ITV admits it passed off clip from a VIDEO GAME as footage of IRA attack on British helicopter in new flagship news show
Last updated at 8:00 PM on 27th September 2011
ITV was this evening forced to apologise after faking footage on a brand-new flagship show – using clips from a violent video game.
Network chiefs were left embarrassed after admitting that new prime-time show Exposure had used clips from Arma II, purportedly showing the IRA shooting down a British Army helicopter.
Footage of the 1988 'attack' was shown to viewers on Monday night's premiere show on ITV1, which exposed the former Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi's links with the IRA.
The helicopter was seen being blasted by soldiers on a hillside, before spiralling down to earth as a voiceover stated: ‘Gaddafi weapons had upped the ante.’
But hours after Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA was broadcast, angry viewers took to the Internet and claimed that in fact, the footage had actually been taken from video game Arma II.
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But it would appear that during the editing process the correct clip of the 1988 incident was not selected and other footage was mistakenly included in the film by producers.
‘This was an unfortunate case of human error for which we apologise.’
General Sir John Wilsey, general officer commanding for Northern Ireland from 1990-93, was interviewed on the programme about the attack, saying: ‘We were forced off the roads which then slowed down our progress which is why we had to travel by helicopter.
‘As always with counter-terrorism, there are technical changes which take place and you have to go through that technical business, each side trying to out-do the other technically.’
The documentary then cut to footage which appeared to show IRA members shooting down a helicopter.
The voiceover was heard to say: ‘With Gaddafi’s heavy machine guns, it was possible to shoot down a helicopter as the terrorist’s own footage of 1988 shows.
‘This was what the security forces feared most. It may have been a lucky hit but for the army and crew oncewas enough. No-one died in this attack, but there were many more arms to fear.’
However, viewers were quick to spot the indiscretion, while Marek Spanel , the CEO of Bohema Interactive, the Czech company behind Arma II, said the firm had not been approached by ITV for permission to use the footage.
Arma II is a tactical shooter computer game, with a plot that follows an army's attempt to exert control on a war-ravaged country.
And Mr Spanel told website PC Gamer: ‘We are going to try to get some explanation from ITV how this could hSometimes creativity and realism in our games lead into crazy results and this is one such example. I just briefly watched the entire documentary and I still cannot believe it, as it is overall a very serious and lengthy feature.
‘We are surprised our games apparently may look real enough to some users already that they cannot tell it is not real life footage.’
An ITV source said they had not yet received any complaints, insisting: ‘We did have the original footage of this incident, which broadcast back in 1989.
‘There was obviously a mix-up in the edit and wrong material was selected.’
The insider said the actual computer game footage did reflect what was in the original footage, but added it was no excuse for the error.
This evening the documentary was taken off ITV Player, the online service, and was being re-edited.
The IRA attack, in South Armagh, on June 23, 1988 is one of four such incidents where helicopters were shot down by the terrorists.
Fighters used DShK heavy machine guns and improvised mortars - supposedly supplied by the former Libyan leader - to blast the British Army chopper out of the sky.
A Provisional IRA unit of the South Armagh Brigade was said to be responsible for the attack.
ITV heralded the launch of Exposure as the ‘spiritual successor'’ to ground-breaking investigative show World In Action, which ended 13 years ago.
The Gaddafi special, which pulled in more than 1 million viewers at 10.35pm on Monday night, was the first in a run of six single documentary investigative shows.
The programme synopsis promised to examine Colonel Gaddafi's support for the Republican terrorists and investigate the continuing danger of his legacy.
Last night, media watchdog Ofcom said it had received a ‘handful’ of complaints and would assess the complaints before deciding whether to launch an investigation.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2042568/ITV-fake-footage-row-new-documentary-passes-game-IRA-gun-attack-British-helicopter.html#ixzz1ZBkokOh8
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