Sir David Attenborough receives award for outstanding contribution to broadcasting

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Sir David Attenborough, known for his "memorable romps with gorillas", has been presented with an award by the Duke of Cambridge for his outstanding contribution to broadcasting.

William gave the veteran presenter the royal seal of approval as he handed him the London Evening Standard Beyond Theatre Award, which recognises excellence away from the traditional platform of live performance.

The Duke took to the stage at the Old Vic Theatre in London and told the room packed full of famous faces: "The recipient of this award is a man who has shaped the culture of this country and the way we look at the world.

"Back in the 1950s he revolutionised the making of natural history programmes for television, beginning a long and happy association with the BBC's natural history unit."

He added: "But he is best known as a presenter of nature documentaries and as a conservationist, whose memorable romps with gorillas go hand in hand with a deep concern for the natural world."

Sir David Attenborough.
Sir David Attenborough (John Stillwell/PA)

Following a short film featuring clips of his many achievements over a lengthy career, as Sir David left his table to walk over to the stage he received a standing ovation and cheers from the throngs of A-listers and theatre greats.

"In recent years it has become the fashion to do the last minutes of a wildlife show by showing how the programmes are made - and not before time," Sir David said in his acceptance speech.

"Because at last you can see the credit for those kind of programmes, among not the people who put their faces in front of the camera, or indeed behind it, but the people who actually wield the cameras."

Sir David finished his speech by dedicating his award to those professionals and colleagues.

Arriving at the venue William was greeted by Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev, who also escorted the Duke up the red carpet, with Sally Greene the managing director of the Old Vic and artistic director Matthew Warchus.

In the lobby of the building William could be seen stroking Mr Lebedev's Borzoi, a Russian wolfhound type-dog called Vladimir.

The Duke enjoyed a three-course dinner of beetroot and goat's cheese starter, fillet of beef and a selection of chocolate truffles, before the awards.

Established in 1955, the Evening Standard Theatre Awards recognise outstanding achievement in London-based theatre, from actors to playwrights, designers to directors. This year's ceremony was presented by Rob Brydon, and celebrity guests included Dame Joan Collins, Sir Elton John, John Malkovich, Liz Hurley, James McAvoy, Dame Maggie Smith, Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Debicki.