Documentary exploring how, in the 1960s, the British people fell in love with animals and how endangered species and wildlife protection became an intrinsic part of our culture.
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We've all been taught to see the '60s as a wild decade, a time of sexual and cultural revolution.
But it was also a time when another revolution was happening,
when our attitudes to animals and nature were completely transformed.
As television took off, a new world of exotic creatures started to enter
our lives, and a new respect and reverence began to grow.
That relationship between man and animal completely changed.
People were just ready to start thinking a little bit more widely about animals.
Writers like Gavin Maxwell and Gerald Durrell helped us to appreciate and value animals.
Pioneers such as Joy Adamson, and her life with lions, and Jane Goodall, with her
research on primates, showed us that animals had something to teach us.
We're not separate from the animal kingdom.
We don't rule over it, but we're part of it. That was something new.
Before the '60s, the British public knew very little about wildlife protection.
Groups such as the World Wildlife Fund or campaigns to save the whale didn't exist.
In fact, the very idea that animals might be endangered came as a big shock to us.
That was a big wake-up call.
Yes, it was a big change of attitude.
As our interest in animals grew, so did our awareness
of their surroundings and the natural world around us.
And a new word began to be used - the environment, a word hardly recognised before the '60s.
The idea of "the environment" as a way of talking about what surrounds you was novel.
It is stunning, the transformation in attitudes.
In fact it's one of the great untold stories of British social and cultural history.
This is the untold story of how we fell in love with animals,
of how we grew to understand our relationship with the natural world. This is the other story of the '60s,
of When Britain Went Wild.
The change in our attitudes to the natural world
was long in the making, but the post-war years were key.
At that time, few people were engaged with nature or wildlife.
In fact, very little had changed since the colonial days,
when protecting animals was all about preserving hunting stocks.
But there was one man who would change all that.
Peter Scott was the public face of a new movement and the driving force
behind the first-ever mass membership wildlife group.
He encouraged a love for, and a fascination with, the wild,
which would inspire a generation into caring for animals.
I think David Attenborough has said,
if there was to be a patron saint of conservation in Britain,
it would be Peter Scott. He was a remarkable man.
Very difficult to find someone,
certainly in this country,
who was anywhere near as influential as Peter.
Of course there were a lot of people behind the scenes,
but in terms of public presentation, Peter was incomparable.
Peter Scott was born into a family of an elite class of Englishmen from an earlier age.
His father, Robert Scott, was a very British hero. Better known as Scott of the Antarctic,
he had died in his attempt to be the first man to the South Pole when Peter was just two years old.
Such a background of wealth and privilege was common among many of the early naturalists.
Peter Scott enjoyed the great outdoors.
Although we may now find this surprising, he was a passionate hunter.
I think there's an instinct within us,
which goes back to our forefathers who had to kill to eat,
and I think it's still there.
And I'm bound to say that I passed through a period,
and I hate remembering it,
but I don't want to cover it up because it's true.
It was a time when I really took great delight
in successfully killing.
I... I... I...
I hate to think it was so, but it was so.
In our generation, that wasn't an odd thing to do.
A lot of the people most interested in conservation and wildlife
were in fact people who'd been brought up in the country
and shooting was absolutely part of ordinary life.
That route, although it does seem strange,
is a route that many others have followed. It works for people.
It's something which someone coming from a very different background,
not as a hunter but perhaps as a city-dwelling nature lover, might find inexplicable.
But the truth of the matter is that there are lots of hunters who have become conservationists.
It was through hunting that Scott developed his keen interest in wildlife,
but his conversion was a turning point in his life.
He gave a very poignant account
of his conversion.
He describes in his book, The Eye Of The Wind, how he shot a goose
and it was wounded - it broke its legs.
It was out on the mudflats and nobody could get to it.
It was there that morning and then it was there the same afternoon when they went back
and it was there the next day.
He decided that, you know,
he didn't enjoy this and he didn't want to do this any more.
So he switched from being primarily a hunter
to studying their behaviour and eventually of course to conservation.
Scott, the hunter-turned-conservationist,
fell in love with the wetlands of the Severn Estuary and, in 1946,
he set about creating a sanctuary for wild and endangered birds.
It became the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.
First of all, they lived in a little cottage.
There was a little cottage on the estate there,
the part that they bought.
Then they built this spectacular low red-brick house,
which had this enormous window looking out over the pond,
with wild ducks coming in and landing practically in front of you, you know - "splash"!
Scott was convinced that people would share his passion for wildlife, and Slimbridge was unique
in letting them get close to the birds.
It was another great thing about Peter Scott, that he realised that the environmental movement
was about bringing people to see wildlife, to get excited by it, showing them the wonders
and complexity of the natural world, and getting them enthused and passionate and engaged with it.
I was very small when it was set up.
It was all a lot barer.
There was much less growth.
The people were allowed everywhere.
People were allowed into this pen as well.
That was an interesting concept, that we had our meals overlooked by the public!
If they would look in with binoculars, sometimes we'd look back at them with binoculars.
It was a wonderful place to grow up.
I mean, we had the freedom of the pens.
We had the ability to roam anywhere
and enjoy the birds. It was fantastic, and I remember going out
with my little box camera, being so excited that I could get pictures of birds really, really close.
The success of Slimbridge was helped by Scott's connections.
He even asked the then Princess Elizabeth
to bring some rare trumpeter swans back from Canada, which she did.
But then he had always mixed in very influential circles.
Right from a child, he was well-connected,
because his mother was really quite a social person,
and she knew all sorts of people in government and elsewhere.
She introduced my father to all sorts of interesting people.
Of course, he was already and Olympic skater and a yachtsman, and all the other things that he did.
So his skills helped him to meet these people with his own confidence that he could do things.
Peter Scott was able to draw on the family history, if you like,
and reinvent that in terms of his passion for wildlife conservation
at Slimbridge and all the rest of it.
There was something so archetypally English, British,
about what he was doing.
And did it with such eloquence and such a commanding understanding of the natural world.
And his love of it just communicated itself to people almost effortlessly.
"Even if you don't belong to such an organisation..."
This ability to communicate his passion had already been exploited on the radio,
where Scott presented several popular wildlife programmes.
But it was television which would make him a household name.
It was producers at the newly-formed Natural History Unit in Bristol
who would discover Scott's talent for the screen.
We'll show his mask,
a little turned-up bill...
We went along to see him do this lecture.
He stood up on the stage, he talked to the people - he had them in the palm of his hand.
He had a big blackboard on the stage, and he sort of drew his ducks.
And then he showed little bits of film, short squirts of film on a big screen there.
And we went back home and said,
"It's just television!"
The programme Look was first broadcast in 1955,
and would run for a further 26 years.
