Sir David falls foul of BBC artifice
About the only non-Obama story to catch my eye in recent days was the one about my other, rather older hero, Sir David Attenborough, the world-famous TV naturalist. Apparently his new series about wild animals in their natural habitat - to be shown towards the end of this month - contains a sensational shot of a cobra spitting in Sir David's face.
Another first for the great man. Nobody else, other than Sir David, could ever have had the patience and skill to get such a magnificent picture. The man's a miracle. No wonder he has become a national treasure.
Unfortunately, truth to tell, we now learn from the BBC that the shot is no more than, in their words, a "natural science artifice".
In the real world a captive cobra was taken from a snake farm in South Africa and carefully placed on a rock in the desert so that Attenborough could agitate it into spitting for the camera. That, according to Sir David himself, was the only "method, to get the required results".
Which could well be true, but why on earth should a world famous naturalist want to get a cobra to spit in his face, except for show-business rating reasons?
In other words, show-business is the name of the game. What a disappointment. Deception has become institutionalised in the BBC, as it has in politics too. Journalists fare little better. Nowadays there are very few, perilously few, trustworthy public figures left in any walk of life.
David Attenborough was one of that precious breed and it makes me weep to think that he, like his wretched snake, may be little more than, in the BBC's words, a "natural science artifice". ·
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