When it comes to wildlife documentaries, these David Attenborough and Steve Irwin are at opposite ends of the presenting spectrum. Each have their own distinctive methods of engaging their audience but one thing remains clear: both are incredibly passionate about the animal kingdom and have a zest for life and the world in which we live.
So what is it about these two chalk and cheese presenters that have made them such household names in natural history programming? Here’s a quick rundown of each candidate and why they have been such a hit with audiences around the world.
Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin took enthusiasm to the next level. The late TV presenter bounded about our screens with bundles of personality, informing his audience about the dangers of some of the planet’s most ferocious predators with all the enthusiasm of a child in a sweet shop.
During his brief time on screen, Irwin wasn’t averse to taking risks in his job which tragically led to his untimely death in 2006. Often controversial but always entertaining, Irwin was sometimes criticised for ‘provoking’ wildlife. A less cynical person could defend Irwin’s methods and say he was merely teaching us about the limits and unique behaviours of certain creatures in the wild.
Attenborough himself praised Irwin for his excitement and passion for the job, calling him ‘a born communicator’. With this comment coming from one of the most respected and long-serving broadcasters in the field, Irwin’s family certainly have a lot to be proud of. Irwin’s daughter, Bindi, has followed in her late father’s footsteps by continuing his conservation and television work.
Sir David Attenborough need only say a few words in his trusting, instantly recognisable whisper and you know you are in for an enlightening and awe-inspiring journey through nature. In a television career that has spanned an astounding seven decades, Attenborough has delighted audiences of all ages with his discoveries and close encounters from almost every corner of the globe.
From his meeting with Silverback Gorillas in Rwanda to his front row seat to a breaching Blue whale, David Attenborough has experienced more coveted life goals in a single documentary series than most people ever hope to in their lifetime. His recent documentary, Natural History Museum alive, even saw him get up close and personal with extinct species through the power of technology.
Up until his early eighties, Attenborough (now 87) has never let age stand in the way of making ‘hands-on’ nature documentaries – braving all the harsh climates and conditions the world could throw at him. Seeing him in waterproof jackets and high waders became a familiar sight in many of Attenborough’s wildlife series as he endeavoured to get as close as humanly possible to some of the world’s most intriguing sights and sounds.
As the man who reawakened Britain’s love affair with nature, Attenborough will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most likeable and informative broadcasters in television.
There you have it, two very gifted and likeable wildlife presenters – but who is your favourite?
Cameron Walls is a keen nature explorer and blogger. He blogs regularly about wildlife in the UK and abroad and his experiences exploring fascinating places.