Sir David Attenborough narrates Dynasties, which documents the lives of five of the most celebrated and endangered animals on the planet. The broadcaster talks to about the challenges of making the series and why viewers will find it a welcome relief from the daily news cycle IR David Attenborough thought that 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 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 in-depth 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 92-yearold Sir David, who was born in West
“What are you going to do then?
It’s a huge financial investment.”
However, the decision paid off, as the much-loved narrator of the series 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 ever-growing pressure from her rivals and humanity.
Dynasties follows on from the success of award-winning series such as 2016’s Planet Earth II, which drew record-breaking viewing figures for a nature show, and Blue
Planet II – the most-watched TV show of 2017. They further cemented the position of presenter
Sir David as a national treasure.
Blue Planet II was particularly
Smemorable for highlighting the environmental catastrophe taking place in our oceans.
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 under plans being set out by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Asked if the aim of Dynasties is to have a similar impact on Government policy, Sir David reasons: “We all have responsibilities as citizens but our primary job is to make a series of programmes which are gripping and truthful and speak about something quite important, and to tell it in its round fullness.
“These aren’t ecological programmes, they’re not proselytising programmes, they’re not alarmist programmes.
“What they are, which I admire these guys (the producers) for, is a new form of wildlife film-making.”
Monday, Channel 4, 8pm
IN A new series, former Great British Bake Off contestant Liam Charles brings a fresh perspective to baking with recipes that blend pop culture, nostalgia and his Jamaican heritage, with his playful, inquisitive and creative approach to ingredients opening up new possibilities for fun and inventive cooking.
DAN CRUICKSHANK’S MONUMENTS OF REMEMBRANCE
Tuesday, BBC4, 9pm AT THE end of the First World War, Britain faced a difficult question – how could it pay a fitting and lasting tribute to the unprecedented number of soldiers who had died?
Dan Cruickshank explores the creation of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the role played by Sir Fabian Ware, who, as a Commander of a Mobile Ambulance Unit during the early stages of the war, had been shocked by the treatment of the dead.
He also visits cemeteries in France, Belgium and Turkey to discover the challenges of memoralising soldiers from different religions and backgrounds. Dan Cruickshank
David, the Alpha male of a group of 32 chimpanzees in Senegal, West Africa the lives of British and colonial soldiers killed during the conflict and now, to mark the centenary of the war’s conclusion, this programme examines the stories behind the artwork.Narrated by Sean Bean. Sir David Attenborough
Former Bake Off star Liam Charles
Ceramic poppies from the Tower of London installation