David Attenborough has defended the BBC’s nature documentary Frozen Planet, after it was revealed that the programme-makers had used footage filmed at an animal park in Germany.
The corporation have already defended themselves, with a spokesman explaining: “The commentary accompanying the sequence is carefully worded so it doesn’t mislead the audience and the way the footage was captured is clearly explained on the programme website.”
Yet Attenborough used his interview on ITV’s This Morning to expand upon the Beeb’s position, explaining that it was safer for the animal and the camera-crew.
“If you had tried to put a camera in the wild of a polar bear den, mother den, she would have either have killed the cub, or she would have killed the cameraman. One or the other.”
Asked by Schofield if it amounted to deceit, he responded: “No, what we are saying is, we’re trying to describe the biology of a polar bear and the crucial element to it is that in the middle of the winter they produce this tiny baby – if you tried to tell about the polar bear without mentioning that or without illustrating it you’ll have an incomplete picture.”
“So the question is, in the middle of this scene when you’re trying to paint what it’s like in the middle of winter, to say that ‘Oh, by the way, this was filmed in a zoo’ – it would completely ruin the atmosphere and destroy the pleasure of the viewers. It’s not falsehood, and we don’t keep it secret either.”
The 85-year-old added: “But to say in the middle of that sequence… and how far do you take this? You say, ‘Well this is a penguin but actually it was a different penguin colony that we did in this one, and that one is a different one, and actually we did it last year’. You know, come on, we’re making movies.”