Vote Sir David Attenborough Britain’s Greatest Living Icon
Monday 4 December 2006
ZSL Honorary Fellow Sir David Attenborough has made it to the final three in BBC2 The Culture Show’s campaign to discover Britain’s Greatest Living Icon. Reporter Zina Saro-Wiwa visited ZSL London Zoo to canvass for support for Sir David.
My name is Zina Saro-Wiwa. I work as a reporter for BBC2s The Culture Show. Just over 6 weeks ago we launched a campaign to discover Britain's Greatest Living Icon. We're down to the top three icons and they are Sir Paul McCartney, Morrisey and Sir David Attenborough. You have until 11 December to vote for the winner.
The task has been handed to me to encourage you to vote for the only non-pop star in the final three Sir David Attenborough. "Easily done" I thought. I'm preaching to the converted. He's made over to 26 programmes and series about the natural world which have radically changed the way we feel about our planet. His programmes have been watched by 500 million people worldwide. His work has brought awareness to important environmental issues and has helped save countless animals and habitats.
He's also written 20 books; been well-decorated, winning over 13 major awards (including a knighthood) and is well-loved by the British public and audiences worldwide. The man is untouchable.
But there is one potential weakness: We may all agree that Attenborough is a national treasure, but is he really a cultural icon? Well I want to argue that he is. Did you know that David Attenborough is one of the architects of modern television? In his role as controller of BBC1 and BBC2 he commissioned Monty Python and Porridge among other programmes and he oversaw the introduction of colour television.
As for being an icon sometimes it seems that the more 2-dimensional you are the more iconic you are perceived to be because being iconic is so much about your image. But I think Attenborough transcends image. It's Attenborough's voice, writing and world view that are iconic. This kind of legacy lives and breathes and will continue to inspire a whole cross-section of people for a long time to come.
Attenborough is a multi-dimensional icon. Vote Sir David.