BBC Admits Getting Tribespeople to Fake Scenes for TV

By Gary Cutlack on at

Scenes from the BBC's 2011 series Human Planet were faked in part, the corporation has admitted, with the local tribespeople revealing that they pretended to need a new treehouse in order to give the film crew something interesting to record.

This particular tribe in Papua New Guinea seems to have become the go-to tribe for BBC documentary makers, as the revelation of past BBC fakery came while a new programme featuring the supposed tree-dwelling Korowai people was being filmed.

One of the Korowai told the latest documentary crew that they erected a new house in the trees "...for the benefit of overseas programme makers," although it wasn't specified whether the crew specifically requested a house building sequence or if the tribespeople, ever keen to help, decided themselves to build something to entertain the incomers.

The BBC has confirmed it broadcast something not entirely genuine, with a spokesperson saying: "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." [Guardian]