by Michael dEstries
Categories: Film/TV
Tags: .

When it comes to nature documentary narration in the United States, Sir David Attenborough continues to get the short end of the stick.

Just like they did with Planet Earth, Discovery Channel has replaced the voice of esteemed film naturalist for their new series LIFE with someone a little more marketable Stateside: Oprah Winfrey.

Last time, it was Sigourney Weaver getting the nod over Attenborough.

Of course, everyone has their preference — and the Oprah selection is a good one — but it’s unfortunate that Attenborough appears to be a BBC-only candidate.

Looks like I’ll be getting the UK Blu-ray version. Again.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Chastity

    Why must we turn to celebrities to get “respect” for topics like these? I like Oprah but at worst, she is wishy washy. You need someone passionate and consistent.

  • Kate

    I grew up watching nature shows with Sir David Attenborough’s narration, they were the only TV we were allowed to watch on weeknights when we were kids. I love his voice, and really wish that they had kept it on both series.

  • Rob

    And considering David has now ‘retired’ it doesn’t seem like you’ll get any future chances. David is the best, do you think Americans take offence at his accent, or maybe they would struggle to understand it at times?

    • Jack

      No…. David is my hero!

      He’s not hard to understand at all, and you guys were right on with the passion thing. He turns Planet Earth and Natures Most Amazing Events into something epic. He will be on the BBC version for sure right??

  • Gavin

    David Attenborough is the James Earl Jones of nature documentaries. It is absolute BS that lousy narrators like Oprah and Sigourny Weaver get crammed down our throats. I’ll be waiting for the BBC release!

  • Joel

    Not sure about Sigourney but Oprah is in my opinion terrible. I first saw the BBC version (thankfully), then watched a Youtube version of the same segment with Oprah. She sounds like she’s talking to a 2 year old. Totally kills it for me. I have, honestly, NO IDEA why they had to replace David’s awesomeness with Oprah’s lame kid voice. Why oh why Discovery, do you really think Americans are that afraid of a British accent? We like Simon don’t we?

  • Charley

    Sir David Attenborough’s amazing, I had to look everywhere for his version. It was sold out everywhere but there were always rack fulls of Oprahs version, maybe they’ll take the hit?

    • Charley


  • kim

    David Attenborough still inspires awe in natural world around us. Without ever being politically pointed, his narration nonetheless manages to convey the finite beauty of life, that may well vanish before our eyes if we do not seek to preserve it. THE choice of Oprah is the dumbing down of public life, as we get so much of, and Americans in particular seem to get subjected to it more than any other peoples.

    Good to see all the comments recognize the stupidity of this!

  • Crystal

    As a poster stated earlier, David Attenborough brought nature programing into my life. I still will sometimes put on a nature series before bed to relax me. Does Oprah need more fame and money? How about someone with an enjoyable voice? I’m sure there is a naturalist out there with the ability to bring their passion to the narration. If not, Kieth David, Clancy Brown, any actor with a voice of velvet. I do appreciate knowing that the British version will have “the real voice of nature”! time to complain to Discovery!

  • Sad

    Whoever made this decision needs help.

  • Sense

    What an appalling decision to have made… I am utterly saddened. Attenborough is the foremost populariser of natural history; an unparalleled teacher of appreciation for the beauty of our planet and its incredible variety of life. His decades of experience and gentle humanity put him in a truly unique position to guide us through the series.

    Oprah is a talk show host. To substitute one for the other is a crime of monumental stupidity, and smacks of ageism and utter cultural solipsism. It is an insult to America to suggest that they need their programs mashed into the intellectual equivalent of baby-food, sweetened with celebrity narration. I can only hope that the insult is unjustified, and some of the responses here give me such hope.