And there you see my studio window on the left there,
and just inside is where I am, sitting and talking to you now.
This rare early recording shows how some of the first Look programmes
were broadcast live from Peter Scott's house at Slimbridge.
On the easel here is a picture I haven't really quite finished, actually.
It's a picture I've been painting. And it shows some pintails,
which are British ducks, flying across in front of this very window. I mean, that is roughly speaking,
the view you have just been looking at, through the window, across the pond.
Now let's see if we can find something a bit more
typically British in the way of ducks out there on the pond.
We would have Peter sitting down in his studio, what was effectively his studio.
And he could be talking about the ducks the other side of the window,
and he could turn and draw the duck for you.
..part of the collection birds, and put them into this enclosure here.
This was his secret weapon, really,
the fact that he could talk intelligently
about these beautiful birds,
but also do drawings to make a particular point.
-# You're gonna find me
-# Out in the country
It's difficult for a daughter to say, but I think that he was very charismatic.
He was very articulate, so he explained things very clearly.
Certainly, it was new, it was a different thing.
Wildlife hadn't been shown in that way at all before.
# Ba-ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba-ba... #
I remember all the lights. There's much less lighting now,
cos it was very hot, I remember, when the lights were on.
And us children used to sit in the background.
It was always a big event, lot and lots of wires.
Yeah, I do remember.
George, the golden eagle is fairly secure.
It's still a rare bird, but it's fairly secure in Scotland.
Peter Scott took to television like one of his ducks to water.
And Look enjoyed unrivalled success with an ever-increasing audience.
And perhaps I should explain that these are only the highlights that you've seen of a very much longer...
Peter was a lovely man. He was very easy to work with, certainly.
But everything had to go his way.
If there was any kind of problem, and things weren't going nicely,
he would be inclined to stamp his feet
and have a little bit of a tantrum.
But always in the interest of the job that you were involved in.
And his job, as he saw it, was to persuade people
that wildlife needed to be protected.
Well, if we decide that we have got a responsibility
to prevent animals from becoming extinct, what can we do about it?
Well, in extreme cases we can, and I think we should,
take into captivity a proportion of the population
into some zoo, park or reserve,
and try and breed them there and build up the stock.
Now, here at the Wildfowl Trust, we have done that with several species.
We have particularly had some success with the nene,
or Hawaiian goose.
Long before it became widely acknowledged,
Peter Scott recognised the importance of conserving wildlife.
He was also aware that engaging the public in this battle was crucial.
Scott was one of a handful of people who realised that television
would become one of the most important tools
in persuading people to care about animals.
TV CAMERA BEEPS AND FILM SPOOLS
'Keep it quiet, please. Stand by.'
In the mid-'50s, television was a completely new medium, but it was one
which lent itself to engaging the British in a love of wildlife.
There were two kinds of television programmes.
The first and original kind of animal programme
was one in which animals are brought from the London Zoo
in the middle of the night, stuck on a table,
and a man from London Zoo said, "This is..." whatever it was.
And this poor creature sitting there, blinking in the sunlight,
before it was stuffed back into a sack and taken away.
We're going to show you some of our special favourites from the zoo. The first being Peter, a chimpanzee.
The next one we're showing you is a cockatoo named Old Bill.
-Come and shake hands!
-Come and shake hands.
I watched avidly. It was exciting. You saw animals
you'd never seen before,
it might bite the person who was handling it,
or escape or pee down his front or those sort of things.
So it was live television.
Well, I've got a handful here! And hello, how are you?
And then there was a couple called Armand and Michaela Denis.
The title of our first chapter today is Search For Gertie.
-You had better explain who Gertie is.
Travellers' Tales, with Michaela and Armand Denis, was a big departure
from studio-based programmes and hugely popular in the '50s.
..no idea where this photograph had been taken,
or if this animal was still alive.
Then one day, an old Tanganyika settler started talking to me
about a rhinocerous he knew,
in the old Amboseli Game Reserve.
Armand and Michaela had been filming in East Africa for a long time.
They actually put together a feature film.
And in order to get publicity for the feature film, they also took
the outtakes and made a 30-minute trailer which gave it publicity.
And the BBC put it on and it was sensational.
Everybody went, "Gosh, look! Elephants, ooh!"
Fabulous. And so those were the two things.
But it didn't have the immediacy that the zoo programmes had.
And hello, how are you?
The problem with the zoo programmes
was that they showed animals out of their ecological context.
And I thought, "Wouldn't it be great
"if we combined the two qualities of those things?"
The live show of the animal that's on the table, but also a film.
So I cooked up an idea that someone from the zoo and I should go together
to catch animals for London Zoo, which is what zoos did in the 1950s.
This is the story of a search for a dragon.
The island on which it lives lies in Indonesia.
We were going to try and film and collect some of the other interesting creatures,
which we hoped to find on our way.
Lizards of all sorts were very common around the village.
And one of the commonest, and in many ways the loveliest, I saw in this small tree.
It is a Tokay gecko.
And here he is in the studio.
He's about, er...
..nine inches long.
Quite a big gecko, as geckos go.
And quite a fierce one.
He lives on frogs,
mice, lizards, and even young birds.
Yes, I mean it's a mercy that nobody ever sees those programmes any more.
I wouldn't mind if the BBC lost them!
They're pretty crude programmes.
I mean, there are sequences in it
which are attempts at decent natural history filming.
'After less than two hours, which we thought wasn't bad going,
'we came at last to the village,
'one enormous house, over a hundred yards long,
'in which all the villagers live.'
It's very hard for us now actually to imagine
just how incredible it would have been to be one of the first viewers of something like Zoo Quest.
A programme like that, where people who have never travelled
outside the United Kingdom,
who maybe have never travelled outside their own town, you know.
They might have lived in Bradford all their lives.
'As I walked past them,
'I discovered that this temple was sacred to the cave's inhabitants.
'Millions of millions of bats.'
And a programme like Zoo Quest, which brings you face-to-face with things like a Komodo dragon...
There was the dragon. This was tremendously exciting for us.
Something that you could never envisage seeing otherwise.
It's impossible to overestimate the impact of something like that, because it really brings
the great variety of the planet into your living room.
Before the '50s, it would have been inconceivable.
So it had an enormous impact in awakening people
to the huge variety of wildlife around the world.
But also, of bringing to people's attention
the extent to which it was endangered and under threat,
and so on. So I think those first wildlife shows,
in the '50s and '60s, were absolutely crucial
in stimulating people's environmental interests.
As the public's appetite to see wild animals on the screen grew,
so did the ambition of the film-makers,
as they explored more and more of the natural world.
Hans and Lotte Hass gave the audience a taste
of their exotic underwater adventures.
