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Dynasties – BBC1

Dynasties - painted wolf
(Image credit: BBC NHU/Nick Lyon)

Dynasties Painted Wolf episode producer Nick Lyon on how the rivalry between a mother and daughter risks their family’s future…

For years Tait the painted wolf, or African hunting dog, has ruled over a harmonious pack along the floodplains of the great Zambezi river, but now she finds herself up against her most lethal enemy to date – her own daughter Blacktip.

Blacktip launches an astonishing attack on her mother and forces her and her pack into exile, where every day is a struggle to survive.

Can Tait keep her pack safe from the many lions, hyenas and crocodiles who live in their new, unfamiliar territory and evade Blacktip who decides to stalk Tait and get rid of her once and for all? A shocking family drama.

In the spin-off edition, David Attenborough reveals the plight facing the 6,600 painted wolves left in the world.

TV Times rating: ****

Dynasties - Painted Wolf

A leader in waiting, who may one day inherit her mother's throne...

Here, this week's Dynasties producer Nick Lyon reveals more…

How would you describe the conflict between the leaders?

The team arrived at the most tumultuous period in the pack’s 20-year known history. Tait is the ageing matriarch, strong and reliable, but Blacktip leads a pack of 30, which is unusually big today, so she needs more space and Tait is vulnerable. The film is a battle between mother and daughter. It feels Shakespearean in scale and in the intensity of the rivalry.

Did anything really surprise you?

Blacktip’s pack had grown so strong in numbers that we saw them learning to take on baboons. All the research says that painted wolves don’t hunt baboons because they’re too dangerous – a big male can weigh twice what a painted wolf weighs.

What other dangers do the packs face?

We see Blacktip’s pack pushing Tait’s into lion territory. Tait is an old, wise leader, which gives her a better chance of keeping her pack alive there. But Blacktip is naïve and she gets it wrong – four lionesses came for her pack. You’ll have to watch to find out what happens!