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IBC names Sir David Attenborough winner of International Honor for Excellence

The winner of the IBC2011 International Honor for Excellence is Sir David Attenborough, in recognition of his career in television and natural history, organizers of this year’s IBC gathering have announced.

Attenborough’s career spans almost 60 years, with his Atlantic Productions documentary, “Flying Monsters 3D with Sir David Attenborough,” one of the most acclaimed programs commissioned by Sky 3D.

The International Honor for Excellence is the highest award that IBC bestows. It is presented to individuals and organizations that have taken the best technology available and advanced it to create the finest broadcasting content.

Attenborough joined the BBC in 1952 and immediately found his vocation in natural history programming. He made his name in front of the camera, as well as producing with the “Zoo Quest” expeditions in which he and a small crew set off with a 16mm camera to a remote corner of the globe, intending to return with a rare animal for London Zoo and sufficient footage to create a television series.

In the mid 1960s, Attenborough temporarily pulled back from making programs when he was appointed the controller of the newly launched channel BBC2. Among the programs he commissioned was “Monty Python's Flying Circus” — about as far from natural history as it is possible to imagine. But the natural world was too big a draw, and he returned to finding new ways of presenting its wonders on television. The 1979 landmark series “Life on Earth” and its sequence with mountain gorillas became one of the most watched programs of all time.

"Sir David Attenborough has been called 'the greatest broadcaster of our time,' and throughout his career he has seized upon the latest developments in technology to illuminate natural history," said Peter Owen, chairman of the IBC Council. "Working with the BBC Natural History Unit, he pioneered time-lapse sequences in ‘The Private Life of Plants’ and low-light and infrared cameras to capture the behavior of nocturnal mammals. Today he is working with Atlantic Productions on stunning 3-D programs, including ‘Flying Monsters,’ the first 3-D program to win a BAFTA Award."

The IBC Awards Ceremony, which will include a special tribute to Attenborough and a look at the latest stereoscopic 3-D wildlife programs presented by Atlantic Productions, is on Sunday, Sept. 11.