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WildFilmHistory » Home » Films » The Rotten World About Us

The Rotten World About Us  (1980)

Citizens of another kingdom

Conducting a survey of all things rotten and rancid, this production was the dream child of renowned wildlife producer Barry Paine. Waiting over twenty years for the opportunity to complete the microscopic study, Paine enlisted the specialist filming techniques of Oxford Scientific Films, practically wrecking their laboratories by filling the entire premises with fungal spores.

Providing an informative and intriguing view into the complex world of mycology, electron microscopy was used to reveal, for the first time, an unseen world of mould, mildew and mushrooms. Thriving on the decay they induce, fungal threads weave their way through their surrounding environment, the high resolution images of these minuscule organisms shedding light on their growth, nourishment and subsequent dispersal.

Using advanced time lapse photography, The Rotten World About Us explores the entire decay process, from the critical role fungi plays in food webs to some of its more unusual symbiotic relationships.

Broadcast as part of the BBC's The World About Us strand, the production uses innovative filming methods to deliver an eye-opening account of Britain's extraordinarily 'rotten' world.

Copyright holder

Copyright Holder: BBC - Natural History Unit
Address: c/o BBC Motion Gallery
Room E251
80 Wood Lane
W12 0TT
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8433 2861 / 2
Copyright Holder: Oxford Scientific Films Ltd.
Address: 47 Marylebone Lane
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7317 1330

Film credits

Camera: Christopher Doncaster
Camera: I.W.F. Gottingen
Camera: Georg Schimanski
Camera: Eric Soothill
Camera: Oxford Scientific Films Ltd.
Dubbing Mixer: Peter Copeland
Editor: David Aliband
Graphic Design: Andy Coward
Narrator: Barry Ernest Paine
Producer: Barry Ernest Paine
Producer's Assistant: Sheila Fullom
Production Assistant: Keenan Smart
Production Organisation: BBC - Natural History Unit
Rostrum Camera: Philip Moss
Rostrum Camera: Ken Morse
Series Editor: Peter Jones
Series Editor: Anthony Isaacs
Writer: Barry Ernest Paine
Citizens of another kingdom
Citizens of another kingdom
Startle with their wonder
Startle with their wonder
Digesting its surroundings
Digesting its surroundings