The director of BBC’s heralded wildlife documentary series has revealed he was so upset after filming a particularly harrowing scene that he vomited.
Dynasties, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, has been an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. From a group of trapped Emperor penguins to a poisoned lion cub, viewers have certainly not been spared the harsh realities of both Mother Nature and man’s devastating effects on the natural world.
But perhaps no one was fully prepared for Sunday’s episode, which followed a family of painted wolves in Zimbabwe. The mother, Tait, and her litter of puppies didn’t have it easy from the get go. The savannah terrain is harsh and unforgiving, and they were under constant threat from predators – including their own kind.
Tait’s own adult daughter from a previous litter threatened to kill her latest puppies over a fight for territory. They also made a quick getaway from a pack of lions, fought off a honey badger and one of her puppy’s lost its life at the clutches of a hyena.
The punch-in-the-gut-moment came later on though, when another of her young pups was eaten by a crocodile. The cameras unflinchingly followed the puppy as it was grabbed by the paw by a croc and dragged into the depths of the water as Tait and its siblings helplessly looked on.
BBC confirmed that this was an especially brutal and draining scene for the Dynasties crew to film. So much so that the show’s director, Nick Lyon, vomited almost immediately after the pup was taken.
Speaking to the The Telegraph, Lyon said:
“When you follow animals for as long as we did, you get to know them and care what happens to them.
“It becomes an emotional experience when you see one of the characters having a bad time, or having real success. I loved the puppies. I remember when they were out of the den for the first time at just three weeks old. They were so tiny, with oversized heads, that would overbalance on their front legs,” he said.
Viewers were astounded by the scenes, with many posting on Twitter how heartbroken they felt. Some even said it was the most disturbing moment they’d ever seen on television.
Oh my word. First the hyenas take a pup, then a croc 🐊 takes another and now Tate and her male are gone 🦁 😭😭😭 #Dynasties
— Lou Formby (@chimer1898) December 2, 2018
Up there with one of my tv most distressful moments when the croc snapped the poor little pup 😭😭😭 #Dynasties
— Jenni Rankin (@jennirankin82) December 2, 2018
— JRM (@JasonJRM_) December 2, 2018
Nothing has upset me in a good while like #Dynasties did tonight. I can't stop thinking about it. The pup, the other one that got crocked and tait 😭😭 I am genuinely genuinely devastated
— NicBattram23 (@stead_J_nic) December 2, 2018
Dynasties continues on BBC One on Sunday.