This is going to feel like telling a child that Santa Claus doesn't exist. We've long held the assumption that animal documentaries are one of the very few programmes left on TV that we can trust as 'real'. Not so, says Chris Palmer, who makes a living producing them. Click.
Ok, before you get carried away and throw your Cable subscription out the window, I believe that, like any other kind of programme on TV, there is a genuine attempt to tell a true story. However, the true story cannot always be caught on camera at the time the camera is looking for a true story to capture. Very often, these stories have to be reenacted by actors, whether human or animal.
The truth in animal documentaries? Let's just call these presentations a sacrifice of low-resolution truth for the sake of high-definition video storytelling. It's better than channel surfing to Nat Geo and getting frozen on a "Service disrupted till the Truth appears" message before something interesting shows up.