Bristol

Sir David Attenborough awarded freedom of Bristol

  • 17 December 2013
  • From the section Bristol
Media captionSir David Attenborough has had a long association with the BBC in Bristol

Sir David Attenborough has been awarded the freedom of the city of Bristol.

Sir David's name was added to the roll of honorary freemen following a ceremony at City Hall at midday.

The award marks a close association between the naturalist and film-maker and the BBC's Natural History Unit based in Bristol.

Wildlife presenter Chris Packham said: "His impact has stretched over many generations. He has entranced us with his own passion for the natural world."

Sir David's career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned 60 years during which time he has established himself as arguably the world's leading natural history programme maker, with several landmark BBC series.

'Honour and privilege'

"To be made a freeman of the city is a great privilege and one I'm delighted to accept," Sir David said.

"I am receiving it in the name of the Natural History Unit. That is where the honour truly lies."

Sir David paid tribute to Christopher Parsons and Desmond Hawkins, who established the unit in 1957.

"I had the honour and luck and privilege to be asked to join these two men. The honour belongs to them," he said.

Sir David is also a former senior manager at the BBC, having served as controller of BBC Two and director of programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s.

And he is the only person to have won a BAFTA for programmes in black and white, colour, HD and 3D.

Image caption Bristol's Lord Mayor Faruk Choudhury said Sir David was the "face and voice of natural film making"

Packham said: "I think most importantly he has educated us and he's continued to do so for 61 years. What an extraordinary achievement.

"If there's one naturalist walking the world today who's made a massive impact in terms of the way we all think about that natural world and manifest concern for it, quite obviously, it's David.

"It's only fitting he receives these sorts of honours."

Fellow wildlife presenter Mike Dilger described him as "a legend".

"Back in the day he was going to places no westerners had ever seen before," he said.

"He brought back the most astonishing footage really, it was the halcyon days of television.

"David was the man that brought nature into our homes."

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites