The public poll by the company that runs the national lottery in the UK found that Attenborough beat Stephen Fry (2nd) and Sean Connery (3rd) for first place.
Attenborough, aged 85, is a British broadcasting legend who has become the face and voice of natural history programmes throughout the English-speaking world. His most recent series The Frozen Planet is currently being shown, to high acclaim, on BBC1. His brother, Lord Richard Attenborough also made the list.
"People like animals, they care for the natural world...for those reasons, they are sympathetic towards me. It's no more than that."It's not the first time the presenter has been labelled a 'national treasure' and it's not something that sits well on his shoulders.
"You needn't bother with that" he told one reporter who mentioned the phrase back in 2009. "People like animals, they care for the natural world, they don't like industrial pollution. So, for those reasons, they are sympathetic towards me. It's no more than that."
The full list of British 'national treasures' is:
Sir David Attenborough
Sir Sean Connery
Sir Paul McCartney
Prof. Stephen Hawking
Sir Bobby Charlton
Dame Judi Dench
Sir Tom Jones
Lord Richard Attenborough