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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Exploring the kingdom of plants

Published: 2 August 2012
Will with one of the extras!

Zoology graduate Will Benson has written a book to accompany David Attenborough’s pioneering 3D television series Kingdom of Plants, broadcast on Sky.

The freelance researcher, who spent a year working on the project for Atlantic Productions, was approached by publisher HarperCollins to devise, design and write a book to complement Kingdom of Plants: A Journey through their Evolution. Over the last 500 million years, plants have undertaken an epic journey that has not only spanned the ages but has altered the planet. It began in a dark and barren world and has culminated in a planet that is draped in rich colours, and overflowing with a diversity of mystifying orchids, exploding seed pods and snapping carnivorous plants.

The three part TV series was the first to be shot with 3D cameras; it is also being made into an IMAX large screen film for release later in the year.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to work with someone as respected as David Attenborough,” says Will.“He was fantastic to work with and had so many stories to share about his career as a broadcaster.”

Although Will graduated in Zoology at Southampton in 2008, he has always been interested in plants and had a weekend job as a gardener during his studies. He also carried out fieldwork on plants in the tropics. “I’m very interested in communicating science to the general public and was delighted to be asked to write the book along with the leading botanists I’d worked with during the filming,” he adds.

Kingdom of Plants was published in June 2012 and named Book of the Month in the BBC Wildlife magazine.

Will releases bats for a sequence that shows them flying in slow motion (Photo: Atlantic Productions)
Releasing bats on set
Will talking to camera about the making of Kingdom of Plants 3D (Photo: Atlantic Productions)
Behind the scenes

I’m very interested in communicating science to the general public and was delighted to be asked to write the book along with the leading botanists I’d worked with during the filming.

Will Benson - Researcher and Southampton Zoology graduate
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