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BBC raced to start colour TV three weeks before Germany, reveals Attenborough

Published 08/12/2015

Sir David Attenborough told how he ensured the British got colour TV in 1967 ahead of Germany
Sir David Attenborough told how he ensured the British got colour TV in 1967 ahead of Germany

Sir David Attenborough said he "owed it to the British people" to introduce colour television in 1967 ahead of Germany.

At the time he was the controller of BBC2, and Britain became the first country in Europe to "offer regular programming in colour."

He told the Christmas issue of Radio Times: " Well, it seemed to me I owed it to the British people to do that. I'm a BBC man through and through.

"The BBC was the first broadcasting organisation in the world, so, when I heard that the Germans were going to introduce colour television, I said: hang on, we can't have that.

"And we got on the air three weeks before them. It was fairly childish, but it made me laugh."

Last week the TV veteran also spoke ahead of his latest documentary about the Great Barrier Reef, which sees him travel deep underwater to see the coral phenomenon - a place he first visited in 1957.

Sir David, who turns 90 next year, also reflected on new technology and his future adventures.

He said: "I t is an extraordinary period in natural history filmmaking, that there is now almost nothing that I can think of that we can't do. It is unbelievable, bearing in mind I started 50/60 years ago.

"The world is totally changed. Now you can go anywhere. Up and down. You can go to the bottom of the sea. You can go into the stratosphere. You can film in the darkness, you can film in the sun, you can slow things down, you can speed things up, you can film things the human eye can't see."

Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough will air at 9pm on December 30 on BBC One.

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