ITV’s new investigative current affairs show, “Exposure” have revealed that footage they described as IRA terrorist footage from 1988 was in fact footage from the video game “ARMA 2”, released two years ago.
On Tuesday afternoon the documentary was removed from ITV’s online catch-up service after gamers recognized the footage.
A spokesperson for the documentary said that this footage was used in error instead of genuine footage of the IRA.
The documentary, “Gaddafi and the IRA”, which was aired on Monday, explored the flow of weapons and money from former Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi to the Irish Republican Army.
Colonel Gaddafi sent millions of dollars in cash to Real IRA last June
The UK’s Independent Television Authority’s (ITV) documentary was billed as the first part of six in a series which would provide an “in-depth, revealing focus on a range of powerful subjects”.
During the documentary, produced by ITV Studios, in association with Sylvia Jones they showed footage of terrorists shooting down a British helicopter in 1988.
The narrator, actor Paul McGann’s (“Withnail & I”) voice says “With Gaddafi’s heavy machine guns, it was possible to shoot down a helicopter, as the terrorists’ 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, once was enough. No-one died in this attack but there were many other deadly arms to fear.”
Fans of “ARMA 2” soon recognized the footage from the video game released for Windows PCs in 2009. The game is set in a fictional post-Soviet Easter Bloc country.
It has been speculated that the documentaries producers may have taken the footage from YouTube. Footage was posted to the online video site on March 24 titled “P-IRA Ambush British Helicopter, Silverbridge – South Armagh, 23 June, 1988”.
The ITV spokesperson insists that the productions team does have genuine footage. They told the Telegraph “The events featured in Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA were genuine 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.”
He added that the documentary would be available online once the new footage had been added
A representative from “ARMA 2’s” creators Bohemia said “A Bohemia Interactive representative responded: "We've had requests in the past to use ARMA 2 footage for scenes in a documentary and the request was turned down because of the possibility it showed ARMA 2/Bohemia Interactive in a negative way, now using our game to show the actions of terrorists is potentially a very negative and damaging use."
Shortly after the documentary was aired fans of the game began to tweet. One fan, NerdFromTheHerd tweeted “ITV mistook ArmA 2 for "secret IRA footage" ? *plak* #facepalm wow, FAIL banget -__-“. Another Twitter user and gamer, MrCullen, tweeted “Yeah, who knew the IRA made Arma eh? 8T ITV = DUMB”.