David Attenborough's 'Zoo Quest in Colour' Brings the 1950s Nature Documentary to Life

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This article is a part of KCET and Link TV's “Summer of the Environment,” which offers a robust library of content on multiple platforms from June-August intended to ignite compassion and action for helping to save and heal our planet.

Watch "Zoo Quest in Colour" on Tuesday, May 23 at 9:00 p.m. on KCET. See more airdates.


BBC's "Zoo Quest" took 1950s viewers around the world, hosted by a young David Attenborough and cementing his leading role in television nature documentaries. The program ran from 1954 to 1963 in black and white, but in 2015 a BBC archivist discovered that the programs had actually been shot on color film. "Zoo Quest in Colour" features highlights from the first three episodes, remastered and shown in color for the first time. Attenborough visits the people, fauna and flora of South America, West Africa, and Komodo.

Use the image sliders below to reveal the incredibly rich color and quality added to these 1950s images.

Boat - Grayscale
Boat - Color
Boat - Color, by brezvani
Chameleon - Grayscale

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Chameleon - Color
Person - Grayscale
Person - Color
Larva - Grayscale
Larva - Color
People - Grayscale
People - Color
Praying Mantis - Grayscale
Praying Mantis - Color