The BBC's popular "Frozen Planet" series promises to show viewers Arctic animals in their snowy, frozen habitats, but the broadcaster conceded Monday that recent scenes of a polar bear with her cubs were actually shot in a European zoo, not the wild, as had been implied in the program.
The BBC insisted that it had not misled audiences or tricked them into thinking that the scenes showing a female polar bear tenderly nursing her newborn cubs in an icy den in the dead of winter were filmed in the wild.
Its response came after The Daily Mirror accused it of "faking" the footage. The paper quoted lawmaker John Whittingdale, who heads the House of Commons culture committee, as saying the BBC should have been clearer about the origin of the shots.The BBC statement said most of the footage for the Frozen Planet series was filmed in the wild but that some sequences, including those of the polar bear giving birth, had to be filmed in controlled conditions.
It said: "We felt that the birthing process was a pivotal part of the story, which had to be told. It would be quite impossible for our cameras to film inside a den in the wild without disturbing the female. For this reason the polar bear den sequence was filmed in controlled conditions."
The BBC said presenter David Attenborough's narration was carefully worded so that it did not mislead audiences.