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BBC Drops Frozen Planet’s Climate Change Episode To Sell Show To Sceptical Public Abroad

The BBC has dropped a climate change episode from its wildlife series Frozen Planet to help the show sell better abroad. A third of international networks who have bought the series have rejected climate change episode.

British viewers will see seven episodes, the last of which deals with global warming and the threat to the natural world posed by man.

However, viewers in other countries, including the United States, will only see six episodes.

The environmental programme has been relegated by the BBC to an “optional extra” alongside a behind-the-scenes documentary which foreign networks can ignore.

Campaigners said the decision not to incorporate the episode on global warming as part of the main package was “unhelpful”.

They added that it would allow those countries which are sceptical of climate change to “censor” the issue.

Others suggested that the Corporation should have offered “On Thin Ice”, the global warming episode, for free due to the importance of the issue.

However, the BBC said it was standard practice to offer international clients only the parts they wished to purchase.

Frozen Planet, on BBC One, is the latest big budget series from the BBC’s Natural History Unit in Bristol, which was made in association with Discovery Channel and The Open University.

Astonishing images already broadcast include killer whales swimming in parallel to wash their prey off lumps of ice; icebergs larger than any manmade structure on Earth “calving” from the icecap; and the spectacular plumage of a reclusive great grey owl.

It was filmed over four years and is thought to have cost over £16 million to produce.

Over 30 networks across the world have bought the series but a third of them have rejected the choice of the additional two episodes, including the one on climate change.

On Thin Ice features Sir David Attenborough, 85, talking at length about the melting of the ice and featuring hungry polar bears.

Viewers in the United States, where climate change sceptics are particularly strong group, will not see the full episode.

Instead, the BBC said that Discovery, which shows the series in the US, had a “scheduling issue so only had slots for six episodes”, so “elements” of the climate change episode would be incorporated into their final show, with editorial assistance from the Corporation.

However, the Frozen Planet DVD will be sold overseas – including the US – containing all seven episodes as broadcast in the UK.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said it was not be feasible to force networks to buy the climate change episode as it features Sir David talking extensively to the camera and there are many countries where he is not famous.

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