David Attenborough: Zoo Quest for a Dragon | Seeking the Komodo dragon in Indonesia
Document Type | Internal Memo
31 July 1953
In this document, David Attenborough first proposes the idea for 'Zoo Quest', a television series based on an expedition to Africa in conjunction with London Zoo. The idea came about after a discussion with Jack Lester, one of London Zoo's curators, with whom Attenborough had worked on another series, 'The Pattern of Animals'. Attenborough explains how the BBC could film Lester collecting rare animals (in this case, two rare birds) that were required by the zoo, and then show him examining them in the studio later. This became the premise for 'Zoo Quest', and the first series featured the now infamous rare bird called Picathartes.
This first series of 'Zoo Quest', broadcast in 1954, was set in Sierra Leone, where the team succeeded in finding the rare bird Picathartes.
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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