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Frozen Planet decides not to air episode in U.S.
November 15, 2011 11:36 AM   Subscribe

BBC's "Frozen Planet" series will not be airing an episode about climate change in the United States.
posted by deathpanels (78 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ugh, that's ridiculous.
posted by delmoi at 11:39 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Failing to preach to the sinners.
posted by DU at 11:39 AM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


*facepalm*
posted by PenDevil at 11:39 AM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm getting madder every day.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:39 AM on November 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


Ignorance is advertising bliss
posted by infini at 11:40 AM on November 15, 2011


I don't blame the BBC for this. They can't force Discovery to show it. Blame Discovery. This can and hopefully will get reversed if enough people complain.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:40 AM on November 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh no darling, those deck chairs look much better over here.
posted by headnsouth at 11:41 AM on November 15, 2011 [34 favorites]


Discovery Viewer Relations
Discovery Ethics Hotline
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:41 AM on November 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


All the more reason to download it from the internet instead.
posted by briank at 11:42 AM on November 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I know that we (the U. S.) are not North Korea, nor are we in immediate danger of turning into such, BUT FUCKING STILL.
posted by Danf at 11:43 AM on November 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Your post is misleading. From the linked article:
The environmental programme has been relegated by the BBC to an “optional extra” alongside a behind-the-scenes documentary which foreign networks can ignore.
...
Over 30 networks across the world have bought the series but a third of them have rejected the choice of the additional two episodes, including the one on climate change.
...
However, the Frozen Planet DVD will be sold overseas - including the US - containing all seven episodes as broadcast in the UK.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said it was not be feasible to force networks to buy the climate change episode as it features Sir David talking extensively to the camera and there are many countries where he is not famous.
In other words, BBC made the 7th episode and a behind-the-scenes bonus episode as optional extra purchases alongside the bulk of the series, and a number of counties (including the US) have opted to not purchase the extra episodes.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:44 AM on November 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


the BBC said that Discovery, which shows the series in the US, had a “scheduling issue so only had slots for six episodes”

Yep. Just couldn't find that one extra hour eh, Discovery? Couldn't squeeze it in between Hogs Gone Wild and Cash Cab?
posted by auto-correct at 11:46 AM on November 15, 2011 [54 favorites]


there are many countries where he is not famous.

What kinds of hellholes are they talking about??
posted by cmoj at 11:47 AM on November 15, 2011 [29 favorites]


Failing to preach to the sinners.

You say that as if the audience to whom the episode has been shown are not also sinners. Moreover, it's not "failing to preach" it's "charging extra for the privilege of listening to the sermon."
posted by The World Famous at 11:48 AM on November 15, 2011


filthy light thief, blah blah blah.

Sir David Whathisface isn't famous so we're not including episode 7? Right. In order to sell the series to foreign markets, the BBC decided to equate the last episode to behind-the-scenes content and make it optional. Money, as usual, trumps integrity.
posted by lydhre at 11:48 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


What kinds of hellholes are they talking about??

You may or may not be aware that in the US, Attenborough's narration for Planet Earth was replaced by... Sigourney Weaver.

Yeah.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


"In the case of Discovery in the USA, they had a scheduling issue so only had slots for six episodes"...

I guess they needed the airtime for their show about how ghosts are real.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:50 AM on November 15, 2011 [20 favorites]


and a number of counties (including the US) have opted to not purchase the extra episodes.

"decides not to air" vs "opted to not purchase"

What is the difference? Agreed, the title changes in that its not about BBC not wanting to sell it but Discovery not wanting to buy it - what makes it worse? Here's another quote:

Viewers in the United States, where climate change sceptics are particularly strong group, will not see the full episode.

Instead, the BBC said that Discovery, which shows the series in the US, had a “scheduling issue so only had slots for six episodes”, so “elements” of the climate change episode would be incorporated into their final show, with editorial assistance from the Corporation.


So, agreed, the framing of the post is indeed misleading but ironically it puts it in a better light than the actual words
posted by infini at 11:50 AM on November 15, 2011


In other words, BBC made the 7th episode and a behind-the-scenes bonus episode as optional extra purchases alongside the bulk of the series, and a number of counties (including the US) have opted to not purchase the extra episodes.

