Friday 24 January 2020

Human Planet episode breached editorial standards, says BBC

The corporation said it had reviewed a sequence in an episode of Human Planet from seven years ago and found it to be inaccurate.

BBC annual plan
BBC annual plan

By Kerri-Ann Roper, Press Association Entertainment Editor

The BBC has released a statement about a 2011 episode from the series Human Planet which it says “breached editorial standards” by inaccurately portraying an element of life featuring a tribe from Papua New Guinea.

The eight-part documentary series Human Planet aired seven years ago and was narrated by John Hurt.

In upcoming BBC Two series My Year With The Tribe,  adventurer Will Millard is seen visiting the same Korowai tribe, where during a trip to a treehouse they tell him the raised houses “are not our home” and that they were “commissioned for filming”.

The BBC said in a statement: “The BBC has been alerted to a breach of editorial standards in an episode of Human Planet from 2011 which concerns the Korowai people of Papua New Guinea.

“During the making of BBC Two’s upcoming documentary series, My Year With The Tribe, a member of the tribe discusses how they have built very high tree houses for the benefit of overseas programme makers.

“The BBC has reviewed a sequence in Human Planet depicting this and found that the portrayal of the tribe moving into the treehouse as a real home is not accurate.

“Since this programme was broadcast in 2011, we have strengthened our mandatory training for all staff in editorial guidelines, standards and values.”

During the encounter in the first episode, Millard comments: “That’s why they’re worried (about) how many people come up here and we might fall through the floor. This is not where they live, this is total artifice”.

My Year With The Tribe will air on BBC Two on April 15.

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