Zoo Quest : Zoo Quest to Guiana
Also known as: Programme 1
Zoo Quest to Guiana was the second of the long-running Zoo Quest series to feature David Attenborough as full-time presenter, his talents having been spotted on the previous series, Zoo Quest to Sierra Leone (1954), when at the last minute he had to stand in for the intended host Jack Lester who had fallen ill. His "gift as a storyteller was plainly evident" according to Chris Parsons, one of the co-founders of the BBC Natural History Unit, and his boyish charms and enthusiasm instantly appealed to audiences of all ages.
Providing an engaging account of London Zoo's collecting expedition to South America, this opening episode charts the arrival of the team and the first creatures they encounter in Guiana's thick forests. Studio based, the footage is interspersed with impressive photography from the trip, a three-toed sloth is seen with her newly arrived infant and Attenborough introduces a film about the highly developed leaf cutting ant.
A typical episode of this comprehensive series, Zoo Quest to Guiana confirmed Attenborough's skill as a natural history presenter and its success paved the way for numerous future installments. Indeed, over the next ten years Attenborough, together with his award-winning cameraman Charles Lagus, went on to explore many more exotic places searching for the most rare and elusive species.