Life on Air, by David Attenborough
Published by BBC Books, 4th September 2003
Genres: nonfiction, autobiography, science, natural history
Have you heard of David Attenborough? What am I saying, of course you have! Everyone knows, and loves, David Attenborough! He has one of the most recognisable voices in the world and is the face of natural history.
I have always loved watching his documentary series, I have quite a few of them on DVD actually, so I knew I would enjoy his memoir. What I was not expecting, was just how much I would love it and how much I would learn about this great man.
Did you know he used to be in charge of running BBC2 when it first aired? I didn’t. Did you know he used to be a producer and only later became a presenter? I didn’t. Imagine how different the world would be if we had never had David Attenborough and his charming voice to tell us all about it!?
So, back to the book! I must admit that, as I was reading it, I was imagining his voice in my head, telling me all of these amazing stories. And they are amazing!! The stories of his early expeditions, in particular, are incredible. The production teams just set off into these remote areas (Sierra Leone, New Guinea, Guyana etc) with very little preparation, barely a plan. And they had such amazing adventures!
It was also fascinating hearing about the advances in technology since David Attenborough started making programs for the BBC. Imagine trying to film an exotic animal, far up in the trees, with a black and white camera with no zoom or lighting. Imagine not being able to record the sound of a bird call at the same time as filming the bird’s behaviour.
It must be quite something for him, on the set of one of his high-tech modern productions, to think back to his early days and the challenges they faced.
I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone, but especially to fans of David Attenborough. I am so happy that our neighbours left us this book when they were moving house!
My rating: 5/5