Shall we repeat this a few more times?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:50 AM on November 15, 2011


So, agreed, the framing of the post is indeed misleading but ironically it puts it in a better light than the actual words

Not if you work for BBC it doesn't.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2011


OK, the framing of the post is misleading, but I think there's more to GRAR about than Discovery not choosing to pick up that one episode. BBC offered it as a separate purchase, which shows that they are caving to the market pressures from other countries where climate change skepticism still exists. Around 10 networks, including Discovery, chose not to purchase the bonus material.

There's more to the story than Discovery not broadcasting an episode on climate change.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:54 AM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the BBC Worldwide blog: Majority of International Broadcasters Will Show All Frozen Planet episodes

The first six episodes of Frozen Planet have a clear story arc charting a year in our polar regions and are narrated by David Attenborough, who appears briefly on camera in the opening episode. In non-English speaking countries, this out-of-shot narration is the preferred way of buying documentaries as it gives broadcasters the opportunity to voice-over in the relevant local language, without having to re-edit the programme.

The seventh and final episode of the series “Frozen Planet: On Thin Ice” is presenter-led with David Attenborough in shot. Although it is filmed by the same team and to the same production standard, this programme is necessarily different in style. Having a presenter in vision requires many broadcasters to have the programme dubbed, ultimately giving some audiences a very different experience. It is for this reason and not the content – that we market the episode separately, giving broadcasters the flexibility in how they schedule the programme.

The fact that the vast majority of broadcasters have licensed the Frozen Planet:On Thin Ice episode is testament to the appeal of David Attenborough.

posted by bright cold day at 11:54 AM on November 15, 2011


BBC is dumbing down its own content.
posted by smackfu at 11:54 AM on November 15, 2011


BBC is dumbing down its own content.

But offering a choice to the market to choose which version they prefer.
posted by infini at 11:56 AM on November 15, 2011


Color me surprised that Discovery would behave like savages. Are they going to replace David Attenborough's voice with Oprah's too (again)?
posted by mullingitover at 11:56 AM on November 15, 2011


But offering a choice to the market to choose which version they prefer.

"Here, fail this idiot test."
posted by griphus at 11:58 AM on November 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is why shows get torrented, I'm afraid.
posted by Renoroc at 12:00 PM on November 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


There weren't enough scientific alien references in the seventh episode.
posted by smithsmith at 12:05 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is a shame- Global Warming would have gained a lot of credibility from being aired between "Search For Sasquatch" and "Ghost Chasers."
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:05 PM on November 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


FTA....
- - “We would encourage the networks that haven’t bought the whole thing to think again and not to censor the issue.”
- - "Viewers in the United States, where climate change sceptics are particularly strong group, will not see the full episode."


I am sure it is a fine show, but statements like this are just stupid. To use a word like "censor" and "client change sceptics" smacks that there is some conspiracy afoot. Whether it is a scheduling problem or not, it all comes down to the money. It is far less and issue of censorship than one of who wants to foot the bill. Discovery Channel is not known for their weighty schedule so it is no surprise they opted to air the new-goofy-not-so-real-reality-show-du-jour-that-brings-in-audience-and-advertisers. Maybe the BBC should look for a new distributor.
posted by lampshade at 12:06 PM on November 15, 2011


They can't force Discovery to show it. Blame Discovery.

Yes, blame those damn Global Warming deniers over at the Discovery Channel for failing to show yet another global warming episode.

Although you do have a crazed gunman backing you up on the scheduling issues here, so who am I to say?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:08 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


WAKE UP, SHEEPLE.
posted by glaucon at 12:08 PM on November 15, 2011


The Telegraph readers really do not do themselves proud in the comments section at the end of that article you linked to do they?
posted by Megami at 12:09 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I'd like to pretend that things like climate change and habit loss didn't exist, especially after watching some of those beautiful BBC nature documentaries and getting really invested in the lives of gorillas or killer whales and then hearing that inevitable depressing coda about how everything I've just seen is on the brink of disappearing forever. But skipping the end would miss the whole point of the documentary in the first place. They're showing us these wonderful places so we'll learn to value them, and understand what is really at stake today. The networks that drop the final episode from Frozen Planet will be doing a disservice to their viewers by showing them only the happy parts of the show.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:10 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world. Four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive. This is the story of how stupid many of them are.
posted by Fizz at 12:15 PM on November 15, 2011


I guess they needed the airtime for their show about how ghosts are real.

