David Attenborough’s debut on Instagram last week landed him the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to reach 1 million followers. It only took the prolific broadcaster and naturalist 4 hours and 44 minutes to obliterate the record, previously held by Jennifer Aniston. Since then, his followers have more than quadrupled.
Aniston set the previous Instagram record in October 2019, gathering a million followers 5 hours and 16 minutes after her debut. David Beckham, Pope Francis, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have also held the title in the past. But none of them have commanded the world’s attention for as long as Attenborough has in his nearly seven-decade career.
“I’m making this move and exploring this new way of communication to me because, as we all know, the world is in trouble,” 94-year-old Attenborough said in his first-ever Instagram video. “Continents are on fire. Glaciers are melting. Coral reefs are dying. Fish are disappearing from our oceans. The list goes on.”
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David Attenborough has spent a lifetime travelling, exploring the wild places of our planet and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. He’s also witnessed the damaged caused. Saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will. That’s why we want to share this message on Instagram. Because there is hope and together, we can inspire change. Social media isn’t David’s usual habitat so while he’s recorded messages solely for Instagram, like the one in this post, we're helping to run this account. In case you’re wondering, ‘we’ are Jonnie and Colin and we worked with David on A Life On Our Planet. So, as well as sharing the messages he’s recorded especially for this account we’ll also post some exclusive clips and behind the scenes content. Stay tuned.
He plans to use the platform to tackle these environmental crises and share potential solutions. Reaching a younger audience, he told the BBC yesterday, gives him “great hope.” “I feel privileged that they should listen to what an old bloke like me is talking about,” Attenborough told the BBC.
There’s more on the way from Attenborough, who has a documentary called A Life on Our Planet that debuts on Netflix on October 4th. In the documentary, Attenborough recalls the natural wonders he’s documented over his career, the destruction he’s witnessed at the hands of humans, and what can be done to repair the damage.
“Human beings have overrun the world. This film is my witness statement and my vision for the future,” he says in the documentary trailer.
Planet Earth, which debuted in 2006 with Attenborough narrating, still holds the Guinness World Record for the most in-demand documentary TV show. Attenborough holds two more Guinness records for the longest career as a TV presenter and the longest career as a TV naturalist.