Edwardian Insects on Film

Edwardian Insects on Film


In the first couple of minutes of this sweetly eccentric film, you might feel the need to check your diary that it’s not April Fool’s Day. But it’s presented by acclaimed wildlife cameraman Charlie Hamilton James, and David Attenborough is along for the ride, so stick with it: you’ll not see its like again this year.

Charlie is investigating pioneering natural history film-maker Percy Smith, who among other things kept a fly on a silk thread as a pet. One of his earliest movies, The Acrobatic Fly, was a huge success in 1908, and Percy went on to produce hundreds of astonishing time-lapse and microscopic films, creating his own Heath Robinson equipment, before becoming obsessed with mould and fungal spores. Charlie wants to remake Smith’s early smash – but it’s no easy task. First, wrangling a bluebottle…


Wildlife cameraman Charlie Hamilton James tries to recreate The Acrobatic Fly, a film by Percy Smith, which featured a bluebottle juggling a series of objects and stunned cinema-goers when it was released in 1908. Along the way, the presenter tells the story of the creator's career and is helped by David Attenborough, who saw his films when he was a child.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Charlie Hamilton James
Contributor David Attenborough
Director John Holdsworth
Executive Producer Emma Morgan
Producer John Holdsworth