Ghosts are real?! I knew it!
posted by kirkaracha at 12:18 PM on November 15, 2011


They're showing us these wonderful places so we'll learn to value them, and understand what is really at stake today.

Alternately: "Who needs the polar ice caps? I already have the video!"
posted by mazola at 12:22 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice. Makes my family's decision to not watch TV (going on five years now) that much better.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:24 PM on November 15, 2011


This story confirms biases I hold about the American media. As such, I wish to counter all observations about why this is a non-story with increasingly angry and convuluted theories disguised as facts.
posted by seanyboy at 12:27 PM on November 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Am I the only one who thinks Discovery should both air the global warming episode, which features David Attenborough prominently, and over dub with Oprah's voice?
posted by selenized at 12:29 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Alternately: "Who needs the polar ice caps? I already have the video!""

But I don't think most people are satisfied that easily. On the biggest problems environmentalism faces is that most people simply have no experience of nature. Something like 50% of the world's population lives in cities, and most of the rest are too poor and busy trying to stay alive to have time for outside perspectives. So we live our small lives doing what we need to do as individuals, and seldom see the bigger picture.

What these nature documentaries do is quite literally show people that bigger picture - disguised as entertainment, the sights and sounds of the natural world sneak into people's heads through their HDTVs, and when you see enough of them you can never casually dismiss wild things again. Or to put it another way, you can't unlearn something you've learned, and go back to believing that your little piece of the world is all that matters.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:37 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


A spokeswoman for the BBC said it was not be feasible to force networks to buy the climate change episode as it features Sir David talking extensively to the camera and there are many countries where he is not famous.

This, right here, is the real scandal.
posted by [citation needed] at 12:38 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really worry about this country sometimes.
posted by freakazoid at 12:38 PM on November 15, 2011



The Telegraph readers really do not do themselves proud in the comments section at the end of that article you linked to do they?

...do they ever? Have I just been reading the wrong Telegraph articles??
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:41 PM on November 15, 2011


Is this something you'd need to give a shit?
posted by swift at 12:50 PM on November 15, 2011


From the comments:
[posted by] rocketscientist

No, it's politically motivated, unproven BS.
As a Rocket Scientist, engineer and all-round genius, I do know about these things.
Belief in CAGW is for gullible pillocks.

Recommended by 2 people
Dry British wit?

Also, are we capitalizing "Rocket Scientist" now? Were they convinced by the Realtors® that this was a good idea?
posted by [citation needed] at 12:53 PM on November 15, 2011


mullingitover: "Color me surprised that Discovery would behave like savages."

Hey! Knock it off! I've met one of Discovery's Savages, and he seems like a really nice guy.
posted by schmod at 12:56 PM on November 15, 2011


It should be noted that the Telegraph is home to some of the more ardent climate change sceptics, like Christopher Booker and James Delingpole. They also dislike the BBC. This makes for a somewhat ironic and schizophrenic article.
posted by Auz at 1:03 PM on November 15, 2011


Discovery Networks brought us "Sarah Palin's Alaska" and I've been boycotting them ever since. I think this is, in fact, political.
posted by zomg at 1:12 PM on November 15, 2011


Instead, the BBC said that Discovery, which shows the series in the US, had a “scheduling issue so only had slots for six episodes"

To run that seventh episode they would have had to drop a repeat of "American Guns" or "Hillbilly Handfishin.'"
posted by bgrebs at 1:25 PM on November 15, 2011


I really like the jokes in this thread about the other programs that Discovery shows. Because obviously, the BBC never shows anything stupid, insipid, or lacking in scientific, ethical, or moral merit.

Now excuse me while I go back to watching Jeremy Clarkson drop a piano on a Maserati.
posted by The World Famous at 1:31 PM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really like the jokes in this thread about the other programs that Discovery shows. Because obviously, the BBC never shows anything stupid, insipid, or lacking in scientific, ethical, or moral merit.

