Mark Thompson suggests Mirror Frozen Planet fakery story was revenge for BBC Leveson coverage

BBC director general Mark Thompson has suggested the press furore surrounding Frozen Planet’s ‘faked’ scenes of polar bear cubs is linked to the corporation’s coverage of the phone-hacking scandal.

On Monday the Daily Mirror revealed that documentary makers had mixed Arctic shots with zoo scenes during an episode in which a polar bear is seen tending her newborn cubs – with the paper claiming that ‘documentary makers fooled the audience into believing the footage was gathered by intrepid cameramen in the brutal sub-zero wilderness”.

The Mirror has since reported that one of the bear clubs is now a favourite attraction at a Scottish zoo, and that footage from the BBC wildlife series Human Planet of deadly Goliath tarantulas in Venezuela was in fact filmed at a TV studio in Britain.

Thompson yesterday hit back at the coverage at a hearing of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

He quoted from this Mirror editorial on Tuesday:

All I would say is there is a leader in today’s Mirror that is quite interesting – ‘The national broadcaster is quick on the draw when it comes to pointing fingers at others.

‘Perhaps when it comes to their own editorial standards and ethics a little more action and a little less pontificating would be handy’.

Thompson then added:

I do rather wonder whether this is really about polar bears or about Lord Leveson and other matters.

The Mirror has since responded with another editorial in this morning’s paper:

No wonder BBC boss Mark ­Thompson’s temperature rose when he was grilled about fakery on Frozen Planet.

His frosty reception at the hands of MPs was a reminder that viewers go wild when they are taken for dumb animals.


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