BBC Responds To Claims They Won't Broadcast Attenborough Doc Over 'Right-Wing Backlash' Worries

A BBC rep has branded the reports "totally inaccurate".
Sir David Attenborough in Dorset as part of his new show Wild Isles
Sir David Attenborough in Dorset as part of his new show Wild Isles
BBC/Silverback Films/Chris Howard

The BBC has dismissed reports that it deliberately chose not to air one episode of Sir David Attenborough’s latest nature series due to concerns about a “rightwing backlash”.

On Friday afternoon, in the middle of a separate BBC controversy of a whole different nature, The Guardian published an article with the headline: “BBC will not broadcast Attenborough episode over fear of ‘rightwing backlash’.”

In the piece, the UK outlet quoted “senior sources at the BBC” who claimed the sixth episode of Wild Isles, a documentary series exploring natural Britain, would not be broadcast “because of fears its themes of the destruction of nature would risk a backlash from Tory politicians and the rightwing press”.

However, the BBC has insisted this is “totally inaccurate”, maintaining that Wild Isles was only ever going to be a five-part series, and that the documentary The Guardian is referring to is a stand-alone film, that would be an iPlayer exclusive.

“This is totally inaccurate, there is no ‘sixth episode’,” a spokesperson said. “Wild Isles is – and always was – a five part series and does not shy away from environmental content.

“We have acquired a separate film for iPlayer from the RSPB and WWF and Silverback Films about people working to preserve and restore the biodiversity of the British Isles.”

They also highlighted a response from the WWF, which said that Wild Isles was a five-parter and that while Attenborough’s new documentary was inspired by Wild Isles, it does not form part of the series itself.

The Guardian’s article came at a time when the BBC was already under fire from many critics over the decision for Gary Lineker to “step back” as host of Match Of The Day until an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media was found.

Lineker found himself at the centre of a public row earlier this week, over his response to a Home Office video – in which home secretary Suella Braverman shared the government’s plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel on small boats – saying the language used was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.

Following the BBC’s announcement, MOTD presenters including Ian Wright and Alan Shearer said they would also not be appearing, as a show of support for their colleague.


What's Hot