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Last on

Sat 17 Aug 2013 07:30 BBC Radio 4 Extra

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 30 April 2009

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.


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