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David Attenborough: Another TV Presenter We Cannot Totally Trust

No one wants to criticise Sir David Attenborough, given the amazing television he has made and the work he’s done to preserve wildlife and educate us about the way we are destroying the planet.

But in the case of Polar Beargate, he would be better to recognise that what he and the BBC did was duplicitous and simply apologise.

The dodgy footage was the most touching scene in Episode Five of Frozen Planet – watched by some eight million trusting viewers.

The pictures would have been NO LESS remarkable if Sir David had simply mentioned that they were effectively library footage, shot in what we now know was a Dutch animal park.

After all, as he pointed out on This Morning: “If you put a camera in the wild in a polar bear den, she would either have killed the cub or she would have killed the cameraman.” He could have easily explained this at the time. It is disingenuous to claim that this would have spoiled the atmosphere and to argue that the BBC “did not keep it secret”.

Attenborough’s voiceover for the footage sighed in wonder: “On these slopes beneath the snow, new lives are beginning.

“The cubs are born blind and tiny. In two more months polar bear families will emerge on the snowy slopes all around the Arctic… but for now they lie protected within their icy cocoons.”

This is clearly misleading. And viewers will be disappointed to find out that Sir David is yet another TV presenter they cannot totally trust.

Daily Mirror, 13 December 2011