'One of our tasks was to get photographs in true colour
'of the many varieties of coral fish in the Red Sea.
'Quite a task.'
There was this Austrian couple with a dream life.
I mean, this wonderful schooner,
sailing the south sea.
The Xarifa, it was called.
And there was a most beautiful blonde girl in a tight white swimming suit,
who was continually diving over the side and swimming down, grappling with a monster from the deep.
And Hans with his beard, "Lotte is going to do this," and so on.
Riveting. I mean, I couldn't wait until the next week.
They were before Cousteau appeared on television.
And they, as far as the British television viewer was concerned,
that was the first time you'd seen under the waves.
That was the first time you'd seen a coral, that was the first time you'd seen a shark underwater.
Wow! I mean, amazing.
Here's one waterproof case
which I developed for an ordinary twin-lens reflex camera.
And that's my camera. It's smaller and handier for the shots I like to take.
Hans and Lotte Hass
were like the Fanny and Johnnie Cradock
of the underwater world, really.
It was almost as much watching the pair of them interact,
watching the human species was as interesting as watching the underwater films.
But, of course, they brought underwater films
to everybody's front room for the first time ever.
'This is my special friend, the puffer fish.
'Wherever I dive, it's not long before it joins me.'
I worked with Hans for 18 months on Diving to Adventure.
He wasn't great on his writing.
And Johnny Morris, who I was working with at that time,
we got Johnny in to do some rewriting on his material.
You have to get him into focus, and think about all the other...
Hans absolutely loved to bring God into it. He would be in with a very beautiful underwater scene,
and he would like to say,
"Here, in this underwater scene with this beautiful coral,
"we feel very close to God." You see?
And we were not so keen on this.
And Johnny would rewrite some of his stuff.
But he was great, Hans, a really good guy.
Although television at this time was in its infancy, the appetite for wildlife programmes was strong.
The British public was discovering it had a fascination for animals.
But it had yet to find a way of taking this beyond the screen.
# ..never break, never break never break, never break
# This heart of stone
# Oh, no, no, you'll never break... #
Relatively few people were committed to an interest in wildlife.
Societies didn't have big memberships. The RSPB was a relatively small society.
The British Trust for Ornithology was practically a handful of people, with very few members.
And it grew exponentially really, and I think largely because of television.
I believe those early television programmes opened people's eyes
to something they were already programmed for and hadn't realised.
As well as television, there were films being screened in cinemas
which started to challenge people's perceptions.
In 1966, the film of Joy Adamson's book, Born Free, became a blockbuster.
It told the story of how a British couple living in Africa
brought up a lion, eventually releasing it back into the wild.
The film starred Virginia McKenna and her husband, Bill Travers.
Based on a true story, it was unique in the near-documentary way the actors had to work with the animals.
It challenged the idea that a wild animal was something to be feared.
I think people's attitude towards wild animals, particularly lions,
of course, in this case, was changed by the story of 'Born Free'.
The relationship of two people with a wild lioness,
it was like a fantasy, and yet it wasn't a fantasy.
It was absolutely, probably one of the most truthfully-written stories,
I think, ever told,
about relationships between man and wild animal.
And I think it was so uplifting for people.
It opened so many doors for them.
We had these stereotypes.
We had the fierce wild animal and the human that's terribly afraid of it.
And this knocked away all those misconceptions.
'Soon her characteristic curiosity prevailed, and she enjoyed herself tremendously.'
In a scene such as this,
where Virginia and Bill even swim with the lion,
audiences were presented with a completely new concept.
For Virginia, the close relationship she had to build with the lions to make the film was a revelation.
There was just something about us being able to swim in the ocean with a lioness between us, you know...
was incredible. Absolutely incredible.
The making of Born Free had a lasting impact on Bill and Virginia.
Our life was completely changed from that moment onwards.
From that moment when we stepped onboard the boat in London
to sail to Mombasa with our children to make the film,
and we were pacing the deck reading books about lions,
because we didn't really know anything at all,
from that very moment, our life had changed forever.
Joy Adamson's work revealed how close we could get to wild animals.
There'd be another pioneering woman in the '60s,
who would take this even further.
a British researcher, spent years studying primates in the African jungle.
She opened a window onto their lives, which showed how much we have in common with them.
It gripped the public.
# For your love
# I'd give you everything and more and that's for sure
# For your love
# I'd bring you diamond rings and things right to your door... #
Jane Goodall is totally unique.
Here was this slight, pretty English girl,
going off into the jungle, as it were,
you know, absolutely on her own.
And I seem to recall that
she was the first scientist going to do this kind of research work
that gave her study animals names.
Before, they were just called by numbers or letters, or something.
But she gave them names.
So they were individuals with characters and personalities,
and of course that's what brought all of us into the story.
I think the Goodall and the Adamson effect was to make people realise
that the boundaries between human and animal were much more blurred.
I don't think people had really appreciated the extent to which
we were effectively part of the same kingdom, if you like.
And that you could have this relationship with an animal
which wasn't master-and-servant,
but it was that you're both participants in the natural world.
So, Joy Adamson raising the lion cub,
or Jane Goodall actually striking up almost relationships
with individual primates, it kind of...
It brings home to people the extent to which
we are not separate from the animal kingdom.
We don't rule over it, but we're part of it.
That was something new, that sense.
Their huge tails
hung down like bell ropes.
The idea that animals and humans might be equal partners in the natural world,
was also being explored in a new wave of literature, in stories which would influence a whole generation.
Gerald Durrell's books about animals were bestsellers across the world,
and even became part of the school curriculum in Britain.
He wrote his most famous book in 1956.
My Family And Other Animals describes his childhood on the island of Corfu,
and his adventures with a whole host of wildlife.
"Some 20 feet away from me,
"the sea seemed to part with a gentle swish and gurgle.
"A gleaming back appeared,
"gave a deep, satisfied sigh and sank below the surface again.
"I had hardly time to recognise it as a porpoise,
"before I found I was right in the midst of them.
"They rose all around me, sighing luxuriously,
"their black backs shining as they humped in the moonlight."
He made animals so accessible to people.
He was able somehow to get people,
and their personalities and feelings and emotions,
to connect with those of the animal,
if you can say animals have such things.
Some people said, "Oh, Gerry's writing's just anthropomorphic.
"He just gave human qualities to the animals he wrote about."
But he really didn't.
If you read it very closely, it's not sentimental.
It's just making the animals understood, and bringing out
sort of a connectivity between people and animals.
I think that's why Gerry's writings have been so influential.
There are so many people I meet today in the conservation world,
and what they're doing today, they tell me,
they owe to their first reading of Gerald Durrell's books,
particularly My Family And Other Animals.
It's not them and us, humans and animals.
The animals are given human characteristics, they're given personalities.
