BBC denies David Attenborough censorship claims
The Guardian reported that programme makers fear the corporation has bowed to pressure from lobbying groups in making the decision.
It comes as the corporation faces pressure to take action against Match of the Day host and former England striker Gary Lineker over a tweet criticising the goverment’s immigration policy.
Wild Isles, which sees veteran broadcaster Attenborough examine the state of the natural world in the British Isles, starts on Sunday with the first of five episodes going out at primetime.
A sixth episode, understood to look at some of the losses the British countryside has experienced, will not be broadcast alongside them but will instead be available on the iPlayer.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Wild Isles consists of five episodes: Our Precious Isles, Woodland, Grassland, Freshwater and Ocean. Saving Our Wild Isles is a separate film inspired by the series that was commissioned by the RSPB and WWF. We’ve acquired it for iPlayer.”
But the Guardian quoted “senior sources” at the BBC saying the decision had been made to “fend off potential critique from the political right”.
The reported decision was criticised by Labour politician Tom Watson who said: “When the BBC censors a respected and reasonable person like David Attenborough there’s something going wrong with it’s leadership.”
Producer Laura Howard said the episode would look at the damage caused by some farming practices but also examine what farmers were doing right.
She told the Guardian: “I think the facts speak for themselves. You know, we’ve worked really closely with the RSPB in particular who are able to fact-check all of our scripts and provide us with detailed scientific data and information about the loss of wildlife in this country. And it is undeniable, we are incredibly nature depleted. And I don’t think that that is political, I think it’s just facts.”