Showcasing Science, Showcasing Nature on BBC2

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


The launch of BBC2 in 1964 led to profound changes in wildlife television. The new channel was designed to increase the broadcasting of knowledge-based content. This brief gave free rein to David Attenborough, as controller of the new channel, to establish new programme formats and content. Under Attenborough’s aegis, the Life series fronted by Desmond Morris brought wildlife television and ethology close together in a new, ‘professional’ approach to natural history. The series The World About Us instated the fifty-minute, film-only format as the default for wildlife television. By the end of the 1960s, wildlife broadcasters at the BBC had succeeded in establishing a professional culture of wildlife television making, distinct from both amateur natural history and big game hunting—one informed by science.


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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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