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David Attenborough’s One Regret is Not Making a Nature Documentary on Britain

As a man with few regrets, David Attenborough admits that his major one is not spending more time filming the British Isles....

You would think that a man as illustrious as Sir David Attenborough would have few, if any, regrets professionally speaking. As it turns out, there is one big regret he has – not making more documentaries about British wildlife. 

Speaking to the Telegraph, Attenborough explained that it wasn’t so much his decision to avoid the British Isles, as it was internal politics at the BBC where Attenborough spent most of his career. 

“If there is one thing I regret, and to be honest there isn’t a lot, it would be that I spent so much time doing overseas natural history,” said Attenborough. 

In his early career during the 1950s, Attenborough was prevented from filming in Britain by “a chap trying to establish Bristol as a centre of natural history.” Attenborough was then strongly encouraged to focus on global wildlife, while the Natural History Unit, founded by the BBC in Bristol in 1957, would focus on local wildlife. 

“He knew which strings to pull and I could see things coming to a head,” Attenborough explained. “Eventually, we had a meeting and it was agreed I wouldn’t look at British natural history at all. Instead, I would go to Africa, South America and so on and [they] could deal with natural history in Britain. And I stuck to that until recently.”

The reason he brings this up is because he is releasing a new documentary, Wild Isles, focusing on Britain’s wildlife. It was filmed over the last three years and will be aired on the BBC later this year. 

Five episodes will focus on Britain’s four key habitat types: grassland, woodland, marine, and freshwater. 

Attenborough’s previous statement about the show said, “In my long lifetime, I have travelled to almost every corner of our planet. I can assure you that in the British Isles, as well as astonishing scenery there are extraordinary animal dramas and wildlife spectacles to match anything I have seen on my global travels.” 


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