The relationship between the deformation orientation distribution function (ODF) and the primary recrystallised ODF in cold and warm rolled metals, is not a simple mathematical transformation from one to the other, but is through thermally activated processes occurring in the deformation microstructure. In BCC metals the mature rolling microstructure consists of cells, microbands and shear bands on a length scale of fraction of a micron, to deformation and transition bands at the grain scale, when this is of the order of 10 or more microns. There is evidence that grain boundary regions are sometimes distinct from grain interiors. Wherever there is a relatively sharp change in either orientation or microstructure such locations are potential sites of recrystallisation nuclei. In this paper the results of a systematic investigation of the development of microstructure in rolled interstitial free (IF) steel using both transmission and scanning electron microscopy are presented. It is shown how the dislocation mesh structure, formed at the earliest stages of rolling, develops into the mature microstructure consisting of cells, microbands and shear bands. Deformation heterogeneities in the microstructure, known to be of vital significance in the recrystallisation process are associated with the α and γ fibre components of the rolling texture. Shear band thickening and α grain fragmentation are also considered, since both processes can produce recrystallisation nuclei, which in the α fibre case can reduce desirable mechanical properties.