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Nature's Narrators

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

January 4, 2012

Comments (5)

Rufous Hummingbird feeding on a purple Butterfly BushAre you fan of nature programs that zoom in on the lives of wild animals?

Who among us hasn't been drawn in by the warm, authoritative tones of Sir David Attenborough or James Earl Jones like a child sitting on their grandfather's knee listening to a story?

Join me in today's VOX Daily as we discuss the voices who've narrated the wonders of the world.

Weaving Words in a Wonderful World

This past week our family has been watching a lot of material narrated by Sir David Frederick Attenborough, namely a six-disc collector's set from BBC called "Life." David Attenborough's is a voice that you can hear narrating thoughts about the world around you even when he's not speaking. Now that's mental real estate!

Attenborough (b. 1926), British broadcaster and naturalist, has been writing and presenting natural history programming on BBC for over 50 years. To say that he has the market cornered in this area is an understatement.

Derek Chappell blogged about Sir David Attenborough and his ability to paint words in a recent blog post which in turn got my wheels turning to share some thoughts with you.

Other great narrators where nature is concerned are James Earl Jones (b. 1931) and Morgan Freeman (b. 1937). The work Jones did on Disney's Earth (2009) was absolutely majestic. Other celebrity narrators in this niche include, but are not limited to, Sigourney Weaver who narrated the Discovery Channel's "Planet Earth" series and Pierce Brosnan who narrated Discovery Channel's series, "Blue Planet."

Masterpiece Theatre

Scenes depicting life in the wild remind us of what a wonderful and dangerous world we live in. Brave souls behind the camera sacrifice life and limb to bring us moving images that tell stories of incomparable beauty and awe without compromising the integrity of what they are filming.

Waiting for the perfect shot for days on end, stretching milliseconds into tangible moments and spectacular time lapse sequences give us more than just a glimpse into the miracle we call life. This art form takes patience, skill and passion. A storyteller's respect for nature and their love projected through the lens of the camera affords viewers a greater appreciation and understanding of the world around us.

One of my favourite quotes comes from Dr. Vance Havner, who observed, "God made the country and man made the town - and you certainly can see the difference."

The imagery itself presented in documentaries about the natural world speaks volumes. Well-crafted narrative and spoken word storytelling serves as icing on the cake, but what a lovely icing it is!

Who Is Your Favourite Nature Series Narrator?

If you have a favourite narrator regarding nature documentaries and series, I'd love to hear from you! Also, if you have narrated similar material, be sure to share what you've worked on and what about it most appealed to you.

Best wishes,


©iStockphoto.com/Frank Leung

Related Topics: Brave, Celebrity, child, Disney, Morgan Freeman


    I enjoy each of the narrators you've mentioned, Stephanie. What they all seem to do well is let the camera do the talking. Their minimalism brings just enough personality to the mic to accentuate the images on screen. A gentle but necessary element indeed.

    Posted by:

      It's thrilling to see "our" David Attenborough so praised! He's our British national treasure for sure, though this most modest of men would demurr. And more than a fine narrator, just see how he engages on location: quietly sharing a banana with a chimp, marvelling at a delicate insect on his thumb. You are there with him, entranced.

      Posted by:

        I could listen to either Sigourney Weaver (planet earth), or Prof. Brian Cox (wonders of the solar system/universe) over and over and over and I do.

        Posted by:
        • Joseph Loewinsohn
        • January 20, 2012 1:28 PM

          F. Murray Abraham is excellent on the series NATURE. David Attenborough is unmistakable.

          Posted by:
          • Ted Bradford
          • January 20, 2012 1:29 PM

            Ohhhh. I do love planet earth.

            Posted by:
            • Jay Preston
            • January 20, 2012 1:29 PM

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