Sir David Attenborough's career as a broadcaster and naturalist has endured for an impressive 60 years. His accessible storytelling has inspired generations to learn more about the natural world and brought to life all creatures great and small on our television screens.
He joined the BBC as a trainee producer in 1952. While working on the Zoo Quest series (1954-64), he gained his first opportunity to undertake expeditions to remote parts of the globe to capture intimate footage of rare wildlife in its natural habitat.
He moved into management as Controller of BBC2 in 1965, during which time he introduced colour television to Britain, and then served as Director of Programmes for the organisation from 1969 to 1972. In 1973, he abandoned administration altogether to return his great passion – making natural history documentaries.
His stable of landmark BBC series include Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Trials of Life (1990), The Private Life of Plants (1995), Life of Birds (1998), Life of Mammals (2002), Life in the Undergrowth (2005), Life in Cold Blood (2008) and First Life (2010).
He has received honorary degrees from many universities across the world, and is patron or supporter of many charitable organisations, including acting as patron of the World Land Trust, which buys rainforest and other lands to preserve them and the animals that live there.
He is the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in black and white, colour, HD, and 3D formats.
Ben is an English adventurer, author, producer and presenter.
He made his first television appearance by participating in the BBC reality show Castaway in 2000. The series followed a group of 36 people marooned on a Scottish island and tasked with creating a self-sufficient community for one year.
Ben has presented a number of TV shows including Extreme Dreams, Countrywise, Harbour Lives and Crufts.
He writes regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and is the author of six books, several of which have appeared on The Sunday Times bestsellers list.
Ben is a keen adventurer and sportsman. After deciding to take part in an Atlantic rowing race, he approached James Cracknell at a party and asked him if he wanted to join him in the challenge. The pair went on to row across the Atlantic in 49 days, setting the British pairs record. In 2009 they joined forces again to take part in a foot race to the South Pole, taking 18 days and coming second overall.
Ben lives with his wife Marina and their children, Ludo and Iona.
Nigel Latta is a registered clinical psychologist, author and presenter of several notable TV documentaries. He was born and raised in Oamaru on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
He got his degree in marine science at Otago University and continued academic life by attending the University of Auckland to train as a clinical psychologist.
Nigel wrote several books about his work as a forensic psychologist, including one published in 2004 called Into the Darklands. This led in 2008 to Nigel making his first foray into television, hosting the critically-acclaimed true-crime series Beyond the Darklands, which ran for five seasons.
In 2006 he released another book entitled Before Your Kids Drive You Crazy Read This, which became a bestseller in its first week of sales. This and follow-up books on the same subject led to Nigel hosting the popular TV series The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show, and the subsequent The Politically Incorrect Guide To Teenagers and The Politically Incorrect Guide To Grown-ups.
Nigel was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to psychology as part of the Diamond Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2012.
Dominic Monaghan has demonstrated incredible versatility in an acting career that has included such diverse characterizations as the Hobbit Merry in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Charlie Pace on ABC’s hit series Lost, a quantum physicist in the TV mystery FlashForward, and an electrical-powered mutant known as Bolt in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Dominic produced and starred in The Day, where he played the leader of a post-apocalyptic group being hunted by zombies. Other recent credits include the comedy TV series Goodnight Burbank and Crackle’s original series The Unknown.
A true nature lover and wildlife enthusiast, he recently wrapped shooting the second season of the Critics’ Choice Television Award nominated series, Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan. In each episode, Dominic takes the viewer along on an intimate, heart-pumping adventure as he tracks down and gets up close and personal with some of the planet’s most rare and life-threatening insects.
Before his worldwide success he became known in England for his role in the British television drama Hetty Wainthropp Investigations. His other feature film work includes Glenn McQuaid’s I Sell the Dead, (which was featured at Slamdance Film Festival), Colin Teague’s Spivs, Richard Jobson’s The Purifiers and Rebecca Cook‘s Shooting Livien. Dominic has also combined two of his life’s passions – photography and nature – and held his first exhibit in early 2008, Happy Accidents.
