Sir David Paradine Frost, OBE was an English journalist, comedian, writer, media personality and television host. After graduating from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Frost rose to prominence in the UK when he was chosen to host the satirical programme That Was the Week That Was in 1962. His success on this show led to work as a host on US television. He became known for his television interviews with senior political figures, among them The Nixon Interviews with former United States President Richard Nixon in 1977, which were adapted into a stage play and film. Frost was one of the "Famous Five" who were behind the launch of ITV breakfast station TV-am in 1983. For the BBC, he hosted the Sunday morning interview programme Breakfast with Frost from 1993 to 2005. He spent two decades as host of Through the Keyhole. From 2006 to 2012 he hosted the weekly programme Frost Over the World on Al Jazeera English and from 2012, the weekly programme The Frost Interview. Frost died on 31 August 2013, aged 74, on board the cruise ship MS Queen Elizabeth, on which he had been engaged as a speaker.
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Hello reddit. David Attenborough here. To help avoid immediate confusion, and so that I can answer as many questions as possible, Philly Harper will be helping me with typing.
However, please rest assured that these answers will be in my own words. We will get a picture up soon.
So as many of you in the UK already know, my latest film, Natural History Museum Alive came out on New Years Day in the UK. I heard about the AMA request and wanted to take this opportunity to stop by and talk with all of you.
I’ve just come away from a talk at Apple where we spoke about the app, and soon I shall be doing a Q&A at the Baftas, where I will be talking about my latest work in 3D.
Please, ask away.
We’re here for about 1 hour.
--- UPDATE 1 ----
Phillyharper here. We tried to answer as many questions as we possibly could in our hour. I know that many of you have even more burning questions to ask Sir David, so please do keep them coming and if there's one top voted thing you'd love to hear David answer, I'll endeavor to get it to him and have it answered.
--- UPDATE 2 ---
To /u/shitty_watercolour ! Thanks! We will frame your picture and give it to Sir David! That's amazing! Thank you!
---UPDATE 3 ----
---UPDATE 4 ---
Someone somewhere won a DVD somehow. Please do PM us.
People have asked about the App, you can get it here. The website for the Natural History Alive film is here If you want to get updates on the latest work that Sir David Attenborough is doing and upcoming movie release dates, follow us on twitter
Doing our best to get Unidan's question to Sir David Attenborough.
Here are the 3D films which were being discussed.
Thanks for coming by, Sir Attenborough!
I was able to briefly meet you recently at the American Museum of Natural History after your bird of paradise talk, so thank you again for that. As a biologist, meeting you was a huge moment for me, as you're one of my biggest inspirations!
Anyway, when you were retracing Wallace's steps with the birds of paradise, were there any memorable moments that resonated between your trips and his? Was there anything about the account of his journey that doing it yourself made you appreciate more?
Also, have David check out /r/awwducational if he can, it'd be right up his alley! :D
Thanks for your question.
Only one short moment sailing a native craft completely out of touch with anyone except our local companion. Something Wallace endured for months at a time.
Thought you might also be interested in this short film showing how we are trying to capture the natural world in 3D!
First of all, I want to give you a sincere 'thank you' for showing me incredible scenes from the world I live in that I never would have seen otherwise.
Okay, here's my question: In all your time of shooting nature programs, what is the most human thing you have ever witnessed an animal do?
A chimpanzee does in fact tell lies. If you can believe that. Also, when some Colobus monkeys find a very precious piece of food, it calls the alarm call that it would make if a snake were to arrive, and all the other monkeys run away and it gets the food.
I can't think of anything to ask you, I feel you've already answered everything I'd want to know.
Thank you so much for your work!
Well thank you! We'll put a DVD to you in the post if you send us a PM
Sir David, What are your views on the thought that we are currently entering a 'sixth mass extinction'? Do you think it is possible humans can reverse some of the damage that has already been done?
Thank-you so much for everything!
Yes, I'm afraid we are. It's not possible to reverse the damage we've done. We are undoubtedly exterminating species at a speed which has never been known before.
Hello, Sir David!
I remember feeling absolutely heartbroken watching the elephant calf die in Africa. What has been your most distressing/upsetting moment in your career?
Seeing chimpanzees kill monkeys, they do this to eat them. They chase them, set an ambush, catch them, and tear them apart.
Thanks for your amazing work all of the years. Your voice is synonymous with naturalism documentary.
If you could deliver just one message to the generation that's currently growing up, anything at all, what would you focus on?
Cherish the natural world, because you're a part of it and you depend on it.
Hello! What are your thoughts on guinea pigs? Lumpy morons or devious geniuses?
I never think about guinea pigs!
Simple question: what's next for you?
We're working on the evolution of flight, exploring 350 million years of flight. Here's a sneaky picture.
EDIT - the sneaky picture emerges.
Hi Sir David,
Can I just say you have provided me with so much joy and entertainment, learning about nature is so beautiful to me.
My question is: Do you belieive it is ok to keep animals in captivity? Are there circumstances when animals should be taken from their natural habitat? I ask beause I have morally struggled with the concept of zoo's for most of my life.
