EXCLUSIVE Bird brained! Police probe Hollywood star James McAvoy’s new C4 reality TV series The Bridge after ‘producers scare three ospreys by flying noisy drones in filming’
A Channel 4 TV show fronted by A-Lister James McAvoy is being investigated by police over claims rare birds were disturbed by noisy filming.
Two adult ospreys and their chick have fled their nest during filming of reality series The Bridge at a remote Welsh lake. In the show 12 strangers try to build a path across the lake in 20 days to win a £100,000 prize pot.
Angry con locals claim flares and a drone was used filming the show, which is fronted by the X-Men and Shameless star, 41, which scared off the birds of prey.
James McAvoy’s new Channel 4 show ‘The Bridge’ is set in Llyn Berig reservoir near Snowdonia, mid Wales, and sees 12 strangers pitted against one another to try to build a path across the lake in 20 days to win a £100,000 prize pot
Filming has been going on this week, but show producers are embroiled in an angry war of words with local conservationists who claim that noisy drones and the use of flares during filming have disturbed two ospreys living at the reservoir
Two adult ospreys (file picture left) and their chick have fled their nest during filming of reality show The Bridge at a remote Welsh lake which is fronted by British Hollywood star McAvoy (right)
The North Wales Rural Crime Unit opened a probe last month in to filming at the reservoir (above) – but ruled ‘no crime had been committed’ due to a lack of evidence. Now new evidence has been submitted and the investigation has been re-opened
The new five-part competition series will see contestants build a 250-metre bridge for the chance to win £100,000.
A team of 12 strangers are given 20 days to collectively complete the task, with a £100,000 cash prize waiting for whoever is voted the most deserving by their fellow workers.
James, who’s married to fellow actor Anne-Marie Duff, 49, will narrate the show that is set to air later this year after following ‘strict Covid-19 production guidelines’ to continue filming.
It is a criminal offence to disturb ospreys which are protected birds in the UK. There are only five breeding pairs in Wales.
Two of the ospreys were spotted at the other side of the Llyn Berig reservoir near Snowdonia but the whereabouts of one of the adults is unknown.
It hasn’t been seen for sometime and appears to have flown off, possibly as a result of filming at Llyn Berig, conservationists suggest.
The North Wales Rural Crime Unit opened an investigation last month but initially ruled ‘no crime had been committed’ due to a lack of evidence.
However the North Wales Wildlife Trust has submitted new evidence and the investigation has been re-opened.
A North Wales Police spokesman said: ‘Investigations are on-going.’
A source said: ‘It is quite difficult to prove so the first investigation was closed. But new evidence has come to light.’
The reserve’s senior officer Chris Wynne told MailOnline: ‘People are very concerned for the ospreys and a lot of people are out looking for them.
‘We just hope that the chick is going to get enough food. We think one of the adults might have migrated.
‘We want the police to investigate fully as these birds as so rare and protected. They left their nest and have been at the other side of the lake.
‘They are a real attraction to people as they are such beautiful creatures.’
The contestants were pictured at the beauty spot in mid Wales this week as they battle it out to build a bridge together on TV
McAvoy (pictured left last year) is narrating the Channel 4 show, which is set at a remote lake in the mid Wales countryside. Nature lovers are rowing with the TV crews because it is a criminal offence to disturb ospreys, which are protected UK birds
Ospreys became extinct in England in 1840 and died out in Scotland in 1916.
There are thought to be more than 200 in the UK now. They only eat fish.
The ospreys have been at Llyn Brenig for the past three years after a special project was set up.
There is a viewing cabin where people can sit 450ft away from their nesting area.
But Channel 4’s filming has caused widespread anger among local nature lovers who fear the ospreys might not return after they migrate.
Wood cabins have been built by the side of the lake for the show and contestants have started taking part.
A spokesman for Channel 4 told MailOnline that they have worked closely with Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales to ensure the production fully complies with guidelines for filming in this area with a focus on environmental impact
Brian Hughes, 67, who walks his dog near the lake, said: ‘People heard flares being set off and I saw a drone flying around.
‘No wonder the ospreys were scared off – it’s disgraceful. People love them around here as they are such magnificent creatures but everyone is worried they will not come back next year as they have been scared.’
The North Wales Trust insisted it was not informed about the filming by Dwr Cymru Welsh Water or the TV production company.
A spokesman said: ‘We would like to make clear that we were not asked to assess the potential impact on the ospreys of any of the activities linked to the filming in advance of the works taking place: or, indeed, told that the works were due to take place at all.’
A spokesperson for Channel 4 said: ‘We have worked closely with Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales to ensure the production fully complies with guidelines for filming in this area with a focus on environmental impact.
‘These include specific criteria to make sure that our presence does not disturb nesting birds including an exclusion zone around the nests, noise control and waste management.’