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IDA Honors Sir David Attenborough with Career Achievement

Sir David Attenborough will receive the

International Documentary Association’s

(IDA) 2003 Career Achievement Award. The presentation will be made during the 19th Annual IDA Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards Gala here on Dec. 12 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Theater.

“Sir David Attenborough has made incomparable contributions to advancing our understanding and appreciation of natural history,” says IDA president Michael Donaldson. “His 13-part series ‘Life on Earth’ has already been seen by nearly a half billion people around the world, and it will surely endure for posterity.”  

Sir David has written, produced and hosted numerous natural history television programs that have aired throughout the last half-century. Queen Elizabeth knighted Sir David in 1985 in recognition of his contributions to society.

Sir David studied zoology before joining the BBC in 1952 at a time when television programs were aired live in black-and-white. One of his earliest projects was “Zoo Quest,” a co-venture with the London Zoo.

Sir David was appointed controller of a new channel, BBC2, in 1965. It was under his leadership that such large-scale documentary series as “CiviliSation” and “The Ascent of Man” were produced.

Four years later, he was named director of programs for both BBC networks. In 1973, he decided it was time to pursue a different dream. “I hadn’t even seen the Galapagos Islands,” Sir David explained.

It was the beginning of a life-long journey, which has taken him around the world. Sir David has written and produced 10 major multi-part series and several hundred individual programs exploring natural history, including plants, mammals and other life forms. The BBC is converting most of the series to DVD.

Sir David comments, “People frequently ask what has pleased me the most about my work. My answer is that we have created a reasonably comprehensive survey of how the natural world looked at the end of the 20th century that will be available for people to see in the future. I can’t pretend that’s what I set out to achieve, but it is still very satisfying.”

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