David Attenborough: Zoo Quest for a Dragon | Seeking the Komodo dragon in Indonesia
Talks Organiser, Television
ZOO QUEST: INDONESIA
16th April 1956
H.P.. Copy to H.T.Tel., AHT.Tel., H. Films Tel.,
Mr. David Attenborough
We have not yet had final authorisation from the Indonesian authorities for the
above trip, but I gather it is now purely a matter of form. I am therefore
sending you the foreign travel application for Attenborough and Lagus.
The six programmes, planned for the autumn, will cost approximately £2,640, i.e.
£440 each. The preliminary budget is as follows:-
Film costs £780
Film and camera freight £250
Film Duty £100
Subsistence & facilities for
producer and cameraman £300
Return fare - cameraman £350
Transport by air and sea: Indonesia £600
Studio and London Expenses £160
As on previous expeditions we shall open a bank account for local costs, and
because of the impossibility of separating programme transport from items such as
messing, accomodation and bearers for the producer and cameraman, I suggest that
the total should be taken as a programme charge. If we do so the only T & D
addition will be £350 for the producer's return fare London/Jakarta.
The programme will again be shot on a combination of 16mm colour and black and
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Document Type | Internal Memo
16 April 1956
From this brief document, the estimated costs for the whole series can be seen. The level of itemised detail is minimal from a modern perspective.
Although the film costs are higher than any other item of expenditure (more than double that for the team's subsistence, for example), the figure is significantly lower than it could have been. David Attenborough overcame considerable opposition to become the first BBC broadcaster to use 16mm film on location. This was more portable and less expensive than 35mm film, which was the industry's standard at the time.
The first episode of a six-part series in which David Attenborough searches for the Komodo dragon.
David Attenborough's search for rare animals in Borneo continues.
David Attenborough travels through Java on his journey towards Komodo.
David Attenborough's search for rare animals reaches Bali.
The 'Zoo Quest' team wander off the beaten track on the beautiful island of Bali.
David Attenborough arrives on the island of Komodo hoping to discover its secrets.
David Attenborough shares his memories of 'Zoo Quest'.
David Attenborough proposes that the BBC should collaborate with London Zoo to make a natural history series filmed on location.
The costs and expenses of a major TV series in 1956.
David Attenborough's clothing budget on Zoo Quest.
Attenborough shares his frustrations over bureaucratic red tape in Indonesia.
An amused Head of Department replies to Attenborough's recent correspondence.
David Attenborough recounts his experiences so far, including malaria and cracked ribs, in the quest for a dragon.
A letter of thanks from David Attenborough to an associate in Indonesia.
David Attenborough sends a personal letter of thanks.
David Attenborough provides a formal review of the expedition for his boss.
The Monkey House at London Zoo sees an influx of visitors as a result of an episode of 'Zoo Quest'.
A report showing how viewers reacted to the last episode of 'Zoo Quest for a Dragon'.
Correspondence from David Attenborough explaining why he didn't bring back a Komodo dragon.
Photographs of David Attenborough from the 'Zoo Quest' years.
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