We recognize him as the secretive and enthusiastic narrator on countless BBC nature programmes. Gorgeous views, dramatic scenes, and character appeal have captured the television audience since the 1970s. Together with the BBC film team, Attenborough helped make the genre popular through its ability to combine knowledge and entertainment.
This Spring, 94 years old, is currently the narrator for BBC A Perfect Planet, which is about the forces that create balance on the planet but also about the fragility of the system.
Attenborough is wonderful because he has this knowledge and will and is passionate about what he tells about him, says nature filmmaker Stephen Quint.
Another skilled narrator was Swedish nature filmmaker Jan Lindblad, who made films during the 1960s and 1970s. He had tigers at home, depicted the oil birds of Trinidad, and directed the gaze of ethnologists toward the indigenous peoples of South America. The classic scene is when Jan Lindblad wrestles an anaconda in Guyana in 1975. Perhaps he is closest to Sweden’s Attenborough.
Jan Lindblad was certainly the equivalent of David Attenborough in his day. Jan Lindblad was someone with storytelling skills, you could totally see the carbon black scene and as soon as Jan told him it was exciting, says Stephane Quint.
Slower pace in Sweden
Stefan Kwenth says David Attenborough has been a role model for many Swedish nature filmmakers, but the tradition here is historically different from the British one.
– In Sweden, we worked on our own for many years, then we do not have the economic conditions that were in England. The Swedish tradition is based on a slower pace. “Eat or eat” is not what you eat in British traditions, Stephen Quint says.
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