Sir David Attenborough returns to present breathtaking new series Dynasties, which follows five different animal families facing huge challenges.

The first episode of Dynasties follows a troupe of chimpanzees in Senegal, West Africa, which is led by an elderly alpha male.

He has been the leader for three years, which is a long time for any chimp, and he must fend off constant and potentially fatal challenges in order to keep his crown.

Touching, and at times heartbreaking, this new addition to the BBC’s natural history catalogue is a worthy successor to the likes of Blue Planet and Planet Earth.

As with any series of this scale, the makers of Dynasties faced a huge undertaking…

‘ The producers said to me, “We’re going to find groups of animals where scientists think there could be some sort of eruption or social unrest, and film them for the next two years to catch when that happens,”’ explains David. ‘As there was no guarantee that anything would happen, I said,“You’re bonkers!”


Sir David Attenborough presents another epic series

Later in the five-part series we follow the struggles of a colony of emperor penguins in Antarctica’s Atka Bay, the famous Marsh pride of Lions in Kenya, a pack of painted wolves in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley and a mother and her cubs at the Bandhavgarh tiger reserve in India. But why were these species chosen to focus on?

‘They are charismatic animals,’ says David. ‘Chimps are fascinating because we can so easily understand what they’re doing – or we think we do. But it was my misfortune that the old, grizzled chimpanzee, who’s just about holding on, is called David!’

TV Times rating: *****