Friday 28 July 2017

Planet Earth II a 'disaster for the world's wildlife', BBC presenter

David Attenborough in Planet Earth II
David Attenborough in Planet Earth II

Planet Earth 2 is “a disaster for the world’s wildlife” and could contribute to extinction by lulling viewers into false sense of security, the broadcaster Martin Hughes-Games has suggested.

Hughes-Games, the Autumnwatch presenter, said the blockbuster nature programme was an “an escapist wildlife fantasy” which glossed over the damage humans have done to the natural world.

He told the Guardian: “These programmes are still made as if this worldwide mass extinction is simply not happening.

“No hint of the continuing disaster is allowed to shatter the illusion.”

The programme, which received a record number of viewers for a BBC natural history show, ended with presenter Sir David Attenborough urging viewers to "do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth”.

But Hughes-Games said the BBC should commit to making more programmes about conservation, arguing: “Fantasy should be balanced by reality."

The Hawksbill baby turtles in Planet Earth II. Pic: BBC
The Hawksbill baby turtles in Planet Earth II. Pic: BBC

He has suggested a "conservation tax", whereby broadcasters could pledge to commit a fifth of their wildlife programming to "conservation orientated" shows.

He told the newspaper he was "not for one moment suggesting such shows [like Planet Earth II] should not be made".

But, he said "these programmes are still made as if this worldwide mass extinction is simply not happening.

"The producers continue to go to the rapidly shrinking parks and reserves to make their films – creating a beautiful, beguiling fantasy world, a utopia where tigers still roam free and untroubled, where the natural world exists as if man had never been.

Spotted hyenas prowl the streets of Harar. Pic: BBC Planet Earth II
Spotted hyenas prowl the streets of Harar. Pic: BBC Planet Earth II

"By fostering this lie they are lulling the huge worldwide audience into a false sense of security.

'If David Attenborough is still making these sorts of wonderful shows then it can’t be that bad, can it?' Yes it can, and it’s going to get much, much worse. "

It is not the first time Hughes-Games has shared his opinion of the BBC, after he suggested he had been 'side-lined' by the corporation last year in a drive for diversity.

“Whatever I may think, it’s crucially important that high-profile shows like the Watches reflect diversity," he told the Radio Times.

"Chris, Michaela and I are all white and middle class, so a more diverse team must present some of the films that go out.

"It’s hard for me because it’s my living, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought, ‘No, that’s the right decision, it has to be like that.’ ”

Telegraph.co.uk

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