Sir David Attenborough laughing

With his latest series Mammals having recently aired its final episode, Sir David Attenborough has extended his records for the longest career as a TV presenter and longest career as a TV naturalist: 70 years 246 days.

Sir David, 98, made his debut as a presenter on 2 September 1953 on a BBC Children's Television show called Animal Disguises, which was a spin-off of a series that he’d produced and directed earlier in the same year, Animal Patterns.

With television credits spanning eight decades, he is the only person to have won BAFTA awards for series in black and white, colour, HD and 3D formats.

Regularly updating his approach to fit the times, in 2020 Sir David broke the record for the fastest time to reach 1 million followers on Instagram. Taking just 4 hr 44 min, he surpassed Jennifer Aniston’s record by 32 minutes.

“The world is in trouble,” he said in the first video posted to his account, which he stopped using six weeks later, signing off with the statement: “What happens next is up to us.”

Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint broke Sir David’s Instagram record two months later, and it now belongs to K-pop star Kim Taehyung aka “V” from BTS.

Sir David’s monumental body of entertaining, educational work, coupled with his high-profile environmental campaigning, has seen him be awarded over 30 honorary degrees and two knighthoods.

Sir David laughing

And in 2022, he was entered into the Guinness World Records Hall of Fame. When we interviewed him at the time, he said the most challenging series he’s ever worked on was Life on Earth (1979): “It was a 13-part series that covered the whole animal and plant kingdom. It took three years to make and required travelling around the world not once, but twice!”

When asked which animal he would bring back from extinction, Sir David said: “Quetzalcoatlus, the largest pterosaur [and largest flying creature]. We make programmes about it, but we still don’t know how it took off.”

As for how young people can get more involved in conservation, he said: “I’d recommend joining their local county wildlife trust.”

Sir David’s latest TV series explores the reasons why mammals have conquered the planet, such as their superior intelligence, adaptability and social skills.

He also presented another series earlier this year, Secret World of Sound, which used audio technology to gain unprecedented insight into animal behaviours such as how lions and hyenas battle in the dark using sound.

Despite being two years shy of 100, Sir David doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon, with research and production on Blue Planet III – the latest instalment in his critically acclaimed underwater series – already having started. 

If you love watching records being broken you should check out our Records Weekly series on YouTube...

Want more? Follow us on Google News and across our social media channels to stay up-to-date with all things Guinness World Records! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, ThreadsTikTok, LinkedIn, and Snapchat Discover.

Don't forget to check out our videos on YouTube and become part of our group chat by following the Guinness World Records WhatsApp channel.

Still not had enough? Click here to buy our latest book, filled to the brim with stories about our amazing record breakers.