Born in Oldham in 1968 to banker parents, Brian’s first foray into the public spotlight was as the keyboardist of the British pop band D:Ream, who scored a number one hit with Things Can Only Get Better in the 1990s. After D:Ream disbanded, Brian turned his attention to science academia, completing his Doctor of Philosophy in high energy particle physics at the University of Manchester.
Brian now divides his time between being a Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) Advanced Fellow at Manchester University, working on the prolific ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland and as being a leading TV and radio broadcaster popularising astronomy and physics.
His most notable TV credits include fronting such award-winning BBC series as Wonders of the Solar System, Wonders of the Universe, Wonders of Life and Human Universe.
Born in 1968, author Steven Johnson is one of America’s leading media theorists and an acclaimed authority on the relationship between science, technology and personal experience.
Armed with an Ivy League university education in semiotics and English literature, he published his first book – Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms The Way We Create And Communicate – in 1997.
In 2005, he gained global recognition with Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, his fourth book and breakout title that provocatively proposed video games and TV advance cognitive skills and intelligence.
In addition to penning nine books to date, Steven has also spent his career spearheading innovation in digital media. He created the pioneering online publication FEED, the groundbreaking forum site Plastic, and the ambitious hyperlocal media site outside.in.
Steven is a contributing editor for the techno-savvy online magazine Wired, and his big-brained, multidisciplinary theories are regularly featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.
You don't ever know what Mother Nature's going to throw at you. You do know, it will kill you if it has a chance.Sue Aikens, Life Below Zero
Sue Aikens is the lone resident of Kavik, a town that lies about 32km (20 miles) from the Arctic Ocean on Alaska's North Slope. The closest city lies 805km (500 miles) to the south and the nearest road is 129km (80 miles) away. The town is only accessible by plane.
Sue has lived in Alaska for 30 years and has been the warden of Kavik River Camp for the last six. The camp is a base for hunters, hikers and researchers who wish to explore the arctic terrain.
Sue is a tough cookie. She lives alone so if the electricity generator goes down, as it often does in the extreme weather conditions, there's only her around to fix it.
Although she considers animals her friends, Sue is aware that she lives in bear country, not the other way around.
Outside of hunting season, Sue faces the freezing temperatures, penetrating winds and savage bears all alone, and realises that if something bad were to happen, there is no one to help her.
Her motto is, "If it hurts, don’t think about it." This was certainly put to the test when a grizzly bear attacked her six years ago and left her for dead – she had to sew her own head and arm together and wait for 10 days before help came.
Chip Hailstone and his native Inupiaq wife, Agnes, live with their seven children on the Kobuk River in Noorvik, north-west Alaska.
Chip grew up hunting and fishing and is a skilled hunter. He came to visit Alaska 25 years ago from Kalispell, Montana and although he did not plan to stay, he never left.
Chip’s motto is, live for the day but plan for tomorrow. Chip says that worrying is the first step to protecting himself and everyday he takes a calculated risk. Part of living off the land is being ready and going with nature’s flow, weather, and available materials.
Chip’s family moves seasonally to track down the best hunt and they each play an active role in keeping the family alive. The family use the entire animal that they harvest, even turning the skin, teeth and bones into arts and crafts that they can trade and sell.
Chip is happy to have stumbled his way into this world and call it home.
Glenn Villeneuve moved from Vermont to Alaska in 2000 to pursue his dream of living close to the land. He lives in Chandalar in the Brooks Range, the northernmost extension of the Rocky Mountains, lying at an elevation of 571m (1,873ft).
It's 322km (200 miles) north of the largest city, Fairbanks, and a 96km walk (60 miles) from the nearest road. Isolation comes with the territory and Glenn can often go more than four months without seeing another human.
Glenn opts for the simple life and lives in a one-room cabin with no running water. He cuts his own firewood and only uses electricity for a few items, like a satellite phone, headlamp, and camera. He travels by foot, snowshoe and canoe to hunt moose, caribou, small game and fish. He shares his hunting territory with wolves and he was once charged by a pack of 20.
Glenn values his simple lifestyle that affords him a close connection with the natural world that surrounds him.
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