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Producer's claim lands BBC in 'fakery row' | Updated: 2017-06-20 11:45

Producer's claim lands BBC in 'fakery row'

A clip of Planet Earth II showing a baby iguana managing to escape the clutches of the racer snakes. Gif footage from CCTV 

BBC's award-winning documentary Planet Earth II is caught in a "fakery row" after its producer revealed that the scene showing a baby iguana being chased by racer snakes was stitched together using different takes.

During the episode filmed on the beach in Galapagos, South America, a baby iguana is shown besieged by a pack of snakes, but manages to escape their clutches.

As one of the most popular episodes in the documentary, the iguana clip quickly went viral when it was aired last year. It was also rated by Bafta as a must-see moment in 2016.

However, Elizabeth White, producer of the nail-biting scene, said the incredible moment was the work of two cameras and more than one iguana was actually filmed.

The producer told the Media Production Show: "It wasn't the same iguana, no, and often we have to augment it with other clips.

"Unfortunately lizards, snakes and iguanas aren't good at 'takes'."

Producer's claim lands BBC in 'fakery row'

A clip of Planet Earth II showing a baby iguana managing to escape the clutches of the racer snakes. Gif footage from CCTV

BBC refuted White's claim and denied that the iguana chase scene was faked.

"The final iguana chase in which one iguana escapes the snakes was - unusually for natural history filming - shot using two cameras, allowing us to follow both the individual iguana and the snakes' point of view." A spokeswoman for BBC said.

"What was captured in the field was extraordinary animal behavior which had never been witnessed or filmed before."

"As is common in natural history filmmaking, pick up shots were filmed separately – for example close ups of iguana eyes – to make the story of the sequence as clear as possible for the audience," she added.

This is not first time that the British broadcaster's nature documentaries have been accused of faking footage. Frozen Planet showed footage of newborn polar bear cubs in a den with their mother in 2011 - but it was filmed in an animal park, rather than in the wild.

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, Planet Earth II has been the most-watched natural history show for at least 15 years. It also won overwhelming praise among Chinese viewers, with the rating on Douban, China's version of IMDb, reaching 9.9 points out of 10.

Producer's claim lands BBC in 'fakery row'

An iguana reaches the top of a rock and escapes the clutches of the racer snakes. Photo by BBC


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