People of all ages who appreciate and enjoy learning about nature and wildlife will know (and no doubt adore) Sir David Attenborough, and now the BBC has announced that Sir David’s early natural history documentaries are going to be aired in colour in a world first, to celebrate the 90th birthday of the amazing broadcaster himself.

A black and white image of Sir David Attenborough stroking a parrot near Quality Unearthed

The films, which were originally produced some 6 decades ago in the 1950s, – called Zoo Quest – was first shown in black and white. However, when footage was unearthed by the BBC Natural History Unit in 2015, it was discovered to have been shot in colour, with Sir David proclaimed he was “astonished” at the finding.

 

Made using footage from the initial three episodes, the special programme will include some of the best highlights and footage from Zoo Quest trips to South America and Western Africa. Additionally, there will be the best scenes from Zoo Quest for a Dragon, in which a komodo dragon was filmed in the wild for the first time ever.

 

Zoo Quest aired for just short of a decade (nine years) from 1954 and was seen as ground-breaking as it offered viewers never-before-filmed scenes of wildlife from around the world, into British homes.

 

When discussing the footage being in colour, Sir David said: “I was astonished when someone said we’ve got nearly all the film of the first three expeditions you did in colour. I said, ‘it’s impossible, we shot in black and white’.”

 

Charles Lagus, Sir David’s cameraman during the time these films were shot said he was also surprised by the newly-discovered 16mm film, saying: “At its best it’s as good as any colour you see now, quite staggering for the period that it was filmed in”.

 

You can watch Zoo Quest In Colour when it airs on BBC Four on 11 May, and in the meantime why don’t you look up a glamping UK holiday and see when you can go exploring for yourself?

 

Image courtesy of tashcook_/Instagram.

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