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ZSL London Zoo TV programme on London Zoo from 1969

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by johnstoni., 25 Apr 2012.

  1. johnstoni.

    johnstoni. Well-Known Member

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    If you can tolerate the presenter, the linked footage shows a brand-new Cotton Terraces, and Casson Pavilion. Interesting shots of various species inside the bird and monkey houses. Its strange how even film from the past makes enclosures look bigger than they are today. I had always just put it down to memory:

    The Zoo in Winter Jonathan Miller - BBC Documentary 1969 - YouTube
     
  2. zooman

    zooman Well-Known Member

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    You are not wrong about the presenter, he is just horrible!
     
  3. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting Johnstoni. I could only take 5 minutes of Jonathan Miller's narration before I turned off the sound. That helped a lot.

    Seeing the 1969 zoo is groovy. London seems like it would have been a cool place to hang around in the late 1960s.
     
    Last edited: 25 Apr 2012
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    Jonathan Miller reminds me of Stephen Fry, except more annoying and not funny even though he's desperately trying to be.

    In contrast to DavidBrown, I think London Zoo seems like it would have been a very depressing place to hang around in the 1960s, all those concrete cells with nothing to do. I just felt sorry for Guy the gorilla :(
     
  5. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

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    The collection was groovy I should specify. I agree that the zoo was a dump by our modern standards. All of the cages are very sterile.
     
  6. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    This show has already been discussed in the 'London Zoo in 1932' thread.

    Alan
     
  7. wenxue

    wenxue Active Member

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    I went there just 13 years ago and it was a very very different zoo even then. It had a so much more concrete "feel" to it and the big cats were in small enclosures and looked thin and miserable. The difference when I went back a couple of weeks ago was incredible. It seemed in places like a different zoo. A huge amount of work is obviously still to be done. There are lot of very old fashioned mesh cages but I can see that where they have the money they are trying to move in a better, more open direction.
     
  8. tigris115

    tigris115 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know why you guys hate Jonathan Miller. I think his narration is pretty funny.
     
  9. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    Jonathan Miller seems to be playing the part of a posh Johnny Morris and it's quite cringeworthy. I did find his thoughts about the animals and visiting public interesting, though he seems a little obsessed with the monoteny of animals' lives, not having diaries or appointments to keep. There is a real contrast between the pace at which many animals live their lives compared to us but their lives are far from monotonus. I remember seeing, in an art gallery in Milton Keynes, a film made at Edinburgh Zoo about their penguins. The point being made was that at first nothing seemed to be happening but if you slowed down you would see a drama unfolding. It was very true.
     
  10. stubeanz

    stubeanz Well-Known Member

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    I managed to go 15 mins before doing similar!
    Nice to see how things were but I couldn't stand the narrator!
     
  11. Pacu

    Pacu Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I am not a fan of Jonathan Miller but please don't dismiss him out of hand, he is certainly more than 'a narrator'. Yes, he makes some uninformed comments in 'The Zoo in Winter' but he chose to make it; he felt there was something to say and if he had not, we would not have a colour moving image of the zoo at they time.
    He was a comedy writer who worked with the likes of Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore, produced internationally acclaimed opera and was a popular satirist and commentator. 'The Zoo in Winter' is very much of its time. Miller is still influential, and rightly so, so please do not be too critical of work that he did 45 years ago! He has guided UK media from behind the scenes and it is quite possible that Stephen Fry would not have been given media support if Miller had not paved the way for awkward satire. 'The Zoo in Winter' is of it's time, so let's enjoy it for that.
     
  12. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

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    I have seen this programme before, many years ago, it is very interesting - a historical snapshot of the zoo, I remember the Bird of prey aviaries very well and the tall gibbon enclosure on the lawn near the Sobells in particular.
    Shame about the very annoying presenter, though, in amongst his rather anthropomorphic, and perhaps anti-zoo descriptions, there are a few nuggets of truth, but I do find the whole programme quite depressing generally.
     
  13. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the program was having the opportunity to hear the closing announcement once more.
     
  14. Pacu

    Pacu Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree about hearing the closing message. My mum remembers when a keeper used to ride around the zoo on a bicycle ringing a hand bell to announce that the zoo was closing. I also miss the birds of prey aviaries and although they are old and small, I will miss the ones on the North Bank when they are demolished; there is something about that black mesh that will always mean 'London Zoo' to me.