Frozen Planet : the facts

Frozen Planet is a 7 part series made by the BBC that is presently being shown on the BBC channel; it is about life at the poles. Last night, in Bristol, one of the series directors, Vanessa Berlowitz who is also one of the authors of the book of the series, gave an illustrated talk about the making of the series. This was a fascinating insight not only into life at the poles but also into the way the series was put together.

One interesting topic that arose during the question and answer session at the end was about whether CGI (computer generated imagery) was used at all during the making of Frozen Planet. It would have been so much easier and much much cheaper, for the BBC to put much of the series together using material already gathered.

However, it is to the credit of the BBC, that they did not do this and made sure that everything was photographed as it was. They missed a few events such as Beluga whales caught by the change of seasons yet the whole series features events as they happened often caught not only by cameramen on the ground but also by cameras above in helicopters.

The result is imagery that is not only aesthetically stimulating but also informative as we learn more about a vast area of the planet from which we are isolated.

However, there was incident that came to light in the press that the BBC were not being open about. This was the footage of baby polar bears in their den before they emerged into the world. The impression given was that somehow the film crew had got cameras into the den itself situated on a snowy mountain slope in a polar region when in fact it was filmed in a Dutch zoo. Legitimate practice perhaps but some of the public felt duped.

A book of photographs from the series is available.