth is, here, everything on this list is on it for very similar reasons.

Sure, there are certain segments of various documentaries that are particularly breath-taking or mind blowing, but the truth is, everything listed below is similarly brilliant. And here’s the next factoid: I could swap out any of the titles beneath for another docuseries from Attenborough and the list would be every bit as robust as it is now.

David Attenborough makes consistently fantastic, engaging and vitally important television. It’s just a fact. So, at the end of this article, there is a list of Documentaries made by David Attenborough that you should watch. But, first, here’s why you should watch them:

Attenborough is almost a byword for cosy, kind, Britishness by now. He is without the sharper edges of Stephen Fry, without the establishmentarian disagreeableness of the Queen and far less divisive than Richard Dawkins. And yet he strikes the same clear and true National Treasure note- Attenborough himself would of course hate to be called that, so let’s just pretend I didn’t.

David-Attenborough-polar-bear
David Attenborough and a polar bear.

He has made television that has broken new ground for other documentary filmmakers and yet no one is able to live up to the legacy that he has created as a broadcaster, as a natural historian or as a personality. He has been a vocal advocate for conservation and for protecting our planet for decades, a passion that has gained momentum globally (although nowhere near enough) in recent years but one that Attenborough has championed personally and publicly since the 1930s.

Although Attenborough’s professional successes have included his work at the BBC as a controller and head of channels, he is most well known for setting the standard of wildlife filmmaking which is the benchmark still today. His back catalogue is extensive and it includes groundbreaking films of animals who hadn’t been properly recorded before the BBC nature programming that Attenborough is known for, but his more recent work, his embrace of technology and his tireless work to save our planet are some of his most inspiring actions in my opinion. The list below is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of Attenborough’s enormous contribution to television and science, but they are a good place to start.

Planet Earth (2006)

Planet Earth 2 (2016)

The Blue Planet (2001)

Blue Planet 2 (2018)

Frozen Planet (2011)

Seven Worlds, One Planet (2019)

Dynasties (2018)

The Living Planet (1984)

The Truth About climate change (2006)

The Private Life of Plants (1995)

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