Zoo Quest in Colour (2016) Movie Script

Tonight, we've got rather
a different programme for you.
In 1954, David Attenborough
embarked on a ground-breaking
television series.
Watched by millions of viewers
across Britain,
it became the most popular wildlife
programme of its time.
And it launched David Attenborough
as a wildlife presenter.
If you don't want this, I'm warning
you, I'm giving it to Robert.
Zoo Quest filmed a number of
animal collecting expeditions,
organised by the London Zoo.
And brought to the screen
places and animals that had
never been seen before.
It was the first
natural history series on film
that the BBC had shot.
Zoo Quest was first broadcast
in the 1950s.
Over a decade before
colour television came to the UK.
So the entire series
was shown in black and white.
A few months ago,
a remarkable discovery was made
in the vaults of
the BBC Natural History Unit.
An archivist was checking through
some of the film cans
from Zoo Quest.
She took a closer look
at these reels of film
and realised that she had unearthed
a piece of television history.
They were some of the original
films shot on location,
over six hours' worth.
Not only were they in
extremely good condition,
but they were actually in colour.
They show animals filmed
for the first time,
as well as being a unique
cultural record of a bygone era.
I was astonished to hear that they
had all this colour negative stock.
I had never seen it.
Nobody had ever seen it, I think.
It had never been printed in colour.
And it had an extraordinary quality.
Quite unlike modern colour film
and certainly unlike
modern colour television.
And now the best of this
original colour footage
can be seen for the first time.
And with it the story of how
this pioneering television series
was made.
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."
I hadn't seen a foot of that film
since it went out.
And when it went out
it was all in black and white.
And it looked pretty miserable.
Using the latest technology to
remaster the original colour film,
it can now be seen in
high definition as never before.
I was absolutely staggered
at the quality.
At its best, it's as good as
any colour you see now.
And the big close-ups of animals,
the faces and the eyes.
Quite staggering for the period that
it was filmed in. I was astonished.
And there is a good reason
as to why colour film was used.
It was all due to David's choice
of using a lightweight
hand-held 16mm camera.
I was insistent that
we would have to use 16mm film.
Now, that was very much smaller
than the 35 mil which the BBC use.
We couldn't take the very big
cameras into the bush in Africa.
And the Head of Films at the BBC
thought that 16mm
was beneath contempt.
There was a bit of a row, so we had
a big meeting and eventually I got
permission to use 16, which was the
first time ever for BBC Television.
But the film department
had their own back.
They said, "All right.
Well, if you use 16",
"you will have to shoot it
on colour negative."
"Because that will give you
much better definition."
"It won't be as fuzzy as
black and white negative would do."
I had to go and find somebody
who would shoot this.
And I heard that
there was an amateur cameraman,
a young chap who was very good
on 16 mil cameras.
So I discovered his name,
which was Charles Lagus.
I met this young man
called Attenborough
who nobody had ever heard of before.
And we got chatting.
I said, "Look, I'm going to
West Africa."
"Would you be at all interested
in coming?"
And he said, "Well, I might."
We seemed to hit it off
straight away.
We laughed at the same jokes
and so at the end of it I said,
"Would you like to come on holiday?"
I said, "Well, am I actually
doing the job with you?"
He said, "Well, yes,
of course you are!"
David and I were really nobodies.
Somebody who was going off with
16 mil film? They were amateurs!
We were rebels, really.
And rather sneered at, I think,
by the Film department, certainly.
I'd got to know a lovely man
called Jack Lester,
who was in charge of the
reptile house at London Zoo.
Jack was going to be the star.
I was the director.
And so Jack, Charles and I
were the team.
What we were going to do was to
film sequences in Africa
of Jack Lester collecting things.
He would pounce on a snake,
let us say,
and then we would dissolve from that
film sequence to the snake
in the studio, with Jack struggling
with it and explaining it.
And that was the idea.
The zoo agreed and the BBC agreed,
and Jack and I both agreed.
Off we went.
Charles and I set off with Jack
and a chap called Alf Woods.
One of the senior keepers
from the birdhouse.
And when we landed in Sierra Leone,
it was the first time
I'd ever been to the Tropics
and I was absolutely knocked out.
I remember very clearly
walking across the grass strip
and then I saw something moving.
It was a chameleon.
I though, "A chameleon in the hedge
here!" And there was a mantis.
I was suddenly struck by the huge
proliferation of life
which is characteristic
of the Tropics.
That muggy air, that tropical air,
not only loaded with moisture
but loaded with smells
from the earth and from the forest.
'We set off in our lorry along
the dusty red earth roads which
'cut through the thick tropical bush
on our way into the interior.'
'But distances in Sierra Leone
are not only measured in miles,
'they're also measured in rivers.
'And the slow hand-pulled ferries
that cross them.
'But, to us, the time spent
on ferries wasn't wasted.
'We hoped to take back to London
a representative collection
'of the whole of the animal life
of this part of Africa.
'And the ferrymen, being the
biggest gossips in the area,
'were just the people to tell us
'if anyone had caught
any animals recently.
'And to pass on
the extraordinary news
'to all travelling along the road
that a party of Englishmen
'were willing to buy animals
of all sorts
'and were offering rewards to anyone
who could show them the nests
'of some extraordinary
bald-headed bird.'
I wanted an objective for our trip.
I said to Jack Lester, I said,
"Couldn't we make it a quest
for something?"
He said, "I suppose we could."
I said, "Well, isn't there something"
"that nobody has ever
seen before alive?"
Jack had a fascination for a bird
called Picathartes gymnocephalus.
And I said, "Jack, you see",
"A Quest For
Picathartes Gymnocephalus"
"is not a winning title."
It was a very boring-looking
bald crow.
"Hasn't it got another name?"
He said, "Oh, yeah." I said,
"Great. What's the English name?"
He said, "A bald-headed rock crow."
I said, "Well, even
Quest For A Bald-headed Rock Crow"
"is not a crowd-pleaser,
"Not one to track them in."
So then we just called it Zoo Quest.
'We came to our first
African village,
'where life continues
in the same way
'as it's done
for hundreds of years.'
'An old man sits patiently
weaving his cloth
'in the ancient traditional way.'
'Women sit in the shade of the huts,
'carding and spinning
the locally-grown cotton,
'ready for the weaver.'
'Cassava and rice has to be pounded
to flour in wooden pestles.
'But here, as everywhere else,
there's time for beautification.'
'Outside the village,
'as outside every village
large or small in West Africa,
'there was one tree supporting
a great chattering colony
'of weaver birds.'
