The Balancing Bluebottle

Tim Boon of the Science Museum tells the story of Percy Smith, a pioneer in the art of the natural history film. He made dozens of short but brilliant films on subjects like flies and slime mould in his principal studio, the back garden of his home in north London, and in the 1920s developed innovative microscope and time-lapse photography. Featuring contributions from Sir David Attenborough.

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

First
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
2009043020110605
20130817 (BBC7)

The natural history film is a hundred years old.

Percy Smith was its greatest pioneer, making dozens of short but brilliant films on subjects like flies and slime mould.

In his principal studio, the back garden of his home in north London, he developed innovative microscope- and time-lapse photography in the 1920s that still makes viewers gasp and filmmakers jealous.

Talking to historians and to Sir David Attenborough and eavesdropping on flickering reels of film, Tim Boon of the Science Museum tells how the balancing bluebottle came to be.

Producer: Tim Dee.

Tim Boon tells the story of Percy Smith, a pioneer in the art of the natural history film.

The natural history film is a hundred years old. Percy Smith was its greatest pioneer, making dozens of short but brilliant films on subjects like flies and slime mould. In his principal studio, the back garden of his home in north London, he developed innovative microscope- and time-lapse photography in the 1920s that still makes viewers gasp and filmmakers jealous.