David Attenborough: The Early Years—Fashioning Zoological Expertise On-Screen

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


This chapter first examines how David Attenborough participated early on in shaping the practical aspects of creating wildlife television. His early programme work, notably The Coelacanth (1953) and Animal Patterns (1953), contributed to creating a professional culture of television making, distinct from that of radio broadcasting and cinema. These two programmes placed the emphasis on television’s ability to show things and tell a story visually. The chapter then turns to the first two Zoo Quest series, Zoo Quest to Sierra Leone (1954) and Zoo Quest to British Guiana (1955), to discuss their contribution to establishing Attenborough’s reputation as a successful programme maker within the BBC, and as a figure of zoological expertise whom audiences found trustworthy.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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