Thanks to their convenient location,
these weaver birds were in fact the
first wild animals ever to be filmed
for a David Attenborough series.
'They're very destructive creatures,
'causing a great deal of damage
to crops of grain.
'But although it would be easy
enough to cut down the trees
'and destroy the nests,
'the villagers rarely take
any action against the birds.
'For they believe that
if you drive away the weaver birds,
'you will drive away prosperity
from the village.
'And so the birds are left to strip
the leaves from their tree,
'tear them into long ribbons
and sew and weave them
'into their beautiful,
intricate nests.'
'Our first duty on arriving
in the village
'was to pay our respects
to the chief.
'If he gave us
his official approval,
'we could be sure of the help of
the best hunters in the district.
'The chief came out of his compound
to meet us,
'followed in procession
by some of his many wives.'
'Everyone gathered round
to see what he wanted.
'And we were the objects of
a great deal of curiosity,
'not entirely unmixed with fear as
far as the children were concerned.'
'Jack explained that we had come
to collect all sorts of animals,
'and as we didn't know
the African names,
'we carried pictures of the
creatures we particularly wanted.
'This, the emerald starling,
the chief recognised,
'though he would insist on
turning it upside down.
'But picathartes,
right way up or upside down,
'didn't mean anything at all to him.
' "But did we like snakes?"
he said?'
Jack was great with snakes.
He would pick up
the most poisonous snakes
that local people were terrified of.
'A Gaboon viper,
just as deadly as the cobras.
'It was crawling only a few yards
away from our hut.
'It looked sluggish,
but it can strike like lightning.'
And now its beautiful markings
can be seen in their full glory.
They provide perfect camouflage
when amongst the leaf litter
of the forest floor.
'Our people had found it
'and, like most of us,
they were terrified of it.
'But when Jack heard of it,
he was delighted and came running,
'anxious to catch
such a handsome snake
'for his reptile house in the zoo.'
A Gaboon viper
is a very formidable thing.
Jack in fact catches it
either at the back of the neck,
or indeed, rather more dangerously,
I think, picking it up by the tail
and making sure he doesn't get
anywhere near where it can bite you.
And then dropping it
in a box or a sack.
Of course, 60 years ago,
zoos regularly sent out expeditions
to collect live animals.
Nobody thought much about
conservation or really considered
that animals might be
driven to extinction.
Of course, these days, you would
never dream of doing that.
'People started bringing boxes
and cages to us in great numbers.'
'The contents of this box
we wanted very much indeed.
'For sticking her fingers
through the slats
'and scratching anyone who came near
'was a very young baby chimpanzee.'
'Within four days, we had so won
her confidence that she would run
'to take milk from Jack's lap.
'And from then on,
Jane, as we christened her, was
'the tamest and most affectionate
animal in the collection.'
And it was so rewarding
because it almost became
one of the family with us.
It would put its arms around us
and just hug us.
'She spent most of her time
climbing about in the trees
'nearest to whichever hut
we happened to be staying in.'
In those days, it was quite common
for people to have
baby chimpanzees as pets.
Jane was quite young, actually,
and I looked after her
and I became very fond of her.
She was a sweet creature.
And Jane became a firm favourite
with viewers at home.
Again, something you would not
possibly be allowed to do these days
and again, quite right.
'Jane the chimpanzee
was always curious,
'as to see what was going on.
'And insisted on inspecting
'each new addition to the collection
as it arrived.
'Like this little antelope.'
'This young mongoose didn't
appreciate her attentions at all
'and give her a sharp nip.'
As we built up a collection,
somebody would have to look after
all these newly-captured animals.
'At our base, Alf Woods, who came
out from the zoo's birdhouse,
'was looking after
our rapidly-growing collection.
'This small section
contains our sunbirds.
'They live by sipping nectar
from flowers.
'But in captivity
they will feed and flourish
'on a mixture of honey and water,
'which they sip from
these little jars.'
'When a new one is first brought in,
'it has to be shown that the jars
contain something worth eating.
'So Alf always held it in his hand,
dipped its beak into the honey
'and he drinks.
'His threadlike tongue flashing
in and out at an enormous rate.'
The way things got looked after,
it was amazing.
And I don't think
we ever lost an animal.
'In this tin, we had two
little African bush rats,
'which were even younger.
'They were so small that
they couldn't tackle solid foods,
'so we fed them with milk
from a pen filler.'
David and Jack,
and in the early days Alfie Woods,
knew exactly how to look after
everything that we caught
and they were
just amazing with them.
'A great difficulty with all these
youngsters is to keep them warm.
'And at first we always put
little bottles of hot water
'inside their tins overnight.
'This young ground squirrel,
'though very weak
when he first arrived,
'did well under this treatment and
ate vast quantities of palm nuts.'
'Young birds always had to be
fed by hand.'
'This young owl demanded food
every three hours.'
But when the team went out
to film animals in the wild,
there was a problem.
In West Africa in the forest,
it's really very dark.
And I remember Charles going in,
the first time he went in,
he said,
"We can't film here at all."
I said, "What do you mean, not at
all?" There was a bit of a blow.
He said, "There is not enough light.
I said, "Even for black and white
He said, "No, it's just too dark."
"The only way we can film here
to get a decent picture"
"is to cut down a tree."
And so that was a bit of a facer,
But when I did realise, I thought
we'd have to think of something
else, so what we decided to do
was we would film birds that were
out in the open, or we would go
into clearings in the forest.
Now, there aren't big animals
sitting in the clearings,
but there are small animals.
'We were interested in little
animals, as well as big ones.
'And one of the commonest insects
in Africa is the termite.
'There's more than one sort
of individual termite.
'The most common
are the small workers.
'But among them are the soldiers,
with enormously enlarged heads,
'armed with great jaws
'with which they can give
the most painful bite.'
'Naturally, when the nest
is disturbed,
'the soldiers are very much
on the warpath.
'And so cutting a section
of their nest
'can become
quite a painful business.'
Close-up photography of things
like insects was almost unknown.
Nobody had done this before.
Charles was really very inventive.
He took an ordinary hollow piece
of metal and screwed it on the end
of a lens and so increased
the magnification, as it were.
And he was very, very ingenious
at doing that.
When you get a close-up
of a praying Mantis,
they are fascinating in themselves.
It's like magic.
They were very impressive shots.
We noticed that there was
a wasp on the veranda.
And before I could make it out,
Charles was up there and filming it.
