The Untold Truth Of David Attenborough
According to the Guardian, David Attenborough’s tenure as controller of BBC Two wasn’t just a success — it was a groundbreaking period in television. He championed the “sledgehammer” style of documentary, audience participation, new sports, and experimental programming. Attenborough himself couldn’t resist sharing his pride in a 1965 interview. “I watch everything,” he told the Daily Express. “Straight home from the office — switch to BBC Two — see all my babies.”
Not every decision Attenborough made as controller showed prescience for the future of television, however. According to Radio Times, Attenborough received a letter from a 27-year-old Irish broadcaster in 1965. Having enjoyed success in his own country on television and radio, the young man wanted to make inroads into Britain, and asked after any vacancies at BBC Two. Attenborough replied that there were no openings and that, should one appear, he would most likely seek someone from another part of the British isles, as one of his chief announcers was from Dublin already.
The young man Attenborough turned down was Terry Wogan, who went on to become one of Britain’s most beloved broadcasters through his work with the BBC in radio and his TV chat show “Wogan.” Reminded of the incident by Radio Times (via the Irish Independent), Attenborough pleaded ignorance. “Good Lord! He wrote asking me for work? I don’t remember this at all.”