The BBC Story

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Animal Magic was first seen on 13 April 1962. The fortnightly children’s nature programme was made by the fledgling Natural History Unit, and presented by Johnny Morris, who provided voices for the animals and made them talk.

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Although some people criticised Morris for anthropomorphising the animals, his humour drew viewers into the more formal, scientific elements of the programme.

Morris frequently filmed as ‘Keeper Morris’ at Bristol Zoo and then added voices to the animals on film. For many years, however, most of the programme was live, and Morris thrived on the unpredictable, and sometimes uncooperative, behaviour of the animals.

Animal Magic ran for 21 years. In later years Terry Nutkins presented alongside Morris. After Animal Magic ended, Morris continued to appear on television until his death in 1999.

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For more great moments, see www.bbc.co.uk/historyofthebbc