There was a male wasp hanging
on the side of the nest, waiting to
grab the female before some other
male grabbed her and fertilised her.
'Once more, another male arrives.'
'Things are now getting tense.
'The young female
continues her struggles
'and hauls herself
to the mouth of the cell.
'And now she's free,
he seizes her and flies off.'
It wasn't what I thought we'd come
to film, if you see what I mean.
But we made a speciality.
That's what we could do,
and so we did it.
But the team still hadn't found
the subject of their quest.
The elusive picathartes.
'After an hour of cutting a path
through the bush up the hill,
'we at last began to get good views
of the surrounding countryside.'
'No-one in the first village
we stayed in
'had recognised our picture
of picathartes.
'And we decided to move on through
the bush towards the interior.'
'At last, we reached
the next village.'
Very often
when we would come to a village,
it was quite a ceremonial event
for the people.
And they would welcome us,
they would play music,
and usually quite sophisticated,
complicated music to our ears.
I don't think they'd seen
film cameras there before
and they certainly had never
heard themselves recorded.
There was no way of linking sound
recording to film in those days,
on 16mm at any rate.
And David used to do the sound. Not
that he had been in any way trained.
It was quarter-inch tape,
reel to reel, battery driven.
David took to it like duck to water.
I'd be very careful
in the editing later.
It isn't all that noticeable
that we haven't got sync sound.
A portable tape machine
was quite a new thing.
No-one had seen it in the parts
of Sierra Leone where we were.
So they had no idea
what we were doing.
'First to perform for us
were the newly initiated girls
'who had just passed through the
rites of the Bundu secret society.'
'And here, joining the girls
in the dance is the Bundu Devil,
'who presides over the initiation
ceremonies in the sacred bush.'
'A change of music.
'These drums we knew were used
in the dance of the njai society,
'which we had been told
we were not allowed to see.'
'As they sounded, the devil itself
came into the dance.
'A very fearsome magical devil
'that has the gift of
foretelling the future.'
'But we were able to produce
some magic of our own.
'For while the dance
had been going on,
'I had been recording the music
on my tape recorder.
'This, of course, was the object
of a great deal of curiosity.
'I always play the recording back
'and let the singers listen to
themselves on a little earphone.
'Blank astonishment was always
followed by huge grins of delight.'
We tried to explain
what we were doing,
but they couldn't understand it.
What we could do was to turn a
switch and then use the microphone,
which was a big thing like that,
and use it as a speaker.
And so we recorded
something with the women
and then I played it to them
through the ear.
And they started off
by being sort of astounded
and then suddenly delighted.
They thought it was
absolutely thrilling.
'Meanwhile, Jack was talking to
other members of the village
'and showing our picture of
picathartes to everybody he met.
'This man was the local agricultural
instructor living in the village,
'and to our delight, he at last
recognised the picture.
'The birds he said were not common,
'but he had seen them in the
thicker parts of the bush,
'up in the hills
at the back of the village.
'So it was that the next day,
under his guidance,
'we started off on the journey
up the hill,
'on our way at last
to the nests of picathartes.'
The problem with
the picathartes nesting site
was that it was in deep jungle
and it was very, very dark.
And there was simply not enough
light for the colour negative stock
that we were using,
so we had to use black and white.
'We took our places behind the hide
and now came the most tense moment
'of the expedition, the moment for
which we had all waited so long.
'Would we see the adult birds?'
It was a six-part series.
We ended each programme by saying,
"But will we find
Picathartes gymnocephalus?"
"Tune in next week!"
And I was a bit worried about
whether this would actually
make any impression on anybody.
And actually Charles Lagus and I
were in Charles' open two-seater
sports car and we were
driving along Oxford Street,
which you could do in those days.
And a driver leant out
and he said, "Hello, Dave!"
"Well, are we or are we not going
to catch Pica bloody thartes?"
So I thought,
"Well, maybe the programmes
are beginning to catch on."
'Suddenly, we saw one
'a few yards away in the twilight
of the bush, preening itself.
'This was enormous excitement.
'Then up it fluttered onto the nest.
'And as it did so,
the other parent flew across
'and drove the first one away.
This was a great thrill for us.
'For as this happened, we became
the first Europeans ever to see
'the white-necked picathartes
on its nest.'
It did take several weeks
before we actually found it.
In a childish way, to film
something that nobody had ever
filmed alive before
tickled our fancy.
We thought it was fun.
'And eventually we secured
a young fledgling.
'Alf Woods offered it a little frog.
'To our delight and relief,
'it accepted it greedily
and asked for more.'
Feeding it alone was a chore.
It ate something like 60
little froglets every three hours.
So not only were we filming,
but we were spending our time
catching frogs.
'On that food, it grew
and flourished
'and made the long voyage
back to England.
'Now it's settled
and thriving in the London Zoo.
'The first white-necked Picathartes
'ever to be brought
out of Africa alive.'
The first Zoo Quest programme
went out with Jack Lester
showing the animals,
and I up in the gallery
directing the television cameras,
which is what my job was.
But after that first appearance,
Jack became very ill
with a tropical disease.
He was taken to hospital
just after the first programme.
And so the Head of Television said,
"Attenborough, you thought
you were director,"
"but somebody's got to
do the studio."
Nobody else was there, you do it.
And it turned out that he was
absolutely brilliant at it.
In fact, he was much better at it
than Jack. He was just a natural.
That is the picture of a very rare
bird, the white-necked picathartes.
And he could, particularly
in the earlier ones, he would laugh
at himself because he knew he was
sort of acting for the camera.
One of those Indians taught me
how to make the noise.
At least I think I can do it.
He goes...
Is that any good, do you think?
Ask him!
And that's how he became
the narrator.
And became one of the great
natural television broadcasters.
And here he is, the very same one.
The tree anteater or tamandua.
That right, isn't it? Well,
tamandu-a, we call it. Very well.
All television was live, and if you
didn't get it right first time,
it was just tough.
Everybody saw you making a mistake.
And from the last... for the last
time, from Dr Matthews, Jack Lester,
Charles Lagus and myself, goodnight.
Zoo Quest was a success.
And I thought, "Right, in that case,
strike while the iron's hot,"
and I immediately suggested
that we should go to
somewhere in South America.
And the obvious place to go
was British Guiana, as it then was,
and is now Guyana.
And Jack had recovered and
so we set off on our second trip.
This was in 1955, soon after
the first series was broadcast.
There were still areas there
where it was pristine, really.
Relatively speaking.
That is the South American jungle
as I first saw it.
We were flying over British Guiana.
