David Attenborough

The BBC needs to broaden its range, says Sir David Attenborough

(Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

It’s a rare that two thoroughgoing BBC men are seen smiling, let alone laughing, inside the precincts of the House of Commons. When senior BBC people visit Parliament, they are invariably greeted by sceptical MPs, keen to give them a rough time. 

The atmosphere could not have been more different when, last month, the RTS invited Andrew Marr and Sir David Attenborough to hold a conversation at the Commons.  

Sir David Attenborough: BBC licence fee is the biggest possible bargain in Britain

David Attenborough speaking to the RTS (Credit: Paul Hampartsoumian)

Speaking to the RTS All Party Parliamentary Group in the House of Commons the veteran natural history broadcaster said that today’s BBC commissioners were reluctant to back lengthy documentaries dealing with serious topics.

“One of the things which BBC Two did very well was to make serious programmes on serious subjects – 13 part series. That requires three years. There’s a great reluctance elsewhere to do those sorts of programmes…

“Today there is a tendency to do shorter series” He added to audience laughter: “’Today we present a new two-part series.’”

BBC reveals slate of original Natural History docs

The schedule includes BBC One's Attenborough And The Giant Sea Dragon, a one-off special exploring Britain's Jurassic Coast and the recent discovery of gigantic fossils embedded in a cliff face.

Natural history icon Sir David Attenborough will use the latest scanning techniques and 3D imaging to bring back to life the ichthyosaur, and reveal more about the ocean predator's way of life.

The Alistair Cooke Lecture


David Attenborough gave the final Alistair Cooke Lecture (Credit: BBC)

Sir David Attenborough. ‘Nature, Science and the Camera, 1998

Alistair Cooke. ‘60 Years.....Behind the Microphone. Before the Camera.....A Memoir’, 1997

Senator Alan Simpson and Congresswoman Pat Schroeder. ‘Television and Politics - After the Election’ (New York), 1996

This weeks’ top TV: 22 – 28 August

One of Us will explore morality, human nature, and family secrets (Credit: BBC)

Monday

Sarah Beeny’s Four Rooms

More 4, 9pm


Sarah Beeny (Credit: Channel 4)

RTS award-winning Four Rooms is back with a new host, Sarah Beeny. A cross between Antiques Roadshow and Dragons' Den, the programme sees members of the public try and sell their prized items to stone-faced dealers for a good price.

This week's top TV: 2 - 8 May

Monday

Posh Neighbours at War

Channel 4

7.30pm

Quite aside from having a title to die for, the documentary offers an insight into some of the most vicious spates between neighbours in some of the most expensive parts of the country.

In parts of London where properties can cost tens of millions of pounds, the residents are unsurprisingly a bit on edge about noisy neighbours and their property.

This week's top TV: 25 April - 1 May

Olivia Colman

Monday

Flowers

Channel 4

10pm

From writer/director Will Sharpe and starring Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) and Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh), the eccentric Flowers family are undergoing something of a meltdown. 

Maurice (Barratt) is a children's author, while his wife Deborah (Colman) is a trombone teacher. Both are dealing with their own demons, and are quietly helpless as their marriage falls apart. 

David Attenborough to present Planet Earth II

David Attenborough will present Planet Earth II

The six-part series comes ten years after Planet Earth redefined history filmmaking.

It will use state-of-the-art technology to help tell the story of our natural world, visiting jungles, deserts, grasslands and cities, and look at how animals survive within them.

Speaking about the new series, Attenborough, who this year celebrates his ninetieth birthday, said: “I am very excited to once again be working with the Natural History Unit on its latest landmark series and am especially looking forward to getting out on location in the next month or so.”