Monday January 28 2008
Neil Nightingale writes "Steve Hewlett's piece Is It OK For Natural History Programmes to Use Fake Footage? (FAQ, January 21) gives a false impression of both the motivation for and our openness about filming animals in controlled conditions. He also suggests this is done for "entertainment". While the great majority of our footage is filmed entirely in the wild there are some animals and natural behaviours that are virtually impossible to obtain in the wild. If we did not sometimes film in controlled conditions we would be unable to bring these fascinating stories to audiences. It is for reasons of enlightenment and education that these techniques are necessary.
Sir David Attenborough has given many lectures and interviews about filming techniques; and we included explanations of captive filming in the "making of" programmes for his last series Life In The Undergrowth. The BBC is also creating a website explaining the techniques employed in David's new series Life In Cold Blood. These are a few examples of the many occasions we have explained the stories behind some of our sequences and, with the increased public interest in the way programmes are made, I'm certain we will be doing this even more in the future."
Neil Nightingale, head, BBC Natural History Unit
This article appeared in the Guardian on Monday January 28 2008 on p4 of the Media news & features section. It was last updated at 23:48 on January 27 2008.