Channel 4 are to air a special tribute to the life of actor, director and producer Richard Attenbourough, who died earlier this week at the age of 90. 

Richard Attenborough: A Life will air tonight (26th August) at 7pm. It will see friends and colleagues including Steven Spielberg, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Penelope Wilton, Hayley Mills and Sir Kenneth Branagh reflect on their memories of working with Lord Attenborough during a career that spanned six decades.Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, arts broadcaster Melvyn Bragg and former Channel 4 chief executive Michael Grade also offer words of praise.

The show will also feature a wealth of archive footage from many of his great films including Brighton Rock, 10 Rillington Place, Gandhi, Cry Freedom and Shadowlands. 

Attenborough, whose younger brother was the nature broadcaster and former BBC executive David Attenborough, died at lunchtime on Sunday. The cause of his death is unclear but last year his family said that Attenborough had never fully recovered from a stroke he suffered five years ago, which left him in a coma for several days.

A much-loved figure in British film, Attenborough started his professional life as an actor with leading roles in films such as Brighton Rock and The Great Escape before forging a career as a film director. 

His directorial debut was the 1969 anti-war musical Oh! What A Lovely War but his career highlight behind the camera was probably the 1983 film Gandhi which won eight Oscars including the statuette for best picture and best director. He also made a memorable appearance in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park as dinosaur park developer John Hammond.

Prime Minister David Cameron was one of the first people to pay tribute to Lord Attenborough, saying in a statement: “His acting in Brighton Rock was brilliant, his directing of Gandhi was stunning - Richard Attenborough was one of the greats of cinema.”

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry said the organisation was "deeply saddened" by his death, adding: "Lord Attenborough occupies a special place in the hearts of so many and will be missed enormously."

Richard Attenborough: A Life will take the place of a 6.50pm episode of Couples Come Dine with Me.