That forest below us stretched
unbroken for several hundred miles
up north to the River Orinoco,
right down south to the Amazon
and the Mato Grosso.
In fact, it's one of
the largest unexplored,
and as far as I'm concerned,
exciting areas in the world.
'There are three of us
in that plane.
'Jack Lester from the London Zoo,
Charles Lagus the cameraman
'and myself.'
'As we came in, we saw for the first
time some of the Akawaio Indians
'with whom we would be living
for the next months.
'Though these particular people were
partly Europeanised, as they lived
'and worked on
the government station.
'Our first job was to unload
all our stores from the plane.
'Lenses, cameras, film, recording
gear, cooking pots and pans,
'food, hammocks
and all the other things
'we needed to make us
entirely self-sufficient.
'For when the plane left,
'we should lose our last link
with the outside world.
'If we had forgotten
to bring something,
'well, from now on we should
have to do without it.'
'Our plan was to travel
up the Mazaruni River
'and explore its tributaries.
'And for transport the district
officer very kindly lent us
'his largest dugout canoe.
And we set off up the river.
'A tunnel of sunshine,
cutting through the jungle.'
'For us,
it was all very exciting
'because at last we were seeing the
South American jungle close at hand.
'We couldn't expect to see
any animals,
'for the noise of our engine
would have driven them far away.
'But we were happy enough simply
to sit there and enjoy the ride.'
'Late in the afternoon,
we heard a distant thundering noise
'and we knew that we were
approaching a waterfall.
'After another hour, we reached it.'
'To go further would mean
unloading all the canoes
'and carrying everything
above the fall.
'So we decided to camp that night
on the banks.
'While the boys unloaded the canoe,
'Jack Lester and I
enjoyed ourselves.'
Filming in Guyana had its problems.
For me, humidity and rain was
the big challenge on the equipment.
How was I going to store
all this stuff without getting wet,
without having mildew and fungus
growing on everything?
It was a challenge.
So we had biscuit tins with
silica gel, which absorbs moisture.
So every time we shot something,
we put it in the biscuit tin
and then when the tin was full
we sealed it with camera tape
and there it was with silica gel.
You've only got to get a scratch
on a film, something wrong
with the exposures, a hair in the
gate and you've wrecked everything.
We could be away
for three or four months,
thinking that we'd got a film
and the rushes come back ruined.
And this really was
a nerve-racking thing to live with.
Despite the tricky conditions,
the team soldiered on.
'The first village we entered
seemed deserted.'
'Then we noticed two tame parrots
on the eaves of one of the huts.
'Whatever else these people were,
they were obviously pet-keepers
'and of course nothing could've been
better from our point of view.'
'Soon, the women emerged
from the huts
'and looked at us silently
and impassively.
'But there were no men for,
as we later discovered,
'they were all out in the forest
on a hunting expedition.
'In their absence, the women were
busy with the household chores.
'This young girl is weaving
a bead apron, or mo'sa,
'which traditionally is the only
clothing that the women wear.'
'Two other girls
were busy cutting cassava.'
'Cassava is the plant from
whose swollen starchy roots
'the Indians make their bread.
'As a food, though, it seems to me
to have serious limitations.
'Because its juice contains
a deadly poison.
'Prussic acid, in fact.
'So that before you eat it you
must prepare it very carefully
'to get rid of the poison.'
'First, it is peeled.
'And then the peeled roots
are grated on a board
'studded with small pieces
of sharp stone.'
'But you've still not got rid
of the poisonous juice,
'and to extract that, the Indians
employ an extendable squeezer
'that is a most cunning piece
of basket work.
'As you fill it,
'the weight of the grated cassava
makes it becomes short and fat.'
'When it's quite full,
'it's carried and hung on the end
of one of the rafters of a hut.'
'A pole is stuck through
the loop at the bottom.'
'And then all you have to do
is to sit on it.
'Your weight makes
the squeezer stretch,
'so that instead of being short
and fat, it becomes long and thin.
'And the juice, with its prussic
acid, falls out at the bottom.
'Sometimes the Indians
collect this juice
'and use it in making poison
for their blowpipe darts.'
'When the cassava is squeezed
'and the Indians are satisfied that
there's no more poisonous juice
'in it, it is emptied in dry
pulpy lumps into a wicker basket.'
'Then it's broken up and sifted
into a sort of coarse flour.'
'The actual cooking of the bread
was, to me, fascinating
'because it's done in exactly
the same way as griddle cakes
'and oatcakes are made
in Scotland and Wales.
'It's cooked, in fact, on a circular
bakestone heated over a fire.
'But as in Wales and Scotland,
so in the upper Mazaruni River,
'housewives have a little bad luck
in turning the cakes.'
'When the fat white circle
of cassava bread
'is cooked on both sides, it's
put out on racks to dry in the sun.'
'Having seen the whole of
the cooking process,
'I thought I really ought to see
what the bread tasted like.'
'Courtesy made me pretend that I
enjoyed it, but I can't say I'd like
'to spend the rest of my life
'living on cassava bread,
as the Indians do.'
As the Zoo Quest series continued,
it revealed as much about
the local people as the animals.
'The children of the village
'had much better things to do
than to cook.'
'Fishing is much more fun.'
'These two lads,
Carlton and Codrice,
'became great friends of ours.'
Of course, they knew the jungle
absolutely backwards.
They took us into the rainforest
and made us feel ashamed
at how little we knew
and how much they knew.
'There were two other pets
in the village, and rather odd ones.
'They are not related to pigs
as you might think,
'but belong to the family
that includes rats and mice.
'The rodent family.
'They are, in fact,
the largest rodents in the world.
'And, when fully grown,
they can be three feet long.'
'These two were comparatively
young ones.
'They had been reared
from tiny babies
'by the grandmother of our
two friends, Carlton and Codrice.
'They had never quite forgotten
their childish habit of suckling
'and were prepared to suck anything
that was offered to them,
'including my finger.'
'Nevertheless, they were fully
equipped with
'the long front incisor teeth
of the rodent family.'
And they ate
bushels and bushels of grass.'
They were very much
village pets, actually.
And although people ate capybaras,
in order that nobody else would kill
these village pets which had been
reared since they were very young,
they put red patches of paint on
them so that they were identifiable.
'The oddest thing about them
'is that they are really amphibious
animals and in the wild
'they spend a great deal of their
time swimming in the rivers.
'There are two clues
to this habit of theirs.
