BBC will not broadcast Attenborough episode over fear of ‘rightwing backlash’
Exclusive: Decision to make episode about natural destruction available only on iPlayer angers programme-makers
The BBC has decided not to broadcast an episode of Sir David Attenborough’s flagship new series on British wildlife because of fears its themes of the destruction of nature would risk a backlash from Tory politicians and the rightwing press, the Guardian has been told.
The decision has angered the programme-makers and some insiders at the BBC, who fear the corporation has bowed to pressure from lobbying groups with “dinosaurian ways”.
The BBC strongly denied this was the case and insisted the episode in question was never intended for broadcast.
Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “For the BBC to censor of one of the nation’s most informed and trusted voices on the nature and climate emergencies is nothing short of an unforgivable dereliction of its duty to public service broadcasting. This government has taken a wrecking ball to our environment – putting over 1,700 pieces of environmental legislation at risk, setting an air pollution target which is a decade too late, and neglecting the scandal of our sewage-filled waterways – which cannot go unexamined and unchallenged by the public.
Chris Packham, who presents Springwatch on the BBC, also criticised the decision. He told the Guardian: “At this time, in our fight to save the world’s biodiversity, it is irresponsible not to put that at the forefront of wildlife broadcasting.”