There, they are humanised in a way that makes them enormously appealing, and makes
them cute and cuddly and amusing, and all those kinds of things, that lead us to sympathise with them.
HE BRAYS LOUDLY
DISTANT, SIMILAR BRAYING
Gerry was huge fun to be with.
I mean, he was...
..full of humour, full of jokes.
And he loved animals.
Many people's views of wild animals come from the pages of books they discovered early in life.
Besides Durrell, there was another author writing at this time whose books influenced millions.
Gavin Maxwell became world famous for his semi-autobiographical book, Ring Of Bright Water.
Published in 1960, it told the story of his adventures living with a wild otter.
It would later be made into a film, once again starring Virginia McKenna.
Ring Of Bright Water
was complex, erm...
..written by a complex man...
..who had many dark periods in his life.
And not all the stories of the otters are that joyful.
it is this...
this joyfulness, it's the rapport that he had with his animals,
the affection he felt for them...
his extraordinary gift of description of nature.
The magic of his creative writing.
It's all about involving us, isn't it?
Allowing us to reach out and experience the things with the writer.
It's gathering us in so that we share these experiences.
And he was a master of that.
"He became for me the central figure
"among the host of wild creatures with which I was surrounded.
"The waterfall, the burn,
"the white beaches and the islands.
"His form became the familiar foreground to them all.
"Or perhaps foreground is not the right word.
"For at Camusfearna, he seemed so absolute a part of his surroundings,
"that I wondered how they could ever have seemed to me complete
"before his arrival."
I think it was his ability to capture
not just a sense of place
and of this sort of seemingly idyllic lifestyle,
but it was the personal connection with basically wild animals.
That idea that he could capture so lyrically that relationship
between man and beast was something I found hugely attractive.
I think Ring Of Bright Water was a component
of the way that we started to think about wild animals differently,
because it was the personal relationship,
like it was with the Adamsons and Elsa, it was Gavin with Mij.
And the possibility that these extraordinary relationships can happen.
I think what's crucial about these books,
the Gerald Durrell or the Gavin Maxwell,
is that they appeal to people
who, of course, don't live in the countryside.
They represent a kind of escapism, back to the land, back to the vanished England of hedgerows
and otters and all of this kind of thing.
They conjure up a world that most people, of course, wouldn't encounter in their daily lives.
So environmentalism has always had this kind of escapist aspect to it,
and I think books like these are able to bring in a mass audience,
they're not written for a tiny group of true believers,
they're written and they convert a mass audience
by not being preachy, and I think that's what made them so effective.
But for Gerald Durrell, his books were only part of the story.
They became a means to an end.
As his fame increased, he used his influence and money to try and change the very concept of the zoo.
We would shudder today at the sight of distressed animals behind bars,
but before the '60s, people didn't appreciate that wild animals might be suffering.
Zoos hadn't changed much since Victorian days.
At the time, most zoos really were just menageries, and their attitude
was just something we can't really fathom today.
No real respect for animals.
Another hangover from Victorian times, still evident in the '50s, was an obsession with collecting
and cataloguing specimens, as David Attenborough encountered during his Zoo Quest days.
The London Zoo was founded in the early 19th century,
and it wasn't founded as a zoo, it was founded as a Zoological Society.
And its primary aim was not necessarily to keep animals
to show people, it was to assemble specimens
of all the animals that you could find,
so it was still a hangover from the 19th-century cataloguing days.
So that it led to things that you would think absurd now.
There was a thing called the Small Mammal House, which was the size of,
I don't know, a large greenhouse.
And the cages were all exactly the same size, this size,
about that big,
and they had a little box at the back which was the nest box.
And you would go in and they all had all these names on it, you know,
the Gambian pouched rat, etc.
And you could probably see not a single animal, they were all asleep.
But that was of no consequence to the Zoological Society of London.
They wanted to catalogue it and describe its habits
while it's alive,
but they were particularly interested in having the dead body.
They had on staff a man called the prosector,
whose job it was to take these animals when they died
and dissect them and publish the results.
# Rescue me... #
As a young man, Gerald Durrell had been an animal collector for zoos.
He'd spend months travelling the world and catching animals to bring home.
-But as time went on, he became increasingly disillusioned.
# Come on and rescue me... #
There was the attitude,
"Well, there are plenty more where they came from."
And Gerry had just slaved and worked and tried to keep these creatures alive, and learned how to do it
for so many months and then just to hand them over, well, that drove him absolutely mad.
And I don't know when was the exact moment, but he decided,
"I'm not going to do this any more for anybody else,
"I'm going to develop and establish a place of my own as a sanctuary
"where I can actually help save these creatures as species,
"save species from extinction."
Long ago I decided that when I finally got a zoo of my own,
it would have to be able to do certain things.
It would act as a sanctuary for animals which were in danger in the wild.
And it would give people a chance of learning more about animals, both to increase their own knowledge
and to enable the animals to be looked after with much more skill.
Durrell was one of the first to promote the idea
of captive breeding, breeding endangered species in zoos and later releasing them back into the wild.
When he started to plan his own zoo in Jersey,
he looked to pioneer Peter Scott for inspiration and advice.
# Rescue me... #
Gerry had great regard and great respect for Peter.
And indeed when Peter set up the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust
in Gloucestershire, Gerry knew all about it and wrote to Peter
and wanted to model his own setup,
that eventually happened in Jersey, on Peter's.
Gerry, he loved animals but he also loved twisting the tail of authority.
He was not a man who was necessarily a respecter of persons or position.
He served his apprenticeship in London Zoo,
and was, and let it be known, perfectly clear
that he thought they were rubbish,
by and large, that they didn't know how to look after animals properly.
And that he was going to teach them.
# When you walk in the Garden... #
I thought he was mad.
# In the Garden of Eden... #
The London Zoo COST money, it didn't make money,
London Zoo COST, and here was Gerry, going to set it up.
I mean, like digging a hole in which to pour money.
# Does your heart understand?
# When you walk in the Garden... #
Gerry was the first to take seriously the possibility of breeding in zoos to replace in the wild.
It's a very big job to do that.
There's more to it than meets the eye with this business.
But he did it, you see. And he was extraordinarily persuasive,
and he persuaded people that this would be a wonderful thing,
which indeed it is, was and is.
# When you're yearning for loving and she touches your hand... #
Jersey Zoo became a role model for the way zoos are run,
and famous around the world as a centre for conservation.
But in the early days, it was a continual battle to finance the project.
Durrell raised funds with his writing
and from television appearances, where his natural talent was soon recognised.
I don't think we ought to go into that, Peter!
We ought, perhaps, to look at Patagonia on the big map.
Yes, I'd like to show you where we went, Peter.