'The first is that
'their eyes and nostrils
are placed very high on the head,
'so that like the crocodile and the
hippopotamus, they can lie submerged
'in the river with just their eyes
and nostrils out of water.
'And the second is that
their feet are webbed.
'We were very anxious
to film them swimming.
'And for a long time,
'I tried to persuade them to go down
into the river. But they wouldn't.'
And Jack's big thing was these
are supposed to be aquatic animals.
"Why don't they ever
go in the water?"
"I want to see film of them
in the water."
So I wanted to show this,
but the wretched things
wouldn't go into the river.
'And then early one morning,
'Carlton and Codrice
ran down to the river for a swim.'
They just jumped into the river.
Of course these capybara,
which were semi-tame, followed them
and jumped in the river too.
And we got lovely film of the boys
playing with the capybaras
in the river.
'And we discovered that
not only were the two boys
and their grandmother's capybara
habitual playmates,
'but that the pets would, in fact,
'never go into the water
without the boys.'
'I certainly wouldn't like to
have said which of them
'were the better swimmers.'
And it wasn't only
Carlton and Codrice
who enjoyed swimming in the river.
After their swim, there was another
skill the boys wanted to show off.
'And our two friends, Carlton and
Codrice, give us a short exhibition
'of blowpipe practice, using
a small pineapple as a target.'
Both the little boys
loaded these blowpipes...
and you look along the top.
And they went...
And sometimes they missed, but
mostly they were pretty accurate.
After spending several weeks
in the Mazaruni basin,
the team continued their search
throughout Guyana for animals
that had never been filmed before.
'Besides egrets, there were
also other birds. Blue herons.'
'And here on the top of a tree
a snail-eating hawk,
'living up to its name by actually
eating a snail as we watched.'
One of the most interesting things
as far as I was concerned
was a bird called a hoatzin,
which lived in the coastal swamps.
It had claws on the front of
its wings.
And birds as a whole
are thought to have been derived
from four-legged creatures, perhaps
a branch of the dinosaur group.
So, in a way, that gave you an
insight into what the early birds
with claws on their front legs,
their wings,
were like as they climbed
around in the trees.
It was the first film of hoatzin
ever taken, as far as I know.
The next destination for David
and the team was the savanna
of South Guyana, but the journey
was not entirely plain sailing.
Some of the transport,
when we were lucky,
was a little seaplane
driven by a wonderful pilot.
He must have been ex-air force
or something like that,
because he was just brilliant.
And we had to take off on a fairly
short-ish stretch of river
which finished
in very tall jungly trees.
In it we had Jack Lester, me, David
and a mass of equipment.
It looked awfully overloaded to me.
And Colonel Williams said,
"Don't worry, lads."
He said, "I've done this before."
And the engines started.
He put absolutely full boost on.
And we roared down this stretch of
river. And we got faster and faster.
And suddenly I could see the trees
coming closer and closer
and closer and closer.
He was going straight...
I was convinced we were going to go
straight into them.
When suddenly when
they were just very close,
he suddenly put his arm around the
controls and leant back like this.
The plane went up into the sky.
While he was doing that, he started
fumbling. I said, "Are you OK?"
He said, "Yeah, I need my bifocals."
He changed his glasses.
And we just made it.
After what was certainly
an interesting flight,
they finally arrived at
their destination.
The wide Savanna in the south-west.
The Rupununi.
Here they met up with
ranch owner Teddy Melville.
'He took us up to
a remote part of his ranch,
'where he said he had heard reports
of a large anaconda snake.'
'The savannas were littered with
giant termite hills,
'standing like tombstones.'
'Teddy took us down to
a thicket in a swamp
'where the snake
was supposed to lurk.
'But instead of finding signs of
an anaconda, Teddy's sharp eye
'immediately picked out
the footprints of a giant anteater.'
The big thing was whether
we could get a giant anteater.
So we had a go at it.
In a rather extraordinary way.
Amateur ham-fisted way.
'While we were looking at them,
'there was a rustle on the other
side of the thicket. We looked up.'
'And there was the anteater itself
galloping across the savannas.
'Without thinking how we were
actually going to catch it,
'Jack and I set off
wildly in pursuit.'
And I ran after it. What I was
going to do, I can't imagine.
But I actually tried to slow it down
by catching its tail.
But when it turned round
and had a look at me,
I decided that was as far
as I was going to take this.
Giant anteaters have these
huge powerful forelegs
with enormous great claws on them,
which they rip open termite hills.
And the one thing to avoid was
the embrace of the giant anteater
because it was lethal.
The local rancher who was helping us
lassoed it, poor old thing.
And we captured it.
Jack had got it for the zoo.
And it did very well.
Lived for quite a long time.
With all the animals collected,
the expedition in South America
had come to an end.
But sadly, Jack Lester
took a turn for the worse.
Jack suddenly collapsed again.
And he had to be
flown home urgently.
And the expedition
then came to an end.
It turned out that
they didn't know what it was.
I'm very sorry to say
that Jack has been very ill.
It started halfway to the expedition
and he's still in hospital.
I think he's probably looking in
and we all wish him
a very speedy recovery.
When we came back,
he was in hospital.
So there was no question
of him taking part.
And in fact, he never
really recovered.
And he died a few months later.
The Guyana series was another
big hit with the British public.
Keen to keep Zoo Quest
as a regular event,
it was time for David
to choose the next destination.
We'd done Africa,
we'd done South America,
and the Far East would be
the obvious place.
And I had read about giant lizards
which the press had called
dragons, which lived on
a very small island in the middle
of the Indonesian archipelago,
in a place called Komodo.
Well, having found it on the map,
we then had to try and get there.
But nobody in London could give us
any idea as to how we could do so.
So Charles and I decided the thing
to do would be to fly to Singapore
and then somehow, in some way
or another, make our way
slowly southwards and eastwards
through these islands to Komodo.
And the first place
we decided to go to was the mouth
of the Mahakam River, which goes
right into the heart of Borneo.
'Everyone had told us that the river
'was infested with
man-eating crocodiles.
'But it wasn't until one morning
'three weeks after
our arrival in Borneo
'when I was looking for frogs
that were whistling and chirping
'in the swamps fringing the river
bank, that I actually saw one.'
'And it was no ordinary one either,
'but the variety with
the long thin nose. The gavial.'
The only problem with it was it was
tiny. I mean, it was a baby.
So I had the idea that we would
make a kind of joke of it.
And that we would film it all
in close-up
and then I'd film myself
taking off my shirt,
and we hoped the audience would say,
"He's not going to tackle
that huge thing, is he?!"
