TV When Away


Series 1 – Episode 3. Lion. Sunday 8pm – 9pm, BBC iPlayer.

Phones away. Settle down. Get comfortable and blank out distractions, because this is the sort of programme that deserves everyone’s full attention – and rewards it. The story of one hard year in the life of a lioness called Charm and her ten-strong pride (the Marsh Pride of Kenya’s Masai Mara – see above), it unfolds in gloriously filmed scenes and those moments of wild action that are so raw and primal it feels almost cruel to watch.

One sequence, where an adolescent male called Red has wandered off from the pride and gets surrounded by a mob of hyenas, is properly blood-chilling. The look of horror in Red’s eyes, his ears flattened against his head, as the hyenas dart at him, nipping and cackling, may haunt you for a while. But overall, this is Charm’s story, as she handles everything the Masai Mara can throw at her.


David Attenborough narrates footage of a lion pride on Kenya’s Masai Mara that has reached a dangerous and unusual turning point where the future of the group hangs in the balance. The adult males that had defended the price have all deserted the group, leaving two remaining adult females to protect their eight cubs from a wide range of threats, including rival prides, herds of buffalo and the constant menace of marauding hyenas. However, the greatest threat of all comes when the lions encounter humans.

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