Wildlife Television, Empathy and the End of the British Empire

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


In Zoo Quest for a Dragon, the BBC crew worked in the field on its own, without the support of the Zoological Society of London. This chapter examines this series’ contribution to the construction of the public persona of David Attenborough as a trustworthy zoological expert. The chapter makes the case that this third Zoo Quest series and the other travel-based wildlife TV programmes it inspired, notably the Travellers’ Tales series and Gerald Durrell’s programmes, put forward empathy with wildlife as the main evidence of expertise for the wildlife broadcaster. Considered in the context of the unravelling of the British Empire, these series promoting empathy as a source of knowledge of wild animals are interpreted as relocating the British imperial project in nature programmes made for television.


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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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