BBC Faked ‘Frozen Planet’ Polar Bear Birth

December 12, 2011 by  
Filed under News

The BBC has been accused of using faked footage of Polar Bears during their recent nature series Frozen Planet by The Sun, who may or may not have hacked David Attenborough’s mobile phone.

The scene which is causing controversy is one in which a female bear gave birth in her den in the episode ‘Winter’, but Britain’s favourite tabloid has explained that the footage was actually filmed in a German animal park and not in the wild.

Viewers were not told of this at the time and producers are accused of mixing the material in with other shots taken on location in the Arctic.

Last night a spokesperson for the Beeb explained that it never intentionally misled viewers and admitted that putting a camera in a real Polar Bear den would have been immensely dangerous and might have forced the animal to flee.

Producer Kathryn Jeffs told in a BBC blog: “They do it under the snow in these dens of ice, and there’s absolutely no way that we can get our cameras down there. This wasn’t part of the story we could leave out so there really was only one way to approach it.”

“This is hugely disappointing,” said a heartbroken John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture committee.

Faking it in the lab – I was castigated when I was critical about this sort of stuff back in the nineteen eighties, after I came into work at a well known London nature film company and was shown a room full of imagines that had emerged over the weekend – (when no staff were working). I also remember the bewilderment of a now, very well known cameraman, who had found his shrews had died over an Easter weekend, when I ventured that Nature did not work 9-5, or that they died of loneliness after all the attention he had given them making his award winning clips. We have all done it, or more exactly, overdone it, but thankfully it is much rarer now. Nevertheless, being sensitive to animals as subjects and not just objects, is still not so common in nature film making circles. I have my own theories on how this came to be, but they would be too strong for public consumption. It is however a form of exploitation and not so dissimilar to the paparazzi. Having said that, I do like most of the cameramen and women I know – they are special people doing a wonderful job. The emphasis though on Nature, as a sentient form, purely bound by evolution, is just so puerile. I know it, they know it, they just can’t admit it, Nature is magic…