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.