And only when I jumped on it
would the people realise that
it was just a tiny thing.
'As you can see, no-one could class
this little baby as a man-eater,
'even though he had got
quite a bite.'
We shot it that way
and edited it that way.
But as far as I could see,
nobody ever saw the joke.
Happily, we had met a very nice
English-speaking Dutchman
called Daan Joubert who acted as
an interpreter for us.
'The village itself,
like all Dayak villages,
'consisted only of
a single long house,
'which stretched for several hundred
yards along the river bank.
'The people who watched us from
the galleries of the house
'seemed to be very different
'from those we had met
lower down the river.
'The head man was on his way
into the forest to hunt.
'He showed us his stout blowpipe
tipped with a spearhead,
'which he said was very useful
for stabbing.'
'And his hat, which was very light
and woven from palm leaves.
'We both bought and wore ones
like it later on and found them
'to be ideal headwear
for the Tropics. Cool and shady.'
'He never carried a gun, he told us,
'but relied on his parang -
a crude and heavy Dayak bush knife.'
'He said that we would be
very welcome to stay in the village
'for as long as we wished.'
The long house never went to sleep.
There was always somebody
trundling about.
So all the time you were going
up and down like this.
And down on the ground there were
pigs and there were chickens
and they were moving around
all night.
And on top of that there were
some people chanting.
And I don't think I slept at all
the first night.
In the morning, I said,
"What was all the chanting about?"
And they said, "They were chanting"
"because some important people
have recently died.
"It's a funeral chant." I said,
"Really? Where are the bodies?"
He said, "Didn't you notice them?
They were just alongside you there."
"Oh!" I said, "I didn't realise."
But, no, it was a communal life
all right.
And they were lovely people.
And one of them found
a little baby bear. A cub.
'The little cub was obviously
very young.
'I reckoned about two weeks old.
He seemed to be in good condition,
'but he hadn't got any teeth and
obviously was still feeding on milk.
'We had got
a baby's bottle on board,
'ready for such a case as this,
but I wondered whether he was
'yet old enough for us to be able
to rear him.
'First, however, he had to be
put in a box and covered up,
'so that he kept warm.'
'As soon as the sun went down,
it gets quite cold on that river,
'and we didn't want to risk
our new pet catching a chill.'
BEAR CALLS OU 'And then I had to set about
the urgent job of making
'a bottle of dilute condensed milk.
'Urgent because the little cub
'was already calling
very loudly indeed for his food.'
'The milk seemed to be
about the right temperature.'
'And, to my relief, the young cub
was soon guzzling away contentedly.'
And here he is.
Twice as large, I should say,
but still just as hungry.
And still making this extraordinary
little noise which he used to
make out there in Borneo.
Oh, Benjamin!
He's grown considerably
since we had him.
The cameraman who took
all those pictures is here.
And Charles has had him
in his flat ever since we came back.
Has he caused any trouble, Charles?
Well, he's fairly destructive.
He likes to eat the lino,
newspapers, telephone directories,
almost everything.
Benjamin became known as
the Zoo Quest Bear
and I even wrote a little book
about him. He was charming.
Very nice.
Well, you're very sweet.
What about his teeth?
Have you had a bite from him?
Yes, he draws blood regularly now.
When he misses the bottle
and gets your finger instead.
In that case, I think
when you've finished, Benjamin,
we'll let him go back to your flat
and draw a little more blood!
Benjamin had very bent little feet.
And I took it for a walk
on a little collar
and a woman appeared from the
distance shaking her umbrella at me
and said, "Can't you see
your dog's got rickets?"
And then she looked at it
and said, "Ooh, it's a bear."
And she ran off
in the opposite direction!
After Borneo, David and Charles
travelled eastwards across Java,
the next island on their quest.
'On our way through Java,
we passed many beautiful buildings.'
'But we saw none more lovely
'than the beautiful Buddhist
temple of Borobudur,
'which was built
over 1,000 years ago.'
'It rises tier up on tier,
shrine upon shrine,
'until at the top there is one
final gigantic monument.'
'But Java is a country not only of
temples, but of volcanoes.
'And our route eastwards
'took us past the still-active
crater of Bromo.
'The Jeep couldn't take us
up the mountain,
'so in the early dawn one morning,
'we met some hillmen
and hired some ponies.
'By midday, the volcano collects
a blanket of cloud above it,
'but now, at five o'clock in the
morning, it was still quite clear.
'To get to the crater, we had to
descend on to a great plain,
'a sea of sand which surrounds
the central cone.
'Now, the ground steepened
and we had to leave the horses
'and continue on foot.'
'Looking down into the depths
of the crater,
'it seemed easy enough to clamber
right down to that central vent.
'But our guides would go no further,
for they said that the crater was
'full of invisible pockets
of poison gas
'and that people who had gone
farther down had never returned.
'Even from where we were standing,
the air was full of choking,
'sulphurous fumes and the ground
beneath our feet shook
'as the clouds of poisonous smoke
belched out from the vent.
'It's down there that sacrifices
are thrown every year
'to placate the god of the volcano.
'These days, only chickens,
cloth and money.
'But in olden times,
the sacrifice was a human one.
'We left the volcano with the clouds
gathering in a shroud above it
'and continued on our way.
'And the next day, we reached
the southern coast of Java
'and the sea, the Indian Ocean.'
Very often, we slept on the beaches,
which are wonderful places.
It was very lucky that Charles
and I got on so well together.
I certainly look on back
with my friendship with him
with great pleasure.
I don't know why we hit it off.
We hit it off from day one.
I don't think we ever had
a cross word.
I don't think we ever worried about
each other's problems.
I knew he could cope with
what he was doing and he relied,
hopefully, on everything
I was doing.
The next day, they set off inland.
In Jack Lester's absence,
David had to take on the role of
catching animals, including snakes.
'It looked enormous,
and from its size and markings,
'I was quite sure that it
was a python
'and therefore, non-poisonous, which
was something of a relief.'
So, I thought, "Oh, this is the
moment!" Nothing frightened,
I skipped up the tree and took out
my trusty cutlass and I thought,
"I won't grapple with
the snake up in the tree,"
"I'll cut the branch down."
The branch came down and
I nipped down the tree
and then had to face the python.
So I tried to remember
what I'd learnt in West Africa.
I picked up a sack and tried to
throw it over the animal's head,
very inexpertly, I must say.
It went nowhere near the head! But
I was quite nervous, after all.
But eventually, I managed to throw
it over the animal's head
and grasp it by the neck.
