Life On Earth celebrates its 40th anniversary in January 2019. The first episode aired on the 16th January 1979 and marked the beginning of Sir David Attenborough’s groundbreaking Life series. To mark the occasion, a new edition will be published in October 2018 by William Collins. David Attenborough has revisited the text, taken into account new scientific discoveries, and chosen an entirely new set of images. We are incredibly proud to have made a major contribution to this lavishly illustrated landmark publication, which tells in such an enthralling way the story of the development of life on earth.
Having grown up in the UAE, I hadn’t heard of David Attenborough until I moved to the UK in 1998. Being unfamiliar with the ways and genius of British television, I wasn’t aware of the programmes until The Life of Mammals aired in 2002. Even then, it wasn’t until I worked on the picture research for Life in the Undergrowth in 2004 did I really start paying attention.
It was exciting to work on this new, updated edition. The picture research took 6 weeks, give or take, which is not long to work with considering that nearly each of the 198 pages over 13 chapters had to be illustrated by pictures. In addition, David Attenborough’s text is full of colourful descriptions and diverse examples to explain the stages of the plants and animals’ evolution physically and in their behaviour – this made it both a challenge to find the correct species and a joy to find that he would have so many pictures to choose from. We ended up with 110 pictures in the book – hurrah!