A night to remember
What a night it was...a packed speech room at Harrow school, 500+ eager listeners, and the two people who have arguably done more for natural history broadcasting in the past 30 years than anyone else in the world.
Sir David Attenborough needs little introduction, his voice so familiar, it seems we have been listening to his quiet, eloquent, authoritative tones for our entire lives. For many in the audience (zoology and vet students, zookeepers and directors, filmmakers) he is part of the reason why we chose our career paths. For the remainder, he is the man who brings the wild into our living rooms, reminding us why the Earth, and its inhabitants in all their peculiar, fascinating glory, is so wonderful.
Alastair Fothergill is the man behind the camera, the producer of so many of Sir David’s most celebrated programmes, including The Trials of Life, Planet Earth 1, The Blue Planet, Frozen Planet and most recently, The Hunt. For many years he headed up the BBC Natural History Unit, before stepping down to concentrate on producing again. Their working partnership has spanned 30 years and still enthrals the 100’s of millions of viewers worldwide, who look to the most trusted broadcaster on Earth for knowledge and wonder about animals and plants.
Sir David and Alastair regaled the audience with stories of how they made some of the most memorable wildlife scenes; from Sir David gamely stepping close to a bull elephant seal, to the secrets of how they followed hunting dogs across the plains of Africa as they wear down their wildebeest prey. The pair could have spoken all night and we would have gladly stayed, but at the end of their talk I had the opportunity to remind everyone that we need to do more to protect our natural world. We know that when given time and resources conservation works and that is exactly what Durrell has been doing for more than 50 years.
After the presentation we had a wonderful dinner with Sir David and Alastair in the Harrow dining room, joined by more than 80 guests, including Milo Parker, star of ITV Drama ‘The Durrells’ and an ambassador for Durrell. An auction, including some fabulous books, signed by Sir David and Alastair, and photographs of Sir David with Gerald Durrell, signed by Sir David, proved to be very tempting for our enthusiastic guests. Bidders could also visit the set of ‘The Durrells’ in Corfu during filming in 2017.
We would like to extend a huge thanks to everybody who made the event so successful, including all the people who bought tickets to come to Harrow on a chilly night, purchased Durrell merchandise, the dinner guests and those who secured auction lots. Thank you for your generosity. The Society of Vintners provided the wine for the reception before the talks, ensuring a cheery and festive start to the evening. Thank you for such a welcome donation. Heartfelt thanks to Harrow School, whose generosity was outstanding in providing the venue and being such wonderful hosts, in particular Mark Ridgway, Housemaster. And of course to Sir David and Alastair, outstanding ambassadors for our planet, long may you continue to fill us with wonder and love for the natural world.
Posted 7 December 2016