I suspect, even accounting for the fact that the BBC is general-purpose set of channels, that it still shows more scientific programming than the ostensibly-science-oriented Discovery Channel.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:39 PM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really like the jokes in this thread about the other programs that Discovery shows. Because obviously, the BBC never shows anything stupid, insipid, or lacking in scientific, ethical, or moral merit.

Not sure why you're trying to turn this into a Discovery vs BBC thing. Discovery explicitly said they don't have room in their schedule to show the episode about global warming. Because they're busy showing those insipid shows that people are joking about above. Nothing to do with the BBC.
posted by inigo2 at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2011


Global Warming would have gained a lot of credibility from being aired between "Search For Sasquatch" and "Ghost Chasers."

If only the Discovery channel had some kind of show that, I don't know... "busts" these types of "myths" or something like that.
posted by banshee at 1:43 PM on November 15, 2011


Not sure why you're trying to turn this into a Discovery vs BBC thing.

I'm not. The people mocking American television programming are.

Discovery explicitly said they don't have room in their schedule to show the episode about global warming.

In response to BBC's request that they pay an additional fee in order to show that episode.

Because they're busy showing those insipid shows that people are joking about above.

Which they already own the rights to show, in contrast to the episode that BBC wants to sell them.

Nothing to do with the BBC.

Which is the source of the program that Discovery decided not to purchase.
posted by The World Famous at 1:47 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the comments:

[posted by] rocketscientist

No, it's politically motivated, unproven BS.
As a Rocket Scientist, engineer and all-round genius, I do know about these things.
Belief in CAGW is for gullible pillocks.

Recommended by 2 people

Dry British wit?


You hardly need this confirming, I'm sure, but that person's joking.

It should be noted that the Telegraph is home to some of the more ardent climate change sceptics, like Christopher Booker and James Delingpole.

Christopher Booker and James Delingpole are not "skeptics" by any stretch of the word. They are out–and–out mountebank obscurantists.
posted by Jehan at 1:48 PM on November 15, 2011


Bah.

At least when the Dutch broadcasts of Planet Earth etc were censored to remove all traces of evolution from them, this was done behind the back of the BBC, not with their consent.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:00 PM on November 15, 2011


In response to BBC's request that they pay an additional fee in order to show that episode.

So.. Discovery was lying about not showing it due to having a full schedule?
posted by inigo2 at 2:19 PM on November 15, 2011


Oddly, a lot of the "blue chip" BBC nature programs - The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life and so on - were co-funded and co-produced by the BBC and Discovery Channel. This was meant to be the case with Frozen Planet - Discovery are even on record as being "excit[ed] to be working with the BBC on a project that takes a deeper look at two of the most extreme areas on the planet. Frozen Planet will amaze viewers in its majesty and inform viewers about the Arctic and Antarctic as the climate changes and the plant and animal life has to evolve or perish.”

So what happened?
posted by cromagnon at 2:22 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


So.. Discovery was lying about not showing it due to having a full schedule?

I don't have any direct personal knowledge on the matter, but my impression is that, no, they were not lying in saying that they chose not to pay extra for that episode due to the fact that they already own the rights to programming that will fill that slot but that they don't have to pay extra for.
posted by The World Famous at 2:25 PM on November 15, 2011


Discovery is using some pieces of episode 7 in their showing of episode 6. Must've gotten it for free then, since it's a cost issue. (Even though they said it's a scheduling issue.)
posted by inigo2 at 2:38 PM on November 15, 2011


I can't watch nature documentaries any more, no matter what towering works of astonishing beauty and genius they may be (see: just about every nature documentary made by the BBC). I used to love them, but now they just depress me too completely.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:01 PM on November 15, 2011


So now the United States gets cautious about UK intelligence sources?
posted by srboisvert at 3:19 PM on November 15, 2011 [2 favorites]



Although you do have a crazed gunman backing you up on the scheduling issues here, so who am I to say?


Ah yes a link to Alex Jones' site...now that's some official black ops shit! Thanks for removing the wool from our eyes Mr Lies.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:47 PM on November 15, 2011


At least when the Dutch broadcasts of Planet Earth etc were censored to remove all traces of evolution from them, this was done behind the back of the BBC, not with their consent.