'It's important to grab his tail as
soon as you grab his head,
'otherwise he'll wrap
his great coils around you
'and give you a very nasty squeeze.
'And here he is in the studio.
'The python is not
a poisonous snake at all,
'it kills its prey by squeezing it.'
Of course, my expertise as an animal
handler, a zoo man, as it were,
was exposed rather painfully
every now and again on television.
Well, helping me...
Helping me control...
..this python is Mr Langwarne
from the reptile house
in the London Zoo.
I'm pretending to be very
accomplished and expert about snakes
in front of Mr Langwarne,
who was the head keeper of the
reptile house.
He's quite a handful now, isn't he?
You could quite imagine how these
powerful coils
could really give you
quite a crush. Oh, yes.
He was very charitable towards
my attempts at trying
to control this wretched snake.
He's doing... Well,
it's a very good example
of how he constricts his food.
Shall I just show you,
or will you lose your hand?
No, I don't think so. You'll be able
to get out eventually.
Well, I think we'll untie you later.
Thank you very much for coming.
After leaving Java,
the team continued their journey
east onto Bali.
A few minutes of travel
was enough to show us
that in coming to
the island of Bali,
we had come to a different world.
There were high mud walls
round the houses,
which we'd never seen in Java.
The people looked quite different.
And as we travelled
along the grassy tracks,
we passed through the terraced rice
fields for which Bali is famous.
It was an intoxicating place,
because it was, er... full of beauty.
But above all, we were impressed by
the great number of temples.
There were temples everywhere,
and all were decorated with
a wealth of intricate carvings.
This one lay in the centre
of a small forest.
Many Balinese temples
are sacred to a particular animal,
and the courtyard of this one was
haunted by a troop of monkeys,
ever-hungry to snatch food from
worshippers who came to the temple.
It was a real joy
to meet these bold creatures,
even if they did do their best
to steal things from my pocket.
When they are grooming one another,
they're not simply
looking for fleas,
but are searching one another's skin
for tasty little grains of salt.
We had a problem. When we changed
film quickly on the camera,
normally you'd have a clapperboard.
We didn't have clapperboards,
so we weren't running in sync.
So David invented a clever system -
raffle tickets!
He would always have them
in his pocket,
and when we changed a reel,
he'd fish it out,
and he'd just hold it up
in front of the camera
and stick it on the camera film,
and that was our way of
pre-editing the film
and knowing what was on what.
The whole business of 60mm film
at the time,
we didn't have any code of behaviour
or any expertise, really.
We just did it the way
we thought was sensible.
It was clockwork-driven
and you had 40 seconds of film
before it ran out.
Then you had to stop and wind it up
again. And it only took 100ft reels.
That's two minutes 40 in 60mm.
So, this is quite a handicap
when you're filming.
Especially when filming complex
sequences, like a village festival.
The music of Bali is
particularly beautiful,
the gamelan music,
and of the most brilliant kind.
The gamelan plays
and rehearses every night,
every night in the village.
'These young girls are only
eight years old
'and they've been training to
perform this beautiful temple dance,
'the Legong, since they were six.
'They wear on their heads
crowns of leather and gold leaf,
'decorated with the ivory coloured
blossoms of the frangipani tree.'
While Charles filmed it,
I recorded the music
and I think Bali's gamelan music
was heard for the first time
by millions of people in Britain.
The Balinese are not only
great sculptors
and instrumental musicians,
but they are also great actors
and they're continually re-enacting
the stories from the Ramayana
and from the Balinese version
of some of the Hindu legends.
'Now begins the masked play.
A demon descends the temple steps.'
It's a deeply religious thing.
The villagers watch this enactment
of the story again and again
and again.
One of the great epics is
there's a battle between the evil,
which is represented by a horrifying
witch, who has a long tongue
and huge long fingernails
and is a terrifying figure.
'Rangda, the dreaded evil witch.'
Who then attacks a very friendly
mythical creature called Barong.
'And now comes the superb Barong,
the mythical monster which lives
'in the temple and is the guardian
'of the village and
of its graveyard.'
And the battle between Rangda
and the Barong is one of the great
dramas that is enacted by these
rituals which go on every day.
'And now begins the fight.
'The men from the village,
in a state of trance,
'rush down from the temple,
waving their swords to attack Rangda
'and protect the Barong.
'But Rangda, by her evil power,
is able to hold them at bay.'
And then suddenly,
the Rangda makes a spell, whoof!
'With a flourish of her magic cloth,
'she forces them to
turn their daggers upon themselves.
'The men, almost insensible,
try to thrust these sharp
'swords into their chest.'
They really looked that they were
going to pierce their abdomens
with them
and they pushed and they pushed.
But the Barong is
sufficiently powerful,
so it means that the daggers
don't pierce their chest.
'The Barong's power is
stronger than Rangda's
'and he is able to protect his
followers, so that no blood is shed.
'Now, the priest comes
from the temple
'and scatters holy water to bring
the men out of their trances.
'The men rush back into the temple.
The Barong disappears.
'And all that is left
are the mangy curs,
'eating the priest's
offerings to the gods.
'I can offer no explanation for that
extraordinary performance, '
but I was a little worried lest
Rangda the witch should decide to
turn their swords on the BBC.
Well, two days after that dance,
we had to leave Bali
and continue on the last
leg of our trip to Komodo,
the island of the giant lizards,
the dragons.
Komodo was on the western end,
the farther end,
of this banana-shaped island.
So we went down to the harbour.
There was one single sail
30ft little fishing boat there.
And that was all there was.
So, eventually, we managed to
talk to the skipper of this boat
and he said no problem and we said,
"Can you take us to Komodo?"
He said, "Oh, yes."
So we agreed
and there was Charles and me
and there was Sabran, our guide,
who was the interpreter.
And there was the captain
and some boys, who were his crew.
We had no choice by then,
so we loaded all our stores onto
this miserable little 30-footer.
'We loaded all our equipment into
the hold beneath the tiny cabin.
'That was the tape recorder.
'Our kit,
'and the camera.
'We didn't take much food
'because we expected to be able
to catch enough fish to last us
'for the few days it was going
to take us to get to Komodo.
'Here comes Sabran.
'The sail goes up.
'We haul up the anchor.
'And at last, we're off.
'We headed away from the shore
and soon,
'the trade winds were
filling our sails.
'The boys took
it in turn on the tiller.
'This is Hasan, a cheerful lad who
unfortunately was not a particularly
'good steersman, as he had the habit
of falling asleep at the tiller.'
