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ITV documentary confuses videogames with real life

An ITV documentary has broadcast footage of a videogame believing it was authentic archive video. Oh dear.

This is pretty special. ITV recently broadcast a documentary about Colonel Gaddafi's support of the IRA, including footage of a helicopter being shot down using weapons allegedly supplied by Gaddafi himself. Except said footage is actually from a videogame.

Massive. Fail.

Gaddafi and the IRA, the first in ITV's Exposure series of investigative journalism, presented what looks at first sight like authentic footage of a helicopter being shot down. It even bears the legend 'IRA film 1988' -- but in actual fact it's taken straight from PC shooter ArmA 2.

The footage is clearly presented as genuine. General Sir John Wisey, an officer serving in Northern Ireland between 1990-1993, speaks just before the clip, talking about travelling by helicopter.

"With Gaddafi's heavy machine guns, it was possible to shoot down a helicopter, as the terrorists' own footage of 1988 shows," says the voiceover, as the game footage plays, complete with the 'IRA film 1988' mark. The voiceover goes on, "This is 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 more arms to fear."

Yes, that was a lucky escape for those pixels. So what happened?

It seems it was a simple cock-up. An ITV spokesperson told Broadcast magazine, "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."

The clip has been pulled from ITV Player, ITV's on-demand catch-up service, and will be edited for future broadcasts.