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Sunday, 14 October, 2001, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
BBC defends indoor lobster footage
The Blue Planet BBC
The series discovered 10 unknown species of fish
The BBC has defended defended its Blue Planet series, about life in the world's oceans, after it was revealed that some of its footage was shot in a lobster tank.

As part of the 7m series, a sequence of lobsters spawning in the Atlantic off Nova Scotia was actually filmed in an Anglesey aquarium.


I would say 2% of the whole series has been filmed in tanks

Series producer Alastair Fothergill
But the corporation said this was to protect the environment.

Blue Planet, which is in eight parts and is narrated by Sir David Attenborough, features the lobsters in the fifth episode.

A BBC spokesman said: "Unique footage of lobsters was shot in the sea off Nova Scotia. It took three weeks to film.

"The final 30-second sequence involved macro-photographic footage of some specific lobsters spawning and was taken at Anglesey Sea Zoo, north Wales.

Dolphins BBC
Dolphins were filmed more intimately than ever before
"It would have been unethical and physically impossible to shoot this physical process in the wild as it would have caused unnecessary and unacceptable disturbance, while doing it at Anglesey did not cause this."

He added that the sequence showed a biological process that "could not be shown in any other way" and that the sequence shown was "in no way fake".

Series producer Alastair Fothergill told The Sun newspaper that the programme rarely referred to the location because it "wasn't the point".

The albatross BBC
The albatross: One of thousands of creatures which live from the sea
He said: "I would say 2% of the whole series has been filmed in tanks."

The BBC spokesman added the corporation was "totally satisfied" that it would have been "impractical and unethical" to have filmed the biological process in the wild.

"The resulting footage allows the viewer to witness an amazing process they would not have been able to otherwise," he said.

The Blue Planet spans the length and breadth of the world's seas. It takes viewers to the water's murkiest depths and shows the array of wildlife that depends on the ocean to live.

Killer Whales BBC
Killer whales provide dramatic footage
The series was co-funded by the US TV network the Discovery Channel. It has been sold to several other countries before its broadcast in the UK.

Twenty specialist camera teams were employed to film 200 locations around the world, descending as far as 3,962 metres (13,000ft).

It captures the previously unseen behaviour of many creatures, such as dolphins.

Each programme in the series is followed by a 10-minute short called Making Waves, in which cameramen describe their cutting-edge techniques.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Breakfast News meets Alastair Fothergill
Producer describes his ground-breaking series
See also:

11 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
BBC launches ocean odyssey
14 Aug 01 | TV and Radio
BBC unveils autumn line-up
13 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Dinosaurs walk off with prize
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