Episode 1

First transmitted in 1961, this series captures the four months David Attenborough, cameraman Geoffrey Mulligan and Malagasy ornithologist Georges Randrianasolo spent travelling several thousand miles throughout the island of Madagascar.

They set out to meet the people of Madagascar and study their local customs as well as film some of the remarkable animals which occur nowhere else in the world.

Starting in the south of Madagascar, David Attenborough hopes to find an Aepyornis egg. The Aepyornis, or elephant bird, may have given rise to the legend of the gigantic bird known as the rukh or roc. Attenborough reconstructs an Aepyornis egg from fragments, and also sees tortoises and sifakas.

Release date:

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 2 Oct 1966 14:50

Sir David Attenborough - The Early Years

Sir David Attenborough - The Early Years

This programme is part of a BBC Four Collection showcasing the early work of Sir David Attenborough.

Watch Sir David Attenborough - The Early Years on BBC iPlayer

More about this programme

The Aepyornis egg that Sir David Attenborough pieced together over 50 years ago is still one of his most treasured possessions. In 2011, Attenborough returned to the island of Madagascar on a very personal quest; to find out more about this amazing creature and to see how the island has changed. Could the elephant bird's fate provide lessons that may help protect Madagascar's remaining wildlife?

BBC Two: Attenborough and the Giant Egg

About BBC Four Collection programmes

Programmes are selected, in part, for their historical context and reflect the broadcast standards and attitudes of their time, which may not accord to some current BBC editorial guidelines. We aim to select programmes which can be shown in their entirety but in some cases edits are required.


Role Contributor
PresenterDavid Attenborough
Camera OperatorGeoffrey Mulligan
ProducerDavid Attenborough

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