'We were doing the Look programme at the time.'
I saw a thing in the newspaper that he'd just got back and he'd brought
a whole bunch of animals and was keeping them in Bournemouth.
So I found his telephone number, rang him up, and said, as I said
to all these other people in those days, "Have you got any film?
"Did you film while you were there?"
"Yes," he says. He had his Mickey Mouse camera, and he filmed the animals while he was away.
So I said, "Are you interested in the thought of being on telly?"
He said, "Yes, of course, I would love it,
"but they won't have me because they've got David Attenborough."
He was paranoid about David, you see, so I said, "Not necessarily."
We were knocked out by the thought of having Gerry,
'because Gerry Durrell was famous because of the book.'
This is the Tembeling river
in the centre of Malaya.
Jackie, my wife, and I are going up to see the National Park, the biggest
of Malaya's national parks, and it's a journey that takes about six hours by boat.
By this sort of boat, anyway.
I can see some rough water ahead.
Durrell went on to make
many hugely popular and successful television programmes,
drawing the audience in
with the same powers of description
that he'd used in his books.
You see that strange white throat that he keeps inflating?
Looks rather like the sail of a sailing ship?
It's a territory display, he's obviously warning off another male
who's wandered into his territory.
Though it doesn't look like it, it's actually a flying lizard.
The wings aren't really wings at all in the sense that a bird or a bat has wings.
They're rather like two sections of umbrella on each side of his body.
Thin skin supported by elongated rib bones.
Though he's called a flying lizard,
it would probably be more accurate to call him a gliding lizard.
If you wait long enough, you can sometimes see them performing.
Now, I think he's going to take off.
There, isn't that incredible?
'Gerry absolutely loved television and filming.'
He said if he hadn't been an animal collector for zoos,
he would've been a film-maker.
And he certainly saw that as a way to get the message across.
There were his books, of course,
but he loved being both behind the camera and in front of the camera,
and tried to do that as often as he could.
Television presenters such as Durrell and Peter Scott saw it as part of their duty
to raise people's awareness about the plight of endangered species around the world.
Television would be an essential tool in getting people to become
actively involved in wildlife issues and Scott used his Look series as a platform to voice concern about
animals in danger of becoming extinct.
This is a programme about the wild animals of the world,
their place in our lives today and their place in our lives tomorrow.
You see, comfortably at the back of our minds is the idea that out in Africa or India or somewhere,
there are still millions of these great wild animals roaming the jungles and deserts,
millions of lions, millions of elephants, millions of giraffes.
Well, it just isn't true.
There are probably today more lions in the world's zoos
than there are wild in Africa.
When someone like Peter Scott said,
"You know, don't you, all these are in danger?"
it did make you wake up.
But raising awareness at home wouldn't be enough.
Peter Scott needed to take his message to an international audience.
In 1961, Peter Scott joined a group of leading naturalists
at a conference held by the International Union for Conservation Of Nature.
They drew up a charter, stating that everyone had a responsibility
to protect endangered species for future generations.
Scott used his influence and public image to raise money
for the charter, helping to form the World Wildlife Fund.
A World Wildlife Charter
to meet what amounts to a state of emergency for wildlife,
and now we've got a World Wildlife Fund,
which is being launched to give it teeth.
Practically all the animals you've seen can be saved
for our children's grandchildren, if only we care enough.
It would be tragic, wouldn't it, if, through our own thoughtlessness, we destroyed them forever.
Peter Scott's ambition to set up the World Wildlife Fund,
was, I think, driven first of all by the idea that environment
and conservation and animals doesn't respect political frontiers,
that this was a global problem.
Birds migrate across political frontiers.
Animals migrate across political frontiers.
Scott was trying to see a wider picture of this on a global scale.
In pre-war times, in the days of the Empire, getting things done on a global scale was much easier.
Then, it was the elite of the day,
wanting to protect their hunting stock,
who could get laws forced through.
In 1903, a group of colonial hunters had established what was essentially the first
international conservation group for the preservation of wildlife.
I suppose back in 1903, when we were established,
we were the Society for the Preservation of the Wildlife
of the British Empire,
so that is a different precept to where we are today,
and we very much started off
as a group of people worrying that game animals were declining in Africa and that there was a need
to try to respond to this problem and to provide some limits to allow game species to recover.
They were very much from the elite classes, the people with the time and the money to take responsibility
for such things, and they were seeing that their recreational hunting was at risk.
# Wordlessly watching He waits by the window
# And wonders at the empty place inside... #
In a way, these sportsmen, these hunters,
were in such close contact with animals, as part of the hunt, the Imperial hunt, which was embedded
in a great deal of ritual, class and gender, they were intimately involved with the animals
they were shooting, and keenly aware of the decline of species, keenly aware of the loss of habitat.
They were known as The Repentant Butcher's Club because they had
put down guns and started to turn to conservation,
and they were the first people who agitated for game reserves,
and it was those game reserves that evolved later in the 20th century
in Africa and India as national parks.
With the gradual demise of the Empire came a loss of influence,
and by the late '50s, concern was growing among the wildlife gentry
that the newly-independent ex-colonies would not protect their national parks from poachers.
This was where the World Wildlife Fund came in, realising that, to raise enough money
to protect endangered species, they had to engage the widest-possible audience.
One of the leading figures in the British appeal
was a PR man who knew about advertising,
and he used all the techniques
which had made him so successful as a businessman
in the service of the charity.
He knew it had to have an emblem, he knew it had to have an icon,
he knew it would be at that stage,
in the public's mind, at any rate,
it ought to be furry and cuddly.
It ought to be something that you could give an image
which was immediately identifiable and easily reproduced.
All of those kind of practical things,
so it came down to a panda and Peter designed the panda.
Scott used his artistic skill and designed a simple but effective logo,
creating an iconic image which is still in use today.
I think it was perhaps the most obvious rallying call to the public
and Peter Scott's focus on the panda as a symbol of something that was worth saving,
that the individual man in the street could do something about it,
rather than something that was just under the control of governments.
The fact that you could sit in your homes and put £5 in an envelope
and know that you were doing something.
One of the first campaigns WWF ran in 1961 was for the plight of the black rhino.
Not only did they persuade the Daily Mirror to run the story,
but the paper carried it on its front page and for several pages inside.
# Since you went away
# I have been losing my sleep at night... #
It was an extraordinary coup
to get a newspaper to do that and I think it spoke to a particular way
of understanding nature, that was dominant in Britain - the concern for individual
animals who are being mistreated, isn't the same thing about concern for the rarity of species or a loss
of ecosystem structure, but it's the one that really strikes a chord with the British public, then.
And still does, so that it was an effective way of
introducing the wider problem of the loss of species, the loss of habitat.