You know, if you look at all the older Attenborough documentaries (e.g. Life, Secret Life of Plants) you'll find a strong emphasis on evolution as an explanatory theory - questions like "Why do these vines grow this way? Because this environmental factor selects for that trait" etc.

More and more the BBC natural history shows emphasise beautiful cinematography (and it is beautiful), with very little scientific context, and what context there is relates to the behaviour of the animals. In the last two or three series, say those in widescreen format, you won't find any actual biology - it's just photography, and it leaves me feeling like I've been talking to someone very pretty but not all there.

What has caused this? Why have they shifted? Is it because the discovery channel is co-producer in the newer series? Can they not sell proper science to American audiences?
posted by claudius at 7:07 PM on November 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


What has caused this? Why have they shifted? Is it because the discovery channel is co-producer in the newer series? Can they not sell proper science to American audiences?

I think the fact that a lot of homes have HDTVs almost certainly has a lot to do with it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:03 PM on November 15, 2011


Do people who record their nature documentaries suddenly have less interest in science than broadcast viewers?
posted by claudius at 8:32 PM on November 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least when the Dutch broadcasts of Planet Earth etc were censored to remove all traces of evolution from them, this was done behind the back of the BBC, not with their consent.

That seems like an oversimplification.

According to Wikipedia: The Dutch version of the DVD produced by Evangelische Omroep removed all references to (amongst others) evolution, fossils, and continental drift.... The Dutch version of the book includes the full text of the original book, as did the Dutch language version of the programme broadcast on the Belgian broadcaster Canvas.
posted by sneebler at 8:37 PM on November 15, 2011


Are they going to replace David Attenborough's voice with Oprah's too (again)?

Nope. Sarah Palin.
posted by homunculus at 12:12 AM on November 16, 2011


Nothing new here, really just another example of how the American audience needs a little more context, slightly more positive framing, a bit more about how this all relates to your ordinary joe? It needs to be a little clearer that it's a feelgood programme about the Wonders of Mother Nature's inexhaustible bounty, you know - maybe end with a folksy quote in voiceover (is Morgan Freeman available?) from the Bible, that bit in Genesis about the beasts of the field being, you know, a blessing vouchsafed by God to America forever.

We love his accent, but unfortunately Attenborough's delivery is just a little confusing.
posted by Segundus at 1:17 AM on November 16, 2011


The Telegraph readers really do not do themselves proud in the comments section at the end of that article you linked to do they?
I know exactly who reads the papers: the Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 6:46 AM on November 16, 2011


> pretend that things like climate change and habit loss didn't exist,

Where's that at?
posted by jfuller at 11:37 AM on November 16, 2011


The Telegraph readers really do not do themselves proud in the comments section at the end of that article you linked to do they?

Have you not come across the Telegraph comments section yet? It's where very, very angry and confused people who suffer from a lack of love go to be angry and confused because in real life they don't do anything more than glower, mutter, masturbate guiltily until their penises nearly come off at the hinge, and write poorly composed letters of complaint to local newspapers.

The Telegraph comments section is a positive force for good in the world, because if many of the commenters weren't commenting, they would be digging shallow graves in nearby woodland.
posted by reynir at 12:02 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, jfuller. I'm not sure what your asking.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:48 PM on November 16, 2011



Have you not come across the Telegraph comments section yet?


Oh yes, I know it well. My spouse and I will tell each other off if we catch the other reading the comments on any Telegraph article, as we both know it is detrimental to our mental health. My poor husband has to work with many people I am sure are people who post in the Telegraph comments section.
posted by Megami at 1:57 PM on November 16, 2011


It's like playing with a loose tooth. Hurts, but it's hard not to have just one...little...

Your husband is a brave man.
posted by reynir at 2:14 PM on November 16, 2011


>the American audience needs a little more context

Less 'actual' context, more 'manifest destiny' context probably...
posted by panaceanot at 5:03 AM on November 17, 2011


Follow up......Looks like Discovery Channel changed their mind and found a slot of time to air th e seventh episode......


'Discovery Channel's documentary series "Frozen Planet" will premiere March 18, and will encompass seven episodes
posted by lampshade at 1:58 AM on December 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


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