Best documentary TV mistakes of all time

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Top Gear picture

India Special - S18-E1

Revealing mistake: Watch the opening sequence of this episode very carefully - Clarkson, May and Hammond are not in Downing Street (they are on a set that stands on the BBC backlot) and library footage of the Prime Minister is cleverly edited in to make it look as if they were there at the same time. Even taking into account the fact that the Prime Minister's security service would never allow such an intrusion onto Downing Street, the line up of the shots does not quite match - our three intrepid heroes should be visible in shot when the Prime Minister is shown exiting number 10, but they are nowhere to be seen. It is all sleight of hand and clever editing, but detectable if you watch carefully enough.


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Breaking Vegas picture

Show generally

Factual error: In the episode, "Professor Blackjack", Manny puts a stack of one hundred dollar bills on the card table for the professor to bet. The bills are the new ones issued a few years ago with the enlarged portrait of Benjamin Franklin. The scene is supposed to take place in 1961.

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Prehistoric Park picture

T-Rex Returns - S1-E1

Continuity mistake: When Theo hits the fence it becomes snapped a bit but in the next shot you can see him preparing to charge at the fence again, and it is whole again.

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Dirty Jobs picture

Exotic Animal Keeper - S3-E13

Continuity mistake: While Mike is cleaning out the armadillo's hay, just before he finishes the second one you can see the amount of hay in the bin is a few inches from the top of the bin. The next shot goes to a close up of him removing more hay but the amount of hay now in the bin is a bit below the top.

Lummie Premium member

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Show generally

Other mistake: If you look on Disk Three, in the Features section, select "Behind the Tunes", you'll see three titles: "Too fast, too furry-ous", "Blanc Expressions", and "Merrie Melodies: Carl Stalling and Cartoon Misic". Misic? Just to be sure I unloaded the DVD player software and rebooted. Nope, still there. How did THAT get past quality control? Should be "music", in case you're wondering.

Kevin Provance

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MythBusters picture

Coffin Punch - S6-E19

Continuity mistake: Jamie and Adam are shooting at Police badges to see which one would potentially stop a bullet. When they get to the third badge, it is held up to the camera. It says 'Jamie Hyneman' on the badge. The badge is then shot, and shown again to the camera. This time the engraved writing on the badge has changed to 'Adam Savage'.

Mr Manchester

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Overhaulin' picture

Show generally

Continuity mistake: In the episode where they overhaul a 1976 blue van, there is a shot of the white donor van being carted away. Yet later on in the same episode, the white donor van is back in the workshop.


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Unidentified: Inside America's UFO Investigation picture

The Pattern Revealed - S1-E3

Other mistake: A Mexican pilot based in Ensenada is interviewed. He owns a 1983 Cessna 172 aircraft. When they show it in the air, it is a 2005 Cessna 182 based in San Antonio per the FAA database. A US registry aircraft would not be based in Mexico, owned by a Mexican pilot. (00:11:20)


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Mysteries of the Abandoned picture

Pompeii's Gate to Hell - S4-E8

Factual error: This episode includes a segment about an abandoned dry dock in San Francisco. At one point, one of the commentators several times refers to the U.S.S. Ward as a "battleship," and marvels that it was built in 17 days. The Ward (DD-139) was a 1200-ton destroyer, not a battleship, and was launched after only 17 days, but then took another two months to complete. By way of comparison, the California (BB-44), an actual battleship of 32,000-tons built during the same time period, too nearly five years to complete.


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Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda picture

Point of No Return - S5-E13

Revealing mistake: In the second of two cases, a man who shot and killed his girlfriend is stopped by police. He is shown pointing his handgun out of the car window, but it is obvious that the barrel and recoil spring assembly of the gun have been removed. (00:41:03)

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The Tower picture

Show generally

Factual error: Both Inspector Shaw and Chief Inspector Bailie wear their medal ribbons in the wrong order. The Golden Jubilee Medal is worn first, followed by the Diamond Jubilee Medal, followed by (for Bailie) the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.


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Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown picture

Scotland - S5-E3

Continuity mistake: At dinner the two male guests in the forefront both have a full plate of food and a man in a brown shirt is pouring gravy on his meal. In the next shot the two men are shown serving themselves for the first time. (00:57:00 - 00:58:00)


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American Monster picture

Death in Springtime - S3-E4

Other mistake: In this true crime show there are both reenactments and actual police photos used. The narrator states that thousands of rounds of ammunition were found in the home where a crime was committed. But the accompanying "Actual police evidence" photo that's supposed to be ammo is actually stacks of Kodak Slide Carousels. (My dad was a photographer and we had these in my house.) (00:29:15)


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