David Attenborough's Planet Earth II 'a disaster for wildlife', says rival producer

‘Springwatch’ star says programme is ‘an escapist wildlife fantasy’ that helps people pretend the destruction of the environment isn’t happening

Caroline Mortimer
Monday 02 January 2017 00:47
Comments
Planet Earth II - Extended Trailer

A rival TV producer has claimed Sir David Attenborough’s acclaimed second series of the BBC’s Planet Earth is a “disaster” because it does not show the damage humans are doing to the environment.

Martin Hughes-Games, a presenter on fellow BBC programme Springwatch, claimed the hit show – which drew audiences of more than 12 million viewers up until it concluded in December – was “an escapist wildlife fantasy” that ignored the evidence of mass extinction and destruction of wildlife by humans.

In an article for The Observer, he said he had “the greatest admiration” for the team behind the programme but said it was “pure entertainment”.

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.”

He accused Sir David and the producers of “lulling the huge worldwide audience into a false sense of security” and said there was “no hint of the continuing disaster” to “shatter the illusion”.

He highlighted a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature and Zoological Society of London earlier this year which concluded that there was a 59 per cent decline in the worldwide population of vertebrates between 1970 and 2012.

He said: “The prime factor in this destruction is humankind’s insatiable need for space – destroying and degrading habitat at an appalling rate – coupled with species over-exploitation, pollution, invasive species, climate change and rampant poaching.”

The 60-year-old star said programmes like Planet Earth suggested to viewers that “if David Attenborough is still making these sorts of wonderful shows then it can’t be that bad, can it?”

He said a report suggesting giraffes could be heading towards extinction, with numbers plummeting by 40 per cent in the past 15 years, was published while the programme was still on air.

Despite Hughes-Games’ criticism, Sir David did plead for people to make greater efforts towards conservation.

In the final episode he said it was “our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in