The boy would fall asleep,
day or night,
and we'd finish up with this awful
crunching noise in the night,
to find that we
were on a coral island.
So I said, "I think we're on
a coral island." He said, "Argh!
"They are no good!"
"What are we going to do?"
We eventually poled ourselves off.
'Sabran, always eager
to make himself useful,
'had quickly improvised
a kitchen in the stern.
'He had found an empty petrol tin,
which would serve as a grate,
'and in it, he had lit a wood fire.'
The trip took nearly three weeks.
We lived entirely on boiled rice.
The fish that we were going
to have was non-existent.
We said, "Where's your fishing
tackle?" This was early on.
"Why aren't you fishing?"
He said, "I'm no fisherman."
'To the south of us stretched
the mountainous coast of Flores.
'Somewhere, 200 miles ahead,
lay Komodo.
'The wind was strong and fair
and we were making a good four knots
'through the brilliant
clear blue sea.'
And I then said to the captain,
"How long will it be
before we get to Komodo?"
And the captain said, "Tidak tahu,"
which means "I don't know".
The only map we had
was the airline map
and Komodo was rather smaller
than a full stop,
a little dot on the western end.
And he looked at this map
and he said, "Where are we?"
An awful thought struck me.
I said, "You have been to
Komodo before, haven't you?"
He said, "Belum,"
and I didn't know what that meant,
so I had to go down to the hold
and get out my little Indonesian
dictionary and it said
"belum - not yet".
So he had no idea
where we were going.
We said to him, "Are you sure
you know where you are?"
And he said, "We are there,"
and he pointed to Borneo,
which was probably about
1,000 miles away from us.
'It was very hot in the blazing sun
and Hasan draped his sarong over
'his head to protect
him from the heat.
'And we had nothing to do
but to lie on deck
'and wonder what lay ahead of us
in Komodo.
'Our fresh water was stored
in this earthenware jar,
'lashed to the tiny cabin.
it got very hot in the sun.'
It could have been soup
because it had nothing
but mosquito larvae wriggling in it.
'But nonetheless,
it was quite refreshing.'
This just went on and on and on
and we were hungry,
sleeping out on deck, mosquitoes.
So it was in the evening and it was
blowing quite a gale, actually,
and so I said to the captain,
"I think we go this way now."
But the sea rose and it rose
and it got darker and it got darker
and it became quite dangerous.
And suddenly, we were in whirlpools.
And the waves were tremendous.
What were we going to do?
The water was going round,
the ship was going round.
You could see
the sort of fangs of coral,
rocks, in the middle
of this whirlpool.
So we were poling away
and it's pouring with rain.
Quite honestly, neither of us
were sure that we would ever
see each other again.
Unfortunately, we weren't to show
any of this on television
because of course,
we weren't filming.
Charles wasn't filming, Charles was
poling away like the rest of us.
It was that dicey.
And the captain was saying
things like,
"Setengah mati, setengah mati!"
He's saying, "I'm half dead!
Setengah mati!"
And finally, about four o'clock
in the morning, just before dawn,
we managed to get
out of the whirlpool area
and into calmer
waters in a little bay.
'So, at last, we sailed safely
into the wide, calm bay of Komodo.
'The island looked most exciting,
as we sailed close by its shores.
'Brilliant white
beaches of coral sand,
'clumps of bush near the water's
edge, and above them,
'gaunt, bare, volcanic hills,
covered in sunburnt brown grass,
'with a few palm trees
here and there.
'This was the home of the dragon,
which we'd come so far to see.
'We were so happy and relieved
to have arrived after such a long
'and tricky voyage that to our eyes,
the village seemed a real paradise.
'The Petinggi, or headman, was
sitting on the steps of his house.
'He welcomed us very kindly
and invited us inside.'
And the chief, the Petinggi,
gave us a little feast and during
that, he said, "You know, that
captain of yours is not a good man."
"He's actually a gun runner."
"He's been smuggling guns
to rebels in Sulawesi"
"and the navy is after him."
That's why he was the only
person in the harbour.
All the rest were out fishing.
With a lucky escape behind them,
the team continued on their quest.
This time with the added
ingredient of dragon bait.
'We walked, carrying the two goats,
with our cameras
'and recording equipment, ready for
this final stage in our expedition.'
The Komodo dragons had never been
filmed, at least not professionally.
And this was going to be a top draw
if we got pictures of one.
The only problem was that
there was not a lot of light.
There was quite heavy bush there.
It was too dark,
according to Charles, for us
to use our colour stock, so we had
to film it in black and white.
we had to set about building a trap.
'All the materials
you need to make it can be
'obtained in the forest itself.'
They attached the trap door to
a simple trigger mechanism,
using a rope.
'He put a piece of
goat's flesh inside
'and then shrouded that end
with palm leaves.'
'We waited, but not for long.
Within half an hour, there was
'a rustle in the bush
and there was the dragon.
'This was tremendously
exciting for us.
'Our first sight of this
magnificent monster,
'the climax of four months
of arduous travel.
'He was enormous.
'As he circled us, flicking
out his great yellow tongue,
'he looked almost as though he had
walked out of some prehistoric age.'
This enormous monster, the size
of a really big crocodile, appeared,
sniffed the air and eventually,
it went in after this dead goat.
'And down came the door.
we piled boulders on the door,
'so that he couldn't lift it up.
'We had got him.'
But we didn't have the permit to
take it away, so we had to content
ourselves with just measuring it
and looking at it in close detail.
So, we let this first famous dragon
go and away it went into the bush.
We'd had to use
black and white negative stock
for this climax of the whole trip.
We thought we really ought to use
the colour negative stock too,
if we could dragons out in the open,
as indeed we did,
because on the island,
there are a lot of them.
It was, I think,
the first colour film taken
of a Komodo dragon in the wild.
Like the series before it, Zoo Quest
For A Dragon was another big hit.
The Zoo Quest expeditions
did a lot for me.
I never had to look for work again.
And David became a very
famous person
and it's Zoo Quest
who made him that.
And Charles and David have
remained lifelong friends.
They were good days
and I wouldn't change them.
I think when you're 28, you do
things rather differently from
when you're 88, and you do silly
things, which we undoubtedly did.
Looking back,
I don't think you would let two kids
in their 20s just go off like that
and nobody asked us anything about
health and safety or anything else.
I mean, we just disappeared and
they said, "When will you be back?"
"Ooh, just before Christmas,
I think." "Righto, goodbye."
Happy days.
That was the end of our Zoo Quest.