Lost David Attenborough Color Footage From the 1950s Discovered
Back in the 1950s, naturalist David Attenborough was the young host of a popular nature television series called Zoo Quest. The show originally aired in black and white, and for years, everyone (including Attenborough) assumed it had been filmed on black-and-white film stock as well. But, it turns out, deep in the BBC Natural History Unit archives, beautiful color footage of the show had been stashed, forgotten for decades.
Engadget reports that the color film from Zoo Quest was left in film canisters marked with labels that simply read “Attenborough.” For years, they were overlooked, until a BBC archivist, very recently, stumbled upon them. "The most experienced archive researcher who's been here 30 years didn't know about them," Miles Barton, Attenborough's filmmaking partner, told Engadget. "They were uncatalogued and unlabelled. I find it unbelievable myself. I was totally amazed."
The BBC is editing the newfound color footage into a 90-minute documentary special called Zoo Quest in Color, which will feature all new commentary from Attenborough and cameraman Charles Lagus (the duo are pictured in the photo above, about to embark on a Zoo Quest journey to New Guinea in 1957), and will air on BBC Four in May. Check out the classic Zoo Quest clip below, in which Attenborough cares for an adorable baby bear, and imagine how magnificent it will be to see that same footage restored and in color in just a few short weeks.