Thursday 17 January 2019

BBC admits scenes in Human Planet showing tribe living in rainforest treehouse were faked

A still from Human Planet
A still from Human Planet
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The BBC has admitted that documentary makers faked scenes depicting a tribe living high up in treehouses in the rainforest.

The scenes featured in a 2011 episode of the series Human Planet and showed some of the Korowai people of Papua New Guinea building and moving into a treehouse 30 metres up in the forest canopy.

However, during the making of a new documentary, My Year With The Tribe, it was revealed that the scene featuring the treehouse had been staged by the tribe "for the benefit of overseas programme makers".

The new documentary is fronted by adventurer Will Millard who visits the tribe and they tell him the raised houses "are not our home" and that they were "commissioned for filming".

Millard describes it as "total artifice".

In a statement the BBC said: “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 treehouses 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.”

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

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