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The future for film


Gerald Durrell
Wolfgang Suschitzky Film-maker
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I don’t know how I got to know Gerald Durrell, but we made a book together about his new zoo in Jersey. It was then just a plain zoo. He lived in a kind of mansion and put me up there with... his first wife was there and his mother was there. The people who went to Corfu when they couldn’t stand British climate any more. And from that a long friendship developed with Gerald. He stopped supplying animals to zoos, and went in for breeding rare species, dying out species, in his zoo. I met the man who introduced him to zoology, to animals, the Greek professor at Corfu, and one day Gerry gave a luncheon in... in Charlotte Street, about a dozen people and this man had come over — this old man by then — to be at this luncheon, which was very nice to meet him. And his mother was very nice. I got pictures of the whole family, but not of the professor because I didn’t have a camera on me at the luncheon. And when Gerald Durrell died there was a memorial meeting at the Natural History Museum and two... 2000 people turned up. Princess Anne gave a speech after Attenborough, and she said she can’t speak as well as Attenborough, but she knew Gerry Durrell and was sad about his departure.

Born in Austria, Wolfgang Suschitzky (1912-2016) trained as a photographer and became one of the first in his field to take portraits of animals. After coming to England he worked with Paul Rotha as the cameraman on various documentaries and films such as “No Resting Place”, “Ulysses” and “Get Carter”.

Listeners: Misha Donat

Misha Donat is the son of Wolfgang Suschitzky. He has composed music for the theatre and the cinema (including films directed by Lindsay Anderson, and by Albert Finney). For more than 25 years he was a senior music producer for BBC Radio 3, where he planned and produced the prestigious lunchtime concerts at St John’s, Smith Square, at which many of the world’s leading artists appeared on a regular basis, and also instigated a Young Artists’ Forum as a showcase for musicians of the coming generation. As a broadcaster himself, he has given many radio talks. Misha Donat has contributed a large number of programme notes to the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, South Bank, Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Brighton Festival and other venues, and he has written CD booklets for such labels as Decca, DG, RCA, Philips and Hyperion. He has been a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine since its inception more than 10 years ago, and has written articles for The London Review of Books, The Guardian, The Musical Times, The Listener, Opera, and other publications. He has taught at the University of California in Los Angeles, and has given lectures and seminars at Vassar College and Bard College in New York State, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore), and in the UK at Durham University, the Barbican Centre, the Royal Festival Hall, and the Norwich Music festival. He is currently working as a producer for the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Tags: Jersey, Corfu, Charlotte Street, Natural History Museum, Gerald DurrellPrincess Anne, David Attenborough

Duration: 2 minutes, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2008

Date story went live: 06 August 2009