# Bringin' on back the good times... #
The article about the rhino hit home with the public,
and tens of thousands of pounds was raised
from individual donations and local charity events.
What they did was to make themselves into a big membership organisation,
so that it was a small donation, and lots of people could do it
and in that, I think, was its power and its influence.
Just numbers of people, and they were attracted because the big animals,
the big, attractive animals were used.
That shows the power of using an animal as a kind of flagship
for further conservation efforts.
Elephants and rhinos are the things that really got people turned on
because they suddenly realised that there were these iconic animals
that were being slaughtered.
And this was why the World Wildlife Fund was able to take off and why it
started to get a lot of general support because people realised, "Wow, it does matter to me."
# Don't let me down
# Don't let me down... #
WWF had instant impact and raised large amounts of money, but while it increased awareness
of the threat of extinction posed to big animals abroad,
back home there was an invisible threat to wildlife which was only just beginning to be noticed.
Rural Britain, romanticised by poets and artists for centuries, was changing.
The birds that had graced the countryside for as long as people could remember
were becoming notable by their absence.
It's difficult now to picture it, but if you went out into the arable land in the Fens,
the place was littered with dead pigeons and partridges,
and it was obvious to anyone living in the country
that something awful was happening.
Norman Moore was one of the first people to realise that
the UK's wildlife was under threat from man-made chemicals.
He was one of a small group of scientists who had been given the task
of researching the impact of pesticides.
Quite early on I realised that
DDT and dieldrin, particularly dieldrin,
were really very dangerous things to have in the environment.
They were both highly persistent and that meant that
it was sprayed one year and it would remain in the soil a lot later.
These pesticides had a profound effect on one of the UK's favourite birds of prey.
And another keen naturalist, who'd spent years watching
the decline of peregrine falcons, Derek Ratcliffe, hit the news with his pioneering fieldwork.
The decline has been worse in the south of the country, with very few pairs remaining
in the south of England or Wales where there used to be good numbers.
His findings showed that sprayed crops were eaten by pigeons.
They, in turn, were consumed by peregrine falcons, with devastating results.
He estimated that more than half of their population had disappeared.
The pesticides had a sinister side effect - the falcons
started laying eggs with abnormally-thin shells, which easily broke.
Ratcliffe's study was welcomed in some circles,
but attacked by the authorities and had to be defended by scientists.
Well, a bird of prey has never done me much good -
why should I worry about it?
I don't think it's the bird of prey as a bird of prey that matters -
what matters is that the work on birds of prey
has shown that pesticides all over the Earth's surface
can accumulate and do harm to a species over very large areas.
And this I think is important.
The Ministry of Agriculture and things,
they didn't like it at all, what we were doing.
They had, they knew it was partially true anyhow,
but they wanted to tone it down altogether
and of course we were not at all going to tone it down altogether -
we wanted people to get involved and solve the problems.
Unlike today, people didn't fear pesticides.
In fact they saw them as modern saviours.
DDT was a life-saver!
During the Second World War, it saved God knows how many lives,
because it killed mosquitoes.
And mosquitoes were spreading malaria which was killing our troops.
And I shall never forget, as a child, DDT,
we thought it was fantastic, we thought it was a miracle, absolute miracle,
because it was doing all the things that nothing else had done -
that is, killing nasty bugs.
After the war they were still in popular use to improve food production.
Having endured years of austerity and food rationing,
the public were unwilling to hear that there might be a hidden cost to their new quality of life.
Most people, the vast majority of the general public, who are enjoying the benefits of cheaper food,
see only the good pesticides do.
So although there were signs,
I think by and large people were so enamoured of the bounties of science
and technology and industrialised agriculture,
I think people would have said, taken the attitude,
that a few dead birds was a tiny price to pay
for feeding the hungry, which is how it was perceived at the time.
'This is the American Dream...'
Technology was moving at an even faster pace in America,
feeding into the idea
that such advances all contributed to a better quality of life
and should be widely celebrated.
Pesticides such as DDT were seen as part of this new and prosperous era,
helping farmers to grow food much more successfully.
'Grasshopper control, leader, Wyoming.
'Be on guard for a possible outbreak.'
'Warning, state grasshopper control leader, Nevada, tremendous egg population, your state.'
'Montana, be on guard, possible grasshopper outbreak.'
'Texas, Arizona, Utah...'
'Airplanes chartered by ranchers, states and the federal government
'baited millions of acres of range land
'in the most heavily infested areas.
'Spraying insecticides that spell death to the invaders.'
But in 1962, a revolutionary book was published which would profoundly change this view.
'There was once a town in the heart of America
'where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings.
'Then a strange blight crept over the area and everything began to change.
'Some evil spell had settled on the community.
'Mysterious maladies swept the flocks of chickens.
'The cattle and sheep sickened and died.
'Everywhere was a shadow of death.
'There was a strange stillness.
'The birds, for example, where had they gone?
'It was a spring without voices.'
Rachel Carson was an American biologist and writer.
Her book, Silent Spring,
questioned the use of toxic chemicals in the countryside.
It had a huge effect on the public.
It was a public book about it.
It was very readable.
I knew Rachel Carson.
She was a very charismatic person,
and a very readable book.
It exaggerates in places but it's basically true.
I think added together, it will mean that unless we do
bring these chemicals under better control,
we're certainly heading for disaster.
Chemicals are the sinister and little recognised partners of radiation in changing
the very nature of the world, the very nature of its life.
These sprays, dust and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forest and homes.
Non-selective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect,
the good and the bad, to coat the leaves with a deadly film,
and to linger on in soil.
Can anyone believe it's possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons
on the surface of the Earth, without making it unfit for all life?
That was a seminal work at that time -
it was the first thing that brought that level of real concern
about what was happening, to attention,
and Rachel Carson managed to put together such
a convincing argument of things
that perhaps hadn't filtered through to the general consciousness before.
It was just in those sorts of days when we were beginning to wonder
about where our food came from and suddenly, you're thinking about what's happening to our rivers?
Where are all these things that are used to grow our crops,
what's happening to them, and what are the consequences?
# Where have all the flowers gone?
# A long time passing... #
Silent Spring catalogued
the widespread destruction of wildlife in America by pesticides.
But it was also about ecology - the relation of plants and animals
to their environment, and to one another.
Although today this is a well accepted principle,
in the early '60s it was leading-edge stuff.
Rachel Carson had to do a lot of the fieldwork herself.
There wasn't a huge body of literature that she could call on.
And that's why the agrochemicals companies went after her -
they said, who is this woman?
She's not a real scientist as we know a real scientist.
She's doing a lot of her own observational and measurement work,
and what does this tell us about anything?
And really went for the jugular in terms of her scientific credentials
and the fact she was a woman, of course.
