Sir David Attenborough's soothing voice returns to narrate Dynasties, which documents the lives of five of the most celebrated and endangered animals on the planet
The broadcaster talks about the challenges of making the series and why viewers will find it a welcome relief from the daily news cycle.
Sir David Attenborough thought the producers of new wildlife series Dynasties were mad when he first heard their idea.
The plan for each episode was to spend time on one particular animal at a fork in the road and with a life about to change fundamentally depending on which direction it took.
Picking the families for these indepth stories which crews spent hundreds of days in a single location filming was a huge risk.
"You can't tell whether anything's going to happen and you've got to be there and available if something does and, at the end of it, nothing may have happened," says 92yearold Sir David, who was born in West London.
"What are you going to do then? It's a huge financial investment."
However, the decision paid off, as the muchloved narrator adds gently: "Extraordinary, interesting things did happen in all five that they chose."
First off, there's a chimpanzee leader battling for his position and his life on the edge of the Sahara, while in the second episode thousands of emperor penguins in Antarctica gather to face the coldest and cruellest winter on earth.
In the African savannah, we meet a powerful lioness, abandoned by her male protectors.
Then, on the floodplains of Zimbabwe, the focus is on a feud between a mother and daughter painted wolf.
Last but not least, we see a tigress attempting to raise her family in the jungles of India, under evergrowing pressure from her rivals and humanity.
Around 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away each year, contributing to the more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world's oceans.
"When you talk to the people who were working on that, they were all absolutely agonised by the amount of plastic, just everywhere," says Sir David.
Following on from the astonishing response to Blue Planet II, it has been announced plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds could be banned from sale in England without it becoming a real turn real tragedy'." under plans being set out by off ? It would be irresponsible to There are bound to be other Theresa May. ignore it but equally we have a heartbreaking moments in
Asked if the aim of Dynresponsibility of making proDynasties after all, as execuasties is to have a similar imgrammes which look at all the tive producer Michael Gunton pact on government policy, Sir rest of the aspects." puts it, these are animals in David reasons: "We all have reSir David first joined the trouble. sponsibilities as citizens but BBC in 1952 and within two "There is an environmental our primary job is to make a years created his acclaimed subtext to this all these aniseries of programmes which Zoo Quest series, filming wild mals are in decline because are gripping and truthful and animals in their natural habithere isn't enough space for speak about something quite tat for the very first time. them," he adds. important, and to tell it in its He has continued to present But there will be uplifting round fullness. natural history series, includtales of survival, too, and
"These aren't ecological proing The Trials of Life Life of viewers will no doubt be left grammes, they're not proselyMammals and Frozen Planet, thinking about their relationtising programmes, they're not over the decades since, with his ship with nature as we learn alarmist programmes. fans spanning generations. about the lives these extraordi
"What they are, which I adIn fact, the BBC confirmed nary animals lead. mire these guys [the producers] the first three episodes of With what feels like a confor, is a new form of wildlife Planet Earth II attracted more stant news stream about the filmmaking." viewers in the 16 to 34 age turbulent political climate we
While environmental issues bracket than The X Factor on currently find ourselves living aren't the focus of Dynasties, ITV. through, Sir David believes we Sir David suggests the demise Clips from the show went need shows like Dynasties. of our world and what we can viral on social media most "I think all of us think that, Dynasties follows on from the do about it is "always there memorable perhaps was a sefaced with what we are facing, success of awardwinning series these days". quence showing a baby iguana with Brexit and on the other such as 2016's Planet Earth II, "Whether it's population or being chased by snakes. side of the Atlantic, every time which drew recordbreaking whether it's the climate or Sir David reveals we can exyou turn on the television set viewing figures for a nature whether it's the acidity of the pect several moments like this you get it," he says. show, and Blue Planet II the sea, there is always that facet in Dynasties, including one in "I certainly watch the news mostwatched TV show of 2017. of the crystal that you can the very first episode when we all the time and to get a pro
They further cemented the take," adds the fatheroftwo, see the king of a chimp troop gramme which is about someposition of presenter Sir David whose wife Elizabeth died of a beaten up. thing which is more fundamenas a national treasure. brain haemorrhage in 1997. "What they have said in the tal and more elemental, and
Blue Planet II was particu"And we do have a problem description of the programme also absolutely true, is a great larly memorable for highlightas to, do we actually, every time is that we will show what ... I wouldn't say it's an escape, ing the environmental catasthe image comes up, say 'but rehappens we are not going to because it's reality, but it's a trophe taking place in our member they're in danger'. tart this up, we are not going to great change and it's a great reoceans. lief."Howoftendoyousaythisdistortitinanyway,"hesays.
"If it's a triumph, fine, if it's "The fact that even it [Dyna tragedy, that too we asties] has overtones and will show. And at implications into our that particular own lives and our moment [with own decisions is David the as it should be chimp], the but it's as far as filmmakers you can get suddenly away from the thought 'and political landnow the passcape, which sage of this film otherwise is determined, dominates this is going to be a your thoughts."