There are some animals which have been kept happily in captivity, most of them are very small with small requirements. Big animals, unfortunately can't be kept in captivity satisfactorily- predators most of all.
Hi Sir David!
Other than The Origin of Species which book do you think changed the scientific world most?
Probably in recent times, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.
Hi Sir David, Thanks for doing the AMA, I have a few questions for you:
You can't take sides. If you interfered you would cause more deaths not less.
I hope there is nothing I won't see again, the beauty of the natural world is that it repeats itself.
Sir David, what is the biggest change in wildlife documentaries over the years?
How has better technology, better cameras, higher definiton televisions and super slow-mo helped? What is next?
Thanks, I have so much respect for you.
There has been a whole series of technical problems. From filming at low light levels to filming in time-lapse, to filming at macro levels. And most recently in 3D. Most of the visual problems have now been solved. But that still leaves one big problem: how to make a good programme!
Sir David, what kind of shampoo and conditioner would I have to buy to keep my hair looking as good as yours for when I'm older?
Ill sell you a wig.
Sir David, what organisations should everybody be aware of that help protect the natural world?
The Worldwide Fund for Nature
Sir David, you've been to many exotic locations, but whereabouts nearer home, in the UK, do you find most fascinating, in terms of wildlife/ecology? Thanks!
The inter-tidal zones of the United Kingdom are wonderful.
Hello there Sir David!
In regards to nature and the environment, what changes would you like to see brought into effect within a decade from now?
Thank you for all of your hard work :)
People should realise that waste of anything is something that we cannot afford in this overcrowded world.
Thank you for doing this ama!
You once told a story of how you met a group of oncoming cannibals with a handshake and a “good afternoon!” Do you have any other amazing stories of encountering a group of people that may have never seen a film crew or even people from the outside world? If so – did your charm win them over as well?
We met such a group in central new guinea and failed to win them over. After several days, we tried to win them over with presents, gifts and so on, but they simply disappeared into the forest. We never saw them again.
Sir David, thank you for talking to us. I will only have one chance to ask you this but what is your favourite biscuit?
I wouldn't want to let you down if you ever came over for tea. Thank you for bringing the natural world into everyone's homes.
Welcome to reddit!
What's one natural phenomenon that you still cannot believe is real, despite you knowing the science behind it?
The way a venus flower basket sponge puts together its skeleton.
I just want to say that you are a huge inspiration to me and I've seen all your work. Please, keep inspiring the next generation. We need more people like you in this world. Also, what was the scariest moment working with birds?
Being charged by a cassowary
If you could bring just one animal back from extinction, what would it be and why?
Quetzal Coatlus- a giant pterosaur.
Oh wow Sir Attenborough, welcome.
I have a few questions just because I will never again have this opportunity.
-Where is the one place in the world you would suggest going?
-What is your favourite animal?
-Who inspired you to become a Documentary maker? Are there any documentaries you could suggest I watch from them?
Thankyou for everything you have shown me :)
I don't think I was inspired by a film makers, but great naturalists. One that people may not have heard of is Ernest Thompson Seton, and his books inspired me greatly as a boy.
It was published in 1910.
Hi Sir David,
Wildlife Biologist here, I have to say that your documentaries have inspired me to become a naturalist from a young age. I specialize on the San Francisco Garter Snake and other threatened California hepetofauna.
I was wondering, what is your favorite reptile/amphibian?
What led you to your path as a naturalist?
What do you like to do in your free time?
Thanks for doing this, you're a huge inspiration!
My favourite amphibian is the poison tree frog, because it has very interesting mating behaviour, there are a whole group of them, perhaps 30 different species.
As for my free time, I spend a lot of it sleeping.
Random question time!
What is your favourite thing about Britain? And what do you think of Scotland?
Coming from a Glaswegian.
Our tolerance is the best thing about Great Britain!
Hello Sir David,
Which overlooked animals do you think should the public should be made more aware of because of what they are like, and which should be made more aware of due to their endangerment?
The invertebrates are utterly overlooked, people rarely even notice them. That's why I chose to make the film micromonsters, which brings you into that world.
Sir David... Where is one place you have never been to, but always wanted to visit?
The central Gobe desert, I've always wanted to visit there because they have fascinating fossils there.
At what point in your life did you think that this was what you wanted to do?
There was no television when I was a boy, but I wanted to become involved in the natural world somehow, so I was interested from a very young age.
Hello Sir David, such a regular in our household growing up!
I wanted to ask what course you think all life on this planet will take eventually? Do you see us surviving long?
We have many millions of years to go if we are to match the longevity of many species. Yes, I think we will get there, but perhaps our civilisation may actually become impoverished.
Hi David. I remember watching your programmes every Sunday night with my parents. You have been a huge influence on mine and many others' lives.
What do you think about natural history programmes imposing narratives on situations, or editing footage in such a way to give a similar effect?
There are many ways of making natural history programs and if one illuminates about some truth about animal life, then it is certainly worth making. As long as we can illuminate the truth about the animal life...