Things were pretty crude in those days
and the agrochemicals companies had no compunction at all
in seeking to destroy her reputation, partly because she was a woman.
The major claims in Miss Rachel Carson's book,
Silent Spring, are gross distortions of the actual facts.
Completely unsupported by scientific experimental evidence and general,
practical experience in the field.
The real threat, then, to the survival of man,
is not chemical but biological
in the shape of hordes of insects that can denude our forests,
ravage our food supply
and leave in their wake a train of destitution and hunger.
If man were to faithfully follow the teachings of Miss Carson,
we would return to the Dark Ages, and the insects and diseases
and vermin would once again inherit the earth.
Silent Spring is one of a number of blows.
They kind of rain down on the reputation of scientific modernism.
there had been this absolutely uncritical,
almost kind of gushing worship of science and technology.
And what Silent Spring does,
it's the first kind of dent in modernisation's reputation.
It expresses, I think, the anxieties of people that things had got out of control, had gone too far,
and all this progress,
which has changed the lives of millions of people,
has not come without cost.
And what happens in the '60s
is that people, for the first time, realise what the costs really are.
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring set in motion a new spirit of activism,
when an interest in animals would change
from passively watching them on television
to actively campaigning for their welfare.
The '60s was a decade of protests
which fed directly into the wildlife protection movement.
Just as people had been shocked by newspaper pictures
showing the plight of the rhino,
they were now angry about images of seal culling.
# Wild Thing I think you move me. #
Few people will rally to protect you
if you are an ugly and unattractive animal.
The conservation movement in the 1960s and 1970s certainly
selected certain iconic species - giant pandas, mountain gorillas,
and seals, which became totemic species.
They became hugely powerful recruiting tools
for the environmental organisations
and conservation organisations of this period.
In some ways, because people identified with them.
People almost identify human qualities in them.
As seal culls were taking place on the Farne Islands,
and in the far north of Scotland, on Orkney and Shetland,
so the public began to get more angry and disenchanted
and dissatisfied and uncomfortable
with the fact that we were culling such a beautiful animal.
This has been one of the great sea changes in British society.
In fact it's one of the great untold stories
of British social and cultural history - the way that we have rallied,
over the 20th century, decade by decade,
to protect certain iconic species that we have decided
have value, and we cherish and we want to interact with
and we want to know are doing well
out there in the wider natural world.
Unlike WWF's rhino campaign in 1961, where people were happy to send
money from the comfort of their own homes, animal welfare had moved on.
And, for some, it was now about getting up and doing something.
# Call out the instigator
# Because there's something in the air
# We got to get together sooner or later
# Because the revolution's here... #
This new kind of activist had cut their teeth
on the anti-nuclear protests of the late '50s and early '60s.
They had found a new freedom - the right to stand up and be counted.
At the beginning of the '50s
there was still quite a strong obedience in the British nation.
They were used to being led by the upper classes,
used to being led with a degree of discipline during the war.
And it was only really in the late '50s and early '60s
that the absolute right to question and rebel
was enshrined in British life.
We campaigned against apartheid and nuclear weapons
and we campaigned against this, that and the next thing.
It was the age of protest.
And that also helped take the conservation movement forward.
The sense that people felt
they were free to express their opinions.
It's that collectiveness which give you such a feeling
of, "I can say something, my voice will make a difference.
"They must listen. Look at us all, how many we are here."
And that's probably what people felt at that time.
While the demonstrators were only a small section of society,
the animal campaigns were attracting a wider range of people.
Environmentalism has always suffered
from the image of being a very precious, middle-class activity.
Now, clearly in the '60s you did have a change,
in that it slightly stopped been the province
of late middle-aged men with beards, and became a young person's thing,
and it became what I would see
as a move from the upper-middle class to lower middle-class.
They're not from the very bottom of society
but they're not from the top.
And these people were often burning with righteous anger.
They want to bring something new,
they want to tear down the old order, they want change now.
And they take that activist energy
and channel it into the ecological movement.
The animal protests of the '60s had attracted
a different type of follower but essentially it was still a movement for a minority of people.
However, towards the end of the decade
there would be in an ecological disaster
that would change everybody's outlook.
On 18th March 1967, one of the World's first supertankers crashed
on to rocks just off Land's End.
The Torrey Canyon was carrying a cargo of 120,000 tonnes of crude oil.
The image of oiled birds
becomes very vivid immediately
when you mention the word, Torrey Canyon.
It's a doomsday scenario coming true.
And it's happened not in America or on the other side of the world
but right on our front doorstep.
And when you have all these birds covered black with oil,
it sort of presses a very British button, if you like,
which is the cute and cuddly natural world,
which we have polluted, which we have ruined and destroyed,
and that's a very powerful image.
It was a very big thing, yes.
And it had a very important impact on the public.
I think it was a big shock.
Looking back on it now, of course,
it was a pinprick compared with what is happening
in the Gulf of Mexico.
Those images were just astonishing.
And again, it's so intriguing
that over the years,
the things that changed people's minds about this
is the moment where something that was invisible becomes visible.
Where that which was largely under the radar, just tripping along
with people either conniving in, or actively comfortable about,
a particular pattern of environmental damage,
suddenly goes public, goes live, goes very visible.
And the Torrey Canyon undoubtedly was one of those moments
where people thought, "Wow, that's the dark side of the oil economy, that's one of the consequences."
An early recognition
that all the benefits that came through the widespread use
of relatively cheap hydrocarbons
- which they were in the '60s and '70s -
that there was a downside, a dark side, to that.
And certainly those images brought it,
for the first time, into people's lives.
The Government called in the forces to deal with the disaster.
It was treated as a full-blown military operation.
Though it was an enemy people knew little about.
'The south-west coast was a battle area.
'Civilians, 2,000 soldiers and Royal Marines
'grappled with the stupendous task of trying to fight off the oil.
'Enormous quantities of detergent were brought to the area.
'A small defence indeed against an estimated 50,000 tonnes of crude oil
'already floating on the sea.
'But with the mass of mobile pumping machinery now assembled,
'it was the only remedy available on the shore.'
They had to deal with the oil on the beaches
because politicians especially have to be seen to be doing something.
Although in retrospect it's pretty clear
that they should have done nothing
and just let the oil sit on the beach
because in a very few months it would be gone.
In real life they came down and poured detergent,
vast quantities of this detergent, all along the beaches.
'Every tide left a thick covering of oil, to which detergent was applied with all speed.
'The lovely beaches of Cornwall, the delight of holiday making millions
'would not be sacrificed without a struggle.'
In a desperate attempt to staunch the oil from the wrecked tanker,
the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson,
even called in the RAF to bomb the vessel,
hoping the oil could be burnt off.
