The inside view.

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Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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The inside view. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

About this work


An illustration of the medical advances taking place which allow us to look inside the human body. There are various methods all operable by way of the computer and the film shows us a few of them; an image of a living foetus inside the womb can be recreated on the computer screen, early heart trouble can be detected, early cancer growth can be found by means of the X-ray and can then be killed by radiation beams. 5 segments.


UK : London Television Service, 1979.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (26 min.) : sound, color



Copyright note

Crown copyright, managed by BFI.

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Language note

In English

Creator/production credits

Made by London Television Service. Narrated by Paul Vaughan, research by Jane Corbin, Photography by John Rosenberg and Chris O'Dell, edited by Fred Goodland, directed by Edward Poulter and produced by Richard Reisz.


This video was made from material preserved by the BFI National Archive.


Segment 1 An ultrasound image of a foetus is seen as the male narrator explains that this is one of the new ways which doctors can use to look inside the human body. Various other methods are briefly seen in montage. A history of anatomy of given, from mediaeval times to the Renaissance. Drawings by Vesalius and Da Vinci are seen. At the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary, a beating heart is imaged using radioactivity. The patient has been injected with a radioactive substance and imaged by a camera above his chest. This heart is compared to an image of a normal heart; it is obvious that the patient's heart beats too slowly. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:04:46:00 Length: 00:04:46:00
Segment 2 The patient exercises on a bed whilst his heart is being monitored by the camera. The heart still beats slowly and a drug is administered. The effect is seen on the camera. A photograph of Wilhelm Röntgen, the inventor of the x-ray tube, is seen, as well as the first x-ray, an image of his wife's hand. A modern x-ray machine is seen. It is used to image a patient's chest. A cancerous growth is seen in the lung. The radiotherapist uses the machine to determine the paths of radiation beams. She can accurately determine their paths to protect the spine and lungs. Time start: 00:04:46:00 Time end: 00:09:23:08 Length: 00:04:37:08
Segment 3 A machine that images bones is seen at Leeds Infirmary. A small radioactive source is used rather than an x-ray tube. The narrator explains how the machine works as a patient has his forearm imaged. Next, a thermograph machine is used to produce a heat image of a young child. The cooler and warmer parts of the body are pointed out. Thermography is used to show what happens when a person smokes a cigarette; their hands turn from warm to cool due to reduced blood supply. The Royal Arthritis Hospital in Bath use this system to image an elderly man's arthritic knee. His knee is very inflamed. A drug is administered and the next day the knee is imaged again; the inflammation has reduced. Another use for thermography is seen; a patient is monitored for deep vein thrombosis. Time start: 00:09:23:08 Time end: 00:15:00:14 Length: 00:06:36:06
Segment 4 The narrator explains how the microscope was invented in the 17th Century and since then, the discovery of cells has led to new ways of looking at the body. The theory behind ultrasound is explained and a foetus is seen. Another type of ultrasound microscope, a transducer, is seen being used to build up a picture of a patient's stomach. The beginnings of stomach cancer are seen. Another different way of imaging is seen, this time using water and magnetic fields. A test is done using a bottle of water. It is placed at the centre of a strong magnetic field and a radio transmitter turned on. The hydrogen atoms in the water respond to the magnetic field 'like a spinning top knocked off balance'. The theory behind this new way of imaging is explained using animations. Time start: 00:15:00:14 Time end: 00:20:29:19 Length: 00:05:29:05
Segment 5 The signal from pure water is seen on a screen. An orange is then placed into the machine, and a perfect image of its interior is seen. Next, a cross section of a mouse. In a larger version of the machine, researcher Dr Mansfield is testing to see if he himself can be imaged. He wears a receiver coil and climbs into the machine. His assistants fit another coil and radio pulses are injected. His body organs are imaged and they all discuss the pictures. The narrator explains that this technique is still crude but could have an enormous impact once refined. Time start: 00:20:29:19 Time end: 00:26:06:01 Length: 00:05:36:07



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