Advertisement

Live from Alexandra Palace, Wildlife Comes to Television

  • Jean-Baptiste GouyonEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Science and Popular Culture book series (PSSPC)

Abstract

This chapter provides a rapid overview of British wildlife television before World War Two, focusing on a programme about the making of the film series Secrets of Life (1934–1950) to introduce the notion that wildlife television is as much about television as it is about wildlife. The chapter then examines Peter Scott’s programmes produced by the BBC in Bristol, which led to the flagship series Look, and Michaela and Armand Denis’s series of films shot in Africa. These two approaches to wildlife television contrast with each other in their aims, one geared toward edification, the other toward entertainment. They are discussed in the light of the cultural repertoire of origin, amateur natural history and imperial big game hunting. Both relied on the construction of their front figures as personalities with audience appeal.

References

  1. Attenborough, D. (2010). Life on air: Memoirs of a broadcaster. London: Random House.Google Scholar
  2. Bennett, J. (2011). Television personalities: Stardom and the small screen. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Bensaude-Vincent, B., & Drouin, J.-M. (1996). Nature for the people. In N. Jardine, et al. (Eds.), Cultures of natural history (pp. 408–425). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bleichmar, D. (2012). Visible empire: Botanical expeditions and visual culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Boon, T. (2008). Films of facts. London, New York: Wallflower press.Google Scholar
  6. Browne, J. (1996). ‘Biogeography and empire’. In N. Jardine, et al. (Eds.), Cultures of natural history (pp. 305–321). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Burkhardt, R. W. (2005). Patterns of behavior: Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and the founding of ethology. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Burrow, M. (2013). The imperial Souvenir: Things and Masculinities in H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines and Allan Quatermain. Journal of Victorian Culture, 18(1), 72–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davies, G. (2000). Science, observation and entertainment: Competing visions of postwar British natural history television, 1946–1967. Ecumene, 7(4), 432–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Denis, A. (1966). On safari. London: Fontana Books (first published 1963).Google Scholar
  11. Fyfe, A., & Lightman, B. (Eds.). (2007). Science in the marketplace: Nineteenth-century sites and experiences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Gouyon, J.-B. (2011). The BBC natural history unit: Instituting natural history film-making in Britain. History of Science, 49(4), 425–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Guida, M. (2018). Ludwig Koch’s birdsong on wartime BBC radio: Knowledge, citizenship and solace. In F. James, R. Bud, M. Shiach, & P. Greenhalgh (Eds.), Being modern: The cultural impact of science in the early twentieth century (pp. 293–310). London: UCL Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hawkins, D. (Ed.). (1957). The BBC naturalist. London: Rathbone Books.Google Scholar
  15. Huxley, J. (Ed.). (1961). The humanist frame. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  16. Lewis, J. (Ed.). (2007). Starlight days: The memoirs of Cecil Madden. London: Trevor Square Publications.Google Scholar
  17. Long, P. O. (2002). Objects of art/Objects of nature. In H. Smith & P. Findlen (Eds.), Merchants and marvels (pp. 63–82). New York, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. McLuhan, M. (1964). The medium is the message. In M. McLuhan (Ed.), Understanding media: The extensions of man (pp. 23–35). New York: Signet.Google Scholar
  19. Mitman, G. (1999). Reel nature: America’s romance with wildlife on film. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Rider Haggard, H. (1885). King Solomon’s mines. London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  21. Ritvo, H. (1987). The animal estate: The English and other creatures in the Victorian age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Sandbrook, D. (2005). Never had it so good: A history of Britain from Suez to the Beatles. London: Little Brown.Google Scholar
  23. Scott, J. P. (1950). Methodology and techniques for the study of animal societies. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 51, 1001–1122.Google Scholar
  24. Scott, P. (1966). The eye of the wind. London: Hodder and Stoughton.Google Scholar
  25. Shackleton, K. (1989, August 31). Great gifts and testing inheritance. The Guardian, p. 39.Google Scholar
  26. Shapin, S. (1988). The house of experiment in seventeenth-century England. Isis, 79(3), 373–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Shapin, S. (1994). A social history of truth. Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shapin, S., & Schaffer, S. (1985). Leviathan and the air-pump. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Sielmann, H. (1959). My year with the woodpeckers. London: Barrie and Rockliff.Google Scholar
  30. Swallow, N. (1966). Factual television. New York: Hasting House.Google Scholar
  31. Yeates, G. K. (1957). The bird-photographer. In D. Hawkins (Ed.), The BBC naturalist (pp. 17–20). London: Rathbone Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Science and Technology StudiesUniversity College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations