TV viewers praise BBC camera crew for rescuing trapped penguins

TV viewers have praised a BBC film crew that came to the rescue of trapped penguins they were filming in Antarctica.

The team capturing footage for the Sir David Attenborough series Dynasties took the rare decision to help out Emperor penguins stuck in a ravine.

Their actions went against the usual stance of nature documentary makers not to intervene in the scenes they are filming.

“That camera crew deserved MBE’s for saving them penguins #Dynasties,” wrote one viewer on Twitter.

Another tweeted: “Amazing. Right decision guys intervening to save the penguins. What an amazing film. What an amazing brave crew. #Dynasties”

“The crewmen are amazing amazing humans Bravo #Dynasties,” said another Twitter user.

Behind the scenes footage broadcast after the emotional second episode of Dynasties on Sunday revealed the harsh conditions the TV crew faced in Antarctica.

The programme tracked a colony of emperor penguins in Atka Bay battling to survive and breed in the cruellest winter on earth.

Director Will Lawson, director of photography Lindsay McCrae and camera assistant Stefan Christmann spent 337 days on the icy continent, working in -60C temperatures and 100kph plus winds.

On one occasion following a storm, the team discovered several penguin mothers and their chicks had become cut off from the colony in a ravine.

They filmed harrowing footage of mothers battling to drag their chicks up the sheer slope, some making the terrible choice to abandon their baby.

The crew returned two days later and decided to build a stepped ramp that helped the remaining penguins climb to safety.


Cameraman Lindsay McCrae and field assistant Stefan Christmann filming the Emperor penguin colony from a jib in Atka Bay, Antarctica.

Praise was heaped on the team on social media.

“The film crew braving the conditions to get such high quality footage and then helping some of the penguins to survive is absolutely amazing #Dynasties,” said one tweeter.

“The penguins really have a rough time so pleased the camera crew helped the ones that were stuck #Dynasties,” said another.

Before the episode aired, Mr Lawson defended the decision to take the rare step and intervene in the penguins’ welfare

“You can only react to the facts in front of you,” he told the Times.

“We knew we were the only other animal there. There was no animal benefiting from the demise of these penguins. It was only going to end one way.”

Mike Gunton, creative director at the BBC’s natural history unit, also backed the crew’s actions.

He told the Times: “I think it was the right thing to do. If people knew that we had the opportunity to do that and we hadn’t done that, I think that would be much more difficult to answer.”

Last week, viewers were moved to tears as Sir David’s new series debuted on BBC One.

People tuning in said they were moved by the story of chimpanzee David, an alpha male fighting to hold on to his position with rivals all around him.

The next episode of Dynasties, which follows the fortunes of a pride of Lions, will be shown on BBC One at 8pm on November 25.

The following two tabs change content below.

The Press Association

News from the Press Association - the national news agency for the UK and Ireland

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!