f you have ever watched wildlife videos, chances are that the voice over in one of them was from the legendary David Attenborough. This is Smithsonian’s preview of an upcoming BBC series titled ‘Mammals’ (check out the teaser video with Coldplay playing in the background), which features Attenborough who seems to be going strong at 98. The piece is as much a preview of the series as it is a celebration of Attenborugh’s contribution to the world of wildlife documentaries.

“For 70 years, Attenborough has been bringing the natural world into the living rooms of billions of people around the world, collaborating on more than 100 series with the BBC’s NHU, including “Planet Earth,” “The Blue Planet,” “Frozen Planet,” “Africa” and “Dynasties.” With his skills as a writer and producer; his distinctive, often-mimicked voice; and his combination of passion and deep knowledge, he has inspired generations of conservationists, scientists, photographers, filmmakers and wildlife lovers to care about, and for, the natural world, with famous fans ranging David Beckham to Billie Eilish. Like the English primatologist Jane Goodall, he’s globally admired for raising awareness about biodiversity loss, climate change and other threats. Fellow British TV presenter Chris Packham has described him as “the world’s greatest broadcaster and the man who has done more than anyone has or ever will to protect life on Earth.”

But “the voice of nature” has grown more somber and desperate through the decades as Attenborough has seen firsthand the destruction humans are wreaking on the planet. The tone of his programs has shifted from joyful wonder to warnings of what we stand to lose if we don’t change course. Our reckless disregard for nature isn’t new—one segment in “Mammals” focuses on the wiping out of bison in North America in the 19th century—but the destruction has accelerated and spread dramatically over the course of Attenborough’s long and productive life.”

About his iconic ‘Life on Earth’ series: “Attenborough went on to write and produce the groundbreaking “Life on Earth” series, which first aired in 1979. With an estimated audience of 500 million people, the series made Attenborough a household name—and featured the now-famous scenes of the jubilant presenter lying in the undergrowth with Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.”

“…Attenborough, who turns 98 this year, appears briefly at the start of “Mammals,” but for the rest of the series his presence is confined to the role of narrator; bowing to the restrictions of age, he travels less each year. He’s had double knee surgery and heart surgery to fit a pacemaker. One of the most well-traveled people on the planet, he’s said to have journeyed 256,000 miles just for his 1998 “The Life of Birds” series. That’s the equivalent of going around the world ten times”

(Attenborough’s older brother Richard is famous for having won the Oscars for best picture and best director for the movie ‘Gandhi’)

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