Sir David Attenborough Joins Instagram and Breaks World Record for Fastest Follower Gains

Sir David Attenborough Netflix film

Sir David Attenborough in his upcoming film “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet”, produced by the World Wide Fund for Nature and Silverback Films. (Photo: screenshot from trailer via Netflix)

On September 24, British naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough joined Instagram. In just four hours and 44 minutes, the beloved historian amassed one million followers of his account and, in the process, set a new Guinness World Record. The BBC legend's first post on the platform—a video addressing climate change—has over 17.2 million views. In the video, Attenborough explains that he joined the platform because “the world is in trouble.” But his new account also sends a message of hope based in the power of communication, community, and the activism of youth.

Attenborough's first post states, “Saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will.” In this call to action, he stresses the importance of global youth taking the lead in climate discussions. Speaking to BBC Breakfast about communication strategies and youth voices, Attenborough shared the optimism he draws from his new Instagram following of 4.9 million. He commented, “I feel privileged that they should listen to what an old bloke like me is talking about.”

While it may seem odd that a 94-year-old knighted Brit broke an Instagram record, Attenborough's celebrity has rapidly spread in the past decade through his work with the BBC and Netflix. Netflix's Our Planet debuted to an enthusiastic reception last year. The series capitalized on the tremendous success of BBC 1's Planet Earth series, which aired in 2006, with a second series in 2016. All three projects were narrated by Attenborough and established his fame among a younger global audience. To cap off his status as a living film legend, this fall the naturalist collected his third Emmy award for his narration in the BBC America documentary Seven Worlds, One Planet.

Scroll down to view Sir David Attenborough's debut Instagram post and learn more about his upcoming film David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet which will arrive on Netflix on October 4, 2020.

94-year-old naturalist Sir David Attenborough joined Instagram and set a Guinness World Record by accumulating one million followers in under five hours.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by A Life On Our Planet (@davidattenborough) on

Attenborough's first post (a video) emphasizes the urgency of the climate crisis, but it also conveys a message of hope in the power of communication, community, and youth activism.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by A Life On Our Planet (@davidattenborough) on

Over a career of many decades, Attenborough has become a world famous (and Emmy Award-winning) nature filmmaker and narrator.

Vintage Footage BBC

Vintage footage of Attenborough in his upcoming film “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet.” (Photo: screenshot from trailer via Netflix)

Watch the trailer for Attenborough's new film David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, out on Netflix on October 4, 2020.

Sir David Attenborough: Instagram | BBC
h/t: [Mashable, RadioTimes]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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