Thanks to @ltshizane_DStv1 for the reply.
To be clear about my concern, the point about the different versions is that the BBC Two version presents a continuous discussion of each episode's theme by the presenter-narrator (and Mary Beard and David Olusoga have also published books based on their episodes); while the PBS version, in using a different version of the narration and introducing other "talking heads", inevitably dilutes and fragments the original presentation, and also reduces the screen time given to the sites and artefacts presented. There was one clear example in the first episode, where the compressed narration introduced a prehistoric site in Spain, but did not note that subsequent visuals were from a different site (the Altamira cave paintings).
I have since received a second response on the BBC South Africa Contact page correcting their earlier incorrect statement. This is what they now say:
Thank you for your message to BBC Studio.
May we offer our sincere apologies for the misinformation contained in our previous reply. You are correct that the series of Civilisations currently premiering on BBC Earth is the PBS version and not the version that aired on the BBC in the UK. We are sorry that we gave you incorrect information when you first contacted us and that you had cause to contact us for a second time on this issue.
The intention had been to air on BBC Earth the version of Civilisations that was broadcast by the BBC in the UK and we are currently investigating the possibility of doing so. We will contact you directly with scheduling information if we are able to broadcast this version of Civilisations on BBC Earth in the future. Please be assured that we are doing our utmost to do so.
Thank you for contacting us and once again we are sorry for any inconvenience caused.
@Terrence. Sorry to slightly hijack this thread. But yes I am well aware of the difference between the American versions and a UK version of a program.
Example gold rush The guy that narrates the US version sounds like a real idiot actually made me sleepy. The UK version the guy it witty and intelligent
BBC Earth is currently showing the art history documentary series Civilisations. This was a co-production of the BBC and the American broadcaster PBS, and there are two version of the programme. The original UK (BBC Two) version is both narrated and presented by Simon Schama, Mary Beard, and David Olusoga; whereas the US (PBS) version substantially reduces the screen time of the original presenters, introduces other "talking heads", and uses a reworked version of the narration spoken by the actor Liev Schreiber and credited as "adapted from a programme by" the original presenters and narrators.
My question: why is BBC Earth on DStv showing the PBS American version; rather than the BBC UK original? I have queried this on the BBC South Africa Contact page, and got an answer insisting they were showing the BBC version, even though anybody who watches can see that this is not true. Can DStv please get some answers about this most disappointing choice of version?