Although this action looked spectacular,
most of the ship's cargo
had already been lost and the damage had been done.
# Time it was and what a time it was, it was
# A time of innocence
# A time of confidence ebbed... #
It was the worst possible time of year for the breeding auks.
We were getting guillemots especially and razorbills
and gannets coming ashore on the beaches.
People were setting up bird rescue stations all over west Cornwall.
Hairdressers were doing this especially
because they had the equipment.
For giving them shampoos.
Many of our greatest conservationists
who would build their careers in the 1970s and 1980s,
cut their teeth, if you like, became angered about what they
were seeing with the sea birds and Torrey Canyon
and rushed down to help and clean birds.
We quickly realised it was easy to get the oil off them with detergent.
The problem was to get them back so that they had the natural grease on their feathers
so that they could fly again.
And any number of birds were treated and then put back in the sea to die.
Torrey Canyon flagged up one important thing - who on earth
in Britain was responsible for an environmental disaster?
Which government department? Which group of civil servants?
Nobody knew who was responsible for something like this.
So it led to the standing Royal Commission on Environmental pollution in 1970.
It led also to the establishment of the world's first
Department for the Environment.
# You can't always get what you want... #
The devastation had rocked the British public
and the Government's reaction in creating
the Department of the Environment
marked a sea-change in the way we as a nation
put value on our wildlife.
# But if you try some time
# You might find you get what you need... #
The creation of a department of state for the environment,
the idea that that should be given importance alongside defence
and agriculture, that sort of shift was quite radical at the time.
Torrey Canyon brought home to people for the first time
in a visceral way, it's not a book, it's not Silent Spring,
it's something that is in the news day after day,
it brought home to people just the risks of our obsession with oil,
with economic progress and growth
and with technological change and all those kinds of things
and it made you realise,
you know, we did this damage -
it is not something that the world inflicted upon itself, we did it.
The awareness of how vulnerable our planet really is became even more apparent in 1968.
But this wasn't due to a disaster -
it was thanks to a technological breakthrough.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, zero. All engines are on. Lift off!
We have a lift off. 32 minutes past the hour.
People back on Earth,
the crew of Apollo 8 have a message that we would like to send to you.
The shots taken from Apollo 8 were the first time anyone
had seen the Earth from outer space
and the images brought the fragility of our planet into sharp relief.
I think the first pictures from space, people were astounded
and, I hope, made a bit humble.
We are not the biggest, greatest beings in the universe
because we couldn't get out of it and look back at ourselves.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the Earth was without form.
Those pictures people see of the little blue ball
spinning in the darkness of space, weren't part of the mission plan
but I think they did generate this sense
that the world was not of infinite size and therefore
it needed to be thought of as something that could be managed.
And God said, "let there be light", and there was light.
It fostered an idea of Spaceship Earth, of a common future.
It fostered a powerful idea of us all being in this together.
It showed us that we didn't have anywhere else to go
if we messed up this planet.
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night,
good luck, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.
The Apollo 8 pictures contributed
to the idea of one world,
a world shared by people, all species of animals,
It was an inspiration for the first ever Earth Day.
In 1970, millions of people gathered on streets across America
in what was one of the largest
environmental demonstrations in history.
I think that by the 1970s, people had started to realise
that some of the most important issues were environmental issues.
They started to realise, just as they do now
with climate change, that these are possibly THE most important issues.
We didn't really know what we were doing, with sort of marches
and banners, you know, those sorts of things that you did in the '60s.
But it was to try to generate an awareness and appreciation
of the web of life, as we said back then, of the interconnectedness
of all living beings and their physical environment.
That was the whole point of that,
was to bring that to more and more people.
It seemed there was no stopping this tide of feeling,
and awareness of nature and wildlife was now part of our daily lives.
# Words are flowing out... #
It was stunning, the transformation of attitudes.
Environmental issues were on the front pages in the early '70s
in a way they just weren't in the early '60s.
People talk about environmental issues, people are interested
in the environment and the natural world and wildlife and so on.
But there's also, I think, a much deeper change, beyond the headlines
and that is that you have had a complete cultural transformation
from the early '60s when there was this absolutely, almost unthinking
worship of science and technology.
Now, by the early '70s that had almost completely collapsed.
For the first time people have realised the costs
that progress brings with it.
This change was reflected on television.
In 1970, the BBC commissioned a hugely popular TV drama, Doom Watch.
It covered themes like pesticides and chemical leaks.
It portrayed science,
technology and big business as potentially sinister.
Is this happening anywhere else?
Do you know, I shouldn't be at all surprised if this is a pesticide spray?
Doomwatch is not a programme that would have been conceivable in the early '60s.
It wouldn't have been commissioned.
And the reason is because popular television, popular entertainment,
generally reflected scientific optimism rather than pessimism.
My department is interested in pesticides.
But by the early '70s there's been a complete change.
Because I'm going to make sure that everybody sees you for what you are!
We want to do a programme that 10 million people will watch.
It's about precisely the opposite,
it's about the dangers of science and industrialisation
and the threat posed by big business.
These are quite radical themes but it's a sign of how mainstream
they have become that something like Doom Watch could be made
as early as 1970.
Doom Watch showed how much wider wildlife issues had become.
Conservation groups were no longer confined to a small, elite group
and, by the early 70s there were
new organisations being set up to appeal to all ages and interests.
The thing that the new campaigns around Friends of the Earth
and Greenpeace did is to get into the thoughts and ideas of young people.
And I think that was one of the biggest impacts they had,
was that this stuff became much more interesting to young people.
# How many roads must a man walk down... #
By the end of the '60s, people from all spectrums of society
had changed their attitudes towards animals and the natural world.
Early television programmes and books had captured their imagination
and helped inspire a new reverence and respect for the wild.
Pioneers such as Peter Scott had tapped into this,
persuading the public that
protecting species did matter and that we could all contribute.
Saving animals was no longer just about individual species -
it was about their habitat,
the interconnectedness of all living things
and, ultimately, caring for the whole planet.
# How many years must a mountain exist
# Before it is washed to the sea?
# How many times can a man turn his head
# And pretend that he just doesn't see?
# The answer my friend is blowing in the wind
# The answer is blowing in the wind. #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Timeshift explores the untold story of how Britain 'went wild' in the 1960s. It shows how the British people fell in love with animals and how, by the end of the decade, wildlife protection had become an intrinsic part of our culture. Before that time people knew very little about endangered species or the natural world - the very word 'environment' was hardly recognised. But the 1960s saw a sea change.
The film discovers how early television wildlife programmes with David Attenborough, writers such as Gerald Durrell and Gavin Maxwell and pioneers of conservation such as Peter Scott contributed to that transformation.