Fake But Accurate: BBC Admits Using Staged Polar Bear Footage

Posted by on Dec 13, 2011 at 8:44 am
poleys

What is it with polar bears that turns people into shameless liars and frauds. From the myth that the poleys are becoming extinct to now the BBC using faked footage of them allegedly in their natural environs? I guess the BBC is used to just making things up.

Dramatic footage of a polar bear tending her newborn cubs in the flagship BBC show Frozen Planet was filmed in a Dutch zoo using fake snow.

In one of the most engaging moments of its Winter episode, the tiny bears are shown mewling at their mother and nuzzling her for milk.

Eight million viewers were led to believe the scene had been captured by BBC cameramen inside an  underground cave in the brutal sub-zero temperatures of the Arctic wilderness.

But the footage, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, and interspersed with real shots of the Arctic, was in fact filmed in a den made of plaster and wood in a wildlife enclosure.The truth behind the fakery is only revealed in a hard-to-find video among 14 other clips accompanying the Winter episode of the series on the BBC website.

John Whittingdale MP, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sports committee, said it was ‘hugely disappointing’ viewers were misled. 

BBC editorial guidelines on wildlife programmes say that when it is impractical or unsafe to film something in the wild ‘it can be editorially and ethically justified to use captive animals’.

The guidelines add: ‘But we must never claim that such sequences were shot in the actual location depicted in the film.’

Fake but accurate or something. Stay tuned for their next series where they’ll show polar bears fighting the devastating effects of mythical climate change.
H/T Brendan.

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11 Responses to “Fake But Accurate: BBC Admits Using Staged Polar Bear Footage”

  1. the wolf on 13/13/11 at 11:06 am

    And the question to ask, as always is: If it’s real, why do they keep manufacturing “evidence” to make their case? If the situation is that dire, shouldn’t the facts stand on their own?

  2. Lestet on 13/13/11 at 12:21 pm

    Polar Bears, like trees in North America, are NOT endangered. There are more of each, now, than ever before.

  3. Claude Hopper on 13/13/11 at 12:36 pm

    How the video was created was explained on the BBC website. Nice explanatory excuse. But it’s a broadcast video not a internet video. Likely few to none see the web description. We in the US are debating many aspects of creeping socialism and watch the UK for how their experiments are working. We read Ted Dalrymple’s (Tony Daniels) description of the urban underclass over there and say no way Jose.

    A Mexican illegal giving birth to twins in the US was asked what to name the babies. She wanted the first one named Jose, and the second one named hose B.

  4. Jeff on 13/13/11 at 3:09 pm

    You should assume that all nature photography and videography of animals is staged. There is no way to get a quality product with a chance encounter. To get a deer you put out a salt lick, a bird requires bird feed, a vulture requires road kill, etc, and then you have to have the lighting set up, the angle set, and the camera set ahead of time.
    I thought this was common knowledge.

  5. BJM on 13/13/11 at 5:40 pm

    Not the first, and I’m sure won’t be the last fake “news” photo published by the Brit press.

    Remember the photo that fooled the world and set us on a path to war in the Balkans? No, of course not, it’s vanished down the MSM memory hole.

  6. BBC_Skeptic on 13/13/11 at 7:56 pm

    “But that is the only news we have ever faked. Just that one thing. Never anything before. Never anything afterward. And you can believe us because we never, ever lie or make up news!”

    And British subjects have to pay for the privilege of being lied to? What a bunch of wankers.

  7. Nate Whilk on 13/13/11 at 10:26 pm

    Jeff on 13/13/11 at 3:09 pm: “You should assume that all nature photography and videography of animals is staged. There is no way to get a quality product with a chance encounter. To get a deer you put out a salt lick, a bird requires bird feed, a vulture requires road kill, etc, and then you have to have the lighting set up, the angle set, and the camera set ahead of time.
    I thought this was common knowledge.”

    So all those rain forests, mountains and deserts are actually artificially set up in some zoo? No, I had no idea!

    But seriously, there is a huge difference between what you describe and the polar bear setup.

    FrancisChalk on 13/13/11 at 9:30 pm: “BBC stands for Big Bunch of Crap.”

    I like it!

  8. aclay1 on 14/14/11 at 1:19 am

    Staging nature documentaries has been commonplace since at least the 1970s. Seeing these miraculous moments in the wild is highly improbable, being able to film them even more so. Often animals are kept in captivity for awhile to get them used to humans, then let loose “in the wild” to be filmed. A lot of underwater footage is filmed in aquariums. This isn’t polar bear or BBC specific.

  9. Gary on 16/16/11 at 10:40 am

    Its impossible to film inside a polar bear den. I had no problem with the footage not being from the arctic.

    However, the Brinicle footage is real, as is the incredible arctic wolves and bison footage (some of the best wildlife footage ever filmed), and the dazzling glaciation footage, amongst Frozen Planet’s numerous achievements.

    The beautiful shot of the owl gliding is real.

    Frozen Planet is visually breathtaking, and informative.