Paul Olding

 

 

 

Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Life and Death

 

 

 

 

 

Watch Behind-the-Scenes Clips

 

1. What is the film all about?

2. Highlights of filming?

3. What did Andrew Marr find surprising?

4. Any difficult times during filming?

5. Filming on the beach in Argentina

 

 

Film Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew’s Daily Mail Article

 

 

 

Reviews from the Newspapers

 

“…excellent series…”

“4 stars”

“…accessible, wry and unapologetically erudite it is both

scientifically and televisually a (Dar)win-(Dar)win situation…”

“…fascinating journey…”

“…a dazzling variety of settings and costumes…”

“…fetching outfits…”

 

 

 

Festivals

 

 

 

3rd International Nature

Film Festival

Germany

(Sept 2009)

 

 

 

 

Planet in Focus

Toronto, Canada

(October 2009)

 

 

 

 

Vedere la Scienza

Milan

March 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science Film Festival

Goethe Institut, Bangkok

Summer 2010

 

 

 

 

Awards

 

Shortlisted for ABSW awards

 

 

 

 

The Story Begins

 

 

2009 sees the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s book ‘On the Origin of Species’. As you might expect, there is going to be a whole year of Darwin stuff on the tv. BBC2 has a three part series presented by Andrew Marr taking a slightly different perspective on the whole Darwin story.

 

In my episode (3rd in series), we see how Darwin realized that the Natural World is intricately interconnected, exploring the relationships between living species, and between the living and the dead.

 

Our journey begins on a beach just east of Bahia Blanca in Argentina. It was here in October 1832 that Darwin encountered his first fossils, the giant bones of an extinct mammal species. This got him thinking about the nature of extinction, not just how, but why. Contrary to the belief at the time, Darwin found evidence that these giant beasts had not been slain in some catastrophic Biblical deluge. So why were they no longer alive?

 

Heading off on horseback to explore the Argentine Pampas, Darwin encounters the local wildlife. But as he tucks into a fine supper of roasted Armadillo, he releases that the bones left on his plate look very similar to the giant bones of the extinct species he had found at the beach. Could the living forms be somehow related to the long since dead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Album

 

Filming in Argentina - October 2008

 

 

 

Andrew on the Beach

East of Punta Alta

 

 

 

 

Filming the fossil cliffs

 

 

 

 

Close Ups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The crew on the beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Teresa from the Darwin Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filming a fossil mammal bone in situ

 

 

 

Fossil Mammal Bone

 

 

 

Andrew and the Fossil we found

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driving across the Pampas

 

 

 

 

Sunrise in the Sierra de la Ventana

 

 

 

 

Tres Picos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glyptodon

 

 

 

 

Scelidotherium

 

 

 

Toxodon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew and Horse

 

 

 

 

Paul and Horacio the Gaucho

 

 

 

Ernesto helps with the camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horacio

 

 

 

 

Tripod on Horse

 

 

 

Andrew Marr

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Story Continues

 

 

Since returning from Argentina, we filmed in the UK. At the Natural History Museum in London where a significant chunk of Darwin’s fossils are kept. At Kew Gardens where we explored how Darwin came up with his dangerous idea and how he shared his secrets with Joseph Dalton Hooker, Darwin’s confidante (and later director of Kew) and the rush to finish Origins when Alfred Russel Wallace came up with the same idea whilst suffering from Malaria in Indonesia. At the Crossness pump house in Thamesmead, we explore the effects of the industrial revolution on humanity’s ability to drastically change the environment. In a  woods in Surrey we explored the role of the great ecologist Charles Elton and how he took Darwin’s ideas and used them to understand invasive species. To a farm in Sevenoaks to tell the story of Rachel Carson and Silent Spring. To Bowerchalk in Wiltshire to talk about James Lovelock and his Gaia theory. And to Down House in Kent to round things off, talking about Darwin’s most popular work during his lifetime, a book on earthworms.

 

Then we went to St Lucia to bring the story bang up to date. We explore the current global threat to coral reefs and tropical rainforests and solutions that Darwin himself is helping us to come to terms with.

 

 

 

 

Filming In the UK - Winter 2008

 

 

 

Under the gaze of the BIG man

 

 

 

With the Megatherium

 

 

 

 

 

In the forest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filming at Crossness Pump House

 

 

 

Ron the Grip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy DoP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filming at the Farm

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                       

 

 

Filming in St Lucia – January 2009

 

 

 

 

Filming the coral

 

 

 

 

Andrew doodling

 

 

 

Andrew and the Pitons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filming in the Rainforest

 

 

 

 

Filming from the helicopter

 

 

 

Filming from the boat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All Images